As the globe wakes up to the environmental cost of crypto mining, an Icelandic maniac has happened upon a green solution.
Krista Hannesdóttir's digital currency mining activity is, by her own view, tiny. But the humble setup, producing crypto in a small ex-fishing factory close to Iceland's Keflavík airport, could play a big role in curbing the problems of digital currency.
Crypto mining has high energy needs. The long-lasting algorithm system of servers producing Bitcoin (BTC) consumes 22 TWh of power annually.
Several politicians and Icelanders are starting to worry about cryptocurrency's environmental impact, in a nation whose ethereal natural beauty generates more than 2.2 million visitors annually.
Hannesdóttir, a math teacher, has found a method to be small and more competitive. The teacher settles farmers for their excess geothermal power, installs digital currency mining equipment and utilizes the machines' extra energy for other purposes such as heating.
“Farmers have a lot of storage space, so it’s easier for us to move our equipment to their location,” she says. “You can also heat up the storage space, which is quite clean. So generally speaking, it’s reducing rent, and reducing energy cost.”
Initially, it was hard to persuade farmers they required dozens of peculiar machines working away in their barnyards.
“We really had to explain what it was, that it’s a machine that makes money and uses energy,” says Hannesdóttir. “People are wary, obviously, because it sounds too good to be true. But in reality, it’s really beneficial for us to get energy and space at a lower cost.”
French company Qarnot has developed a heater which mines digital currency while warming homes. In November 2018 two builders from Siberia successfully warmed a house using two Bitcoin mines, working at a profit of £327 monthly.
“Eliminating waste is one of the most significant potential benefits of cryptocurrency, but eco-friendliness is incompatible with the mining component used in ones like bitcoin,” says Colin LeMahieu, creator of Nano, a blockchain payment platform. “The only way a cryptocurrency can be eco-friendly is by building it into the system.”
The math teacher admits that cryptocurrency mining, in its present form, is totally unsustainable. Maybe, then, energy exchanges will aid cryptocurrency mining to reach the massive goal set Satoshi Nakamoto, BTC creator (of changing the way the world works, without destroying it in the process).