Crypto mining companies to consume more energy than households in Iceland

Marcus Newton
February 15, 2018

The stunning success of cryptocurrencies around the globe has had a more unexpected repercussion on this island of 340,000: It could soon result in an energy shortage in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Bitcoin mining company Genesis Minining's manager Helmut Rauth, however, takes an unsurprisingly different viewpoint, claiming that, "What we are doing here is like gold mining".

The energy used by Iceland's bitcoin mining market is experiencing "exponential growth", and data centers may use more energy than all of the country's homes in 2018, Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson from Icelandic energy company HS Orka told the BBC.

Some politicians are concerned about the spike in interest in bitcoin.

The Associated Press first reported the surge in demand.

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These computers solve complex mathematical problems - a process that in turn validates transactions between users of the crypto-currency.

But as crypto-currencies rise in popularity, mining operations certainly continue to use more and more resources - recent analysis of European energy use in 2017 by campaign group Sandbag noted that Bitcoin mining was contributing to additional power demand in the technology sector.

Mining sites in Iceland naturally have the opportunity to produce less pollution than the coal-burning mining sites located in China, for they have access to geothermal and hydroelectric power plants, both cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternatives to coal. Miners look worldwide for cheap and plentiful sources of power. That and the cold climate make it a flawless location for new data-mining centers filled with servers in danger of overheating. Some predictions have concluded that cryptocurrency computer operations may account for "all of the world's energy by 2020", or may already account for the equivalent of Denmark's energy needs.

Bitcoin mining Every ten minutes a miner wins a price of 12.5 bitcoins - still worth over a hundred thousand dollars in spite of a huge decline of more than half of bitcoin's value.

Keflavik, a coastal town on the southern peninsula of Iceland, is home to three of the biggest Bitcoin mining sites in the country. The companies that provide the vast amounts of computing power needed for these transactions earn a small share, comparable to a processing fee.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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