Green Crypto Mining
Everyone wants to be a part of the cryptocurrency revolution, but this is not necessarily healthy for our planet. For instance, the Bitcoin network alone consumes more energy than the country of Bulgaria. One of the biggest issues with crypto mining is cooling the rigs involved also requires a whole lot of power. If cryptocurrency mining really is going to be a long-term solution, we must opt for environmentally friendly, sustainable methods and solutions to be put in place to help carry this out.
This move to green energy used for crypto mining has prompt individuals like Vakhtand Gogokhia who heads a startup called Golden Fleece, put a cargo container with Chinese-built computers inside a dilapidated Soviet-era tractor factory in Georgia. The site made sense for running servers 24 hours a day because it has access to low-cost electricity generated by water flowing from the nearby Caucasus Mountains. There also are plans for solar panels and wind turbines to be installed.
“To conquer the riches of cryptocurrency,” said Gogokhia, Golden Fleece’s 28-year-old chief executive officer and a former employee of the state-owned electricity grid, “we undertook the quest to build cheap, green and sustainable mining farms in Georgia.”
In China, the world’s the biggest cryptocurrency producer, many server farms rely on cheap, surplus power from coal-fired plants that contribute to pollution. The government has forced industries to limit climate-warming emissions, and officials are contemplating new taxes to assert more control over domestic power markets and digital currency operations. About 70 percent of major Bitcoin-mining pools are based in China or owned by Chinese companies, according to Blockchain.info.
With the prospect of new limits in China, investors are looking elsewhere. In Georgia, which gets about three quarters of its electricity from hydroelectric plants, Golden Fleece will pay $50 per megawatt-hour, or well below the world average of $121, BNEF data show. Iceland and Switzerland are even cheaper, while Canada and Paraguay are among those at half the global average.
The industry’s increasing enthusiasm for finding clean power comes at a time when renewable energy has become a staple in utility grids around the world as the technology improved and costs fell. In the U.S., renewables like wind and solar accounted for 17 percent of electricity supply last year, twice the market share of a decade earlier, reducing demand for coal, government data show.
Renewables will capture $9 of every $10 spent on new power projects through 2040, according to BNEF estimates, with startups from Australia to Texas to Estonia trying to give rooftop solar and windmill owners the chance to sell directly to consumers.
Places with surplus hydroelectric capacity are also drawing more attention. For example, in Paraguay’s Ciudad del Este, a municipality on the Parana River across the border of southern Brazil, cryptocurrency miners are setting up in the city’s free-trade zone. They are tapping cut-rate power generated from the nearby 14-gigawatt Itaipu hydropower plant, the world’s second-biggest dam, which produces more electricity than Paraguay can consume. Prices are about a quarter of what they are in neighbouring Brazil.
Golden Fleece of course is not the only start up taking the leap into green mining processes. The Moonlite Project is building a data centre in Iceland that will be used for mining of several popular cryptocurrencies, on an industrial scale. Construction will begin in April and is forcasted to be operation sometime in August 2018. While it will be used to help Moonlite pursue its ambition of becoming one of the largest cryptocurrency-mining organizations in the world, Moonlite wants to so using low-cost, sustainable and green energy exclusively.
In addition, some well established players such as Cointed, the world’s largest provider of Bitcoin ATMs aims to lead the way in more sustainable coin generating methods. By harnessing hydro and wind power, Cointed has pioneered ‘green mining’ with their machines in Austria and Sweden. These mining machines are custom-made and specifically designed for optimum cooling, in order to minimize maintenance (the fans typically found in GPUs have been replaced with heat sinks). The customer then fully owns the hardware. According to the company, by proving it is possible to run these machines solely on renewable energy without losing performance, Cointed have set a precedent for the rest of the crypto world that will hopefully see others follow suit.