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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Economics, Civics, Computer Science

Resource Type

  • Videos, 6 minutes, 6 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Northeast


YouTube Video

The Truth about Bitcoin's Energy Use

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  • This video from Grist explains bitcoin, blockchains, and the energy use involved in cryptocurrency transactions. 
  • Students will learn how decentralized transactions work, how bitcoins get mined, the electricity used in these processes, possible solutions, and the counterarguments bitcoin supporters might have. 
Teaching Tips


  • It uses visuals and simple vocabulary to explain what might otherwise be a confusing subject matter.
  • It demonstrates a conversation for and against bitcoin's energy consumption using different perspectives and counterarguments.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have a basic understanding of supply and demand.
  • Students should understand why diverging from fossil fuel energy consumption is more sustainable.
  • There is a pop-up ad during the video.


Scientist Notes
Cryptocurrency generation requires an extreme amount of electricity. While some estimates claim that nearly 40% of that energy comes from renewable sources, the majority is still generated with fossil fuels. This resource offers an explanation and their sources for easy access. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Social Studies
    • Economics
      • SS.Econ1.a.m Predict the opportunity costs of various decisions and explain why the opportunity cost might differ from person to person or in different situations. Assess how limited resources (e.g., money, land, natural resources, workers, time) impact the choices of individuals, households, communities, businesses, and countries.
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