Bitcoin's energy consumption has dropped dramatically as its price falls, easing concerns about its environmental impact.

The virtual currency's rapid rise prompted warnings the electricity used to maintain the network could worsen climate change after economists calculated it uses more than most countries.

Bitcoin is maintained by an energy-intensive process known as "mining", which involves powerful computers solving complex equations to verify transactions in return for Bitcoins.

But its falling price over the last year, from a high of almost US$20,000 ($29,600) a year ago to just over $3,000 today, has made the process unprofitable for many.

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Alex de Vries, a blockchain specialist at PwC, said: "Miners that have already acquired the machines are struggling to pay for the electricity because the price keeps falling."
-- Daily Telegraph