Crypto Miners: Can they Help to Make the World Greener?

Approximately 15k crypto mining rigs are drawing at HIVE Blockchain 30MW in Boden, Sweden. However, they are switched off at times to cut down power uptake from the grid. 

The data center is powered by cheap energy from local hydropower sources, which are called upon when there are power interruptions/ shortages. 

HIVE-Boden Beneficial Model Shows the Positive Side of Crypto Mining

According to Johanna Thornblad, five seconds are enough to switch off half of the energy getting into the system. In 30 seconds, Thornblad adds that all the power supplies requested to be included in the Frequency Containment Reserve for Disturbances (FCR-D) for keeping lights on in the entire region can be switched off. 

With this type of energy management, HIVE is an asset to the local grid; miners enjoy a stable cash flow when the demand is low and can rapidly power off during peak hours. It is a mutually beneficial model showing the other side of crypto mining consequences. 

The common narrative given by media, politicians, and industry leaders is that mining used in blockchain tech takes a lot of energy and is cooking the earth. Miners have been demonstrated to bring fossil fuel facilities back to the twilight zone because of an insatiable thirst for power. 

Globally, Bitcoin mining uses 136 TWh annually (Cambridge University Center for Alternative Finance). This is equal to the amount of energy required by Sweden, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates. However, data centers run on a lot more, 200-250 TWh (International Energy Agency (IEA)).

Although emissions from mining have grown over time, CoinShares has established that the rates are going down. A sort of self-decarbonization process.

Advantages of Renewables for Cryptos 

  • Renewable energy is way cheaper than fossil fuel. 
  • Fossil fuels are not just expensive, but their prices are volatile.
  • Moving to renewable energy can attract institutional investors operating under ESG-guidelines.
  • Miners intending to be green can buy transferable credits to reduce carbon footprint. 

The idea of banning proof-of-work mining in the EU was proposed by Eric Thedeen, the Swedish Financial Regulator, who indicated the energy released would be made available for other industries. 

However, CoinDesk points out that transitioning would require reorganization in many sectors. In the coming years, more industries that take a lot of energy will emerge. 

Arthur Lee, the CEO of SAI Tech, supports CoinDesk’s point of view, by indicating that the energy profile of miners is competitive for taking energy which is harder for other industries to compete. Clean energy stations are positioned in remote areas, and miners fit perfectly in these profiles.

Pro-Bitcoin supporters and miners disagree with the idea of banning Bitcoin mining on the basis of using a lot of power. Mellerud argues that the idea has focused on costs so much and avoided other benefits of cryptos. He added that it is true that Bitcoin uses a lot of energy, but this is the price for enjoying a permission-less and censor-free system. 

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