A new study calculates that Bitcoin is on pace to use about as much electricity as the Netherlands before the end of this year.
However, the media is generally ignoring the huge cost of Bitcoin beyond electricity. It took me about two months to figure out that my computer was being crippled by Bitcoin malware on our own bulletin board system.
After I had done every virus test and hardware diagnostic I could think of, I was beginning to think I needed to buy a new PC. But then I noticed that my system only slowed to a crawl when I had a browser window open to our forums. Once I isolated the problem, some googling revealed that vBulletin is one of many systems vulnerable to Bitcoin miners. I found the offending code within a couple of hours and removed it. As of a few weeks ago, there was no permanent solution other than continued vigilance.
I told our users about this hack and apologized that our system may have been causing their systems to slow down, but it seems that no one had noticed. Over eight thousand forum members and yet no one contacted me to suggest that our site was responsible for paralyzing their computers. This isn't a surprice when you consider that most users have 10+ browser tabs open at a time.
So, in addition to ruining the planet, you can probably add in several billion hours of lost productivity, all being taken illegally by criminals (as opposed to billions of hours lost perfectly legally to something like Baseball Mogul).