Energy consumption from Bitcoin mining is massive, and people are taking notice. The increases have been scaling fast, with mining energy usage quickly surpassing the totals of small countries. And many see this ever-increasing carbon footprint as a threat to climate change.
But it’s no threat. In fact, increasing energy usage might save the plant.
Bitcoin Mining Energy Consumption And Its Byproduct
In the early days of Bitcoin mining, you could mine with a laptop in your home. Simply set up a rig and let it run, and while it might get a little warm in the room and the energy bill might spike a bit, an early miner could be profitable. Back then, miners were only competing with other hobbyists or very small-time facilities.
But gone are the days when a single person could set up a rig in their house and competitively mine for Bitcoin. Today, in order to mine competitively, you need to be quick, big and powerful. This means having the most state-of-the-art hardware at scale to run algorithms the fastest. Massive data centers with thousands of rigs have now populated the competitive landscape of mining. Those with the highest-performing hardware, the most efficient software, the most well-run operations and the cheapest electricity will edge out the competition.
And that level of computing is going to churn out a lot of energy. It’s estimated that Bitcoin mining is producing 77 TWh of energy annually, which is comparable to the energy consumption of Chile.
Such high energy production, which is required to stay competitive, means that mining operations have to keep low energy costs a priority in their operations. Because crypto mining isn’t tied to a location, many mining operations are seeking out regions to build data centers that offer cheap, and ideally renewable, energy sources. Currently, sustainable energy sources like hydro and wind are not only the cleanest but the most cost effective for mining operations to take advantage of. Mining operations also look for locations that have excess energy to spare.
But when a massive amount of energy goes in, a massive amount of energy needs to come out. It’s a simple law of thermodynamics: All that energy being consumed can’t be destroyed, so it has to go somewhere. That excess comes in the form of heat, a byproduct of mining operations. The heat produced from computing is so substantial that data centers need to be concerned not only with hardware but with cooling systems as well.
So far, heat has just been a byproduct that needed to be cooled and dispersed. But now Bitcoin miners are asking: What if something good could be done with that excess heat? How can heat generated by mining operations be recycled or reused, providing a sustainable, clean source of energy? Can data centers heat homes, for example, or greenhouses, or replace heat sources for certain industries? What about in colder climates where heat is scarce?
Data Center-Heated Greenhouses
There’s a new partnership in Northern Sweden looking for answers to those very questions.
Seeking to make their region more sustainable, the Boden Business Agency is looking to partner with energy-intensive industries to create synergies between the two, and our company, Genesis Mining, has stepped in to offer computing power. The partnership also includes the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) and the Luleå University of Technology.
Nordic countries have already attracted mining operations due to the sustainable and cheap energy sources available. But there’s now an opportunity for mining operations to give back in the form of providing excess heat to greenhouses to grow food, making the local economy more productive and sustainable. According to Mattias Vesterlund, a senior researcher at RISE, “A 1 MW data center would have the ability to strengthen the local self-sufficiency up to 8 percent with products that are competitive on the market.”
Genesis Mining is providing a 600 kW air-cooled data center container, which will feed heat to a 300-square-meter greenhouse through a specially-built air duct system. The heat would keep the greenhouse at a comfortable 25°C (77°F) year round, in a region where temperatures can fall as low as -30°C (-22°F). The project looks to focus on growing fruits and vegetables, but data center heat can be used for fish, insect and algae farming, as well as provide heat for fruit and vegetable drying.
This would provide the local farming economy with the chance to increase food production. It would not only make local producers more sustainable, but it would reduce the dependence on imports, all while meeting regional energy efficiency targets.
The project is also a social one that’s bringing together local farmers, municipalities, scientists and the IT industry. Mining operations are solving local problems of sustainable food production scalability, and local farms are giving mining operations ways to recycle their waste and offset their carbon footprint.
Bolstering Local Economies While Furthering Decentralization
These partnerships will also further the vision of decentralization that crypto mining values so much. With offering sustainable green energy in the form of data center heat, it’s offering a use case for the decentralization of energy production. And by seeing more of these projects pop up, it’s forcing mining operations to reassess their role in giving back, as they already have ready ways of providing sustainable energy to the communities around them.
A connected greenhouse may seem a small scale initiative for now, but it’s setting the foundation for large scale implications. Could Bitcoin mining operations someday help heat villages, support food industries or even power whole cities? The opportunities look viable.
In the meantime, don’t fault Bitcoin for its energy usage. Encourage it, because it may be the path to a more sustainable future.
This is a guest post by Marco Streng. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.
Thieves Stole About $450,000 from Crypto Trader at Knifepoint
A Hong Kong woman has fallen victim to a gang of robbers after conducting a crypto transaction worth almost $450,000.
Gang of Four Steal $450K From Hong Kong Crypto Trader
According to a report by the South China Morning Post, a female crypto trader was held at knifepoint by a gang of thieves, who stole HK $3.5 million ($448,700) from the victim.
As part of the robbery operation, one of the thieves posed as a prospective cryptocurrency buyer. The woman had earlier conducted different crypto transactions for the man, ranging between HK$600,000 and HK$700,000.
Hong Kong authorities stated that the trader sold Tether (USDT) tokens to the man via her iPhone and was later lured to an office to receive payment in cash. Shortly after receiving the money, other members of the gang held the trader at knifepoint to steal the money and her iPhone.
Authorities were able to get wind of the robbery after the victim contacted her husband with a second phone, who in turn called the police. Meanwhile, authorities are conducting a search for the gang.
The woman’s uncle, who escorted her to the location of the transaction, also told the police that he saw four men fleeing the scene of the crime.
The details of the attack also closely resemble another incident from earlier in January when a gang of four robbers stole HK $3 million from another crypto trader. In the earlier case, the hoodlums also posed as prospective buyers, completed a few transactions to gain trust before pouncing on their victim.
Armed Robbers and Kidnappers on the Prowl for Crypto Owners
Physical crypto-related thefts are reportedly a regular occurrence in Hong Kong, with the number of such incidents doubling between 2019 and 2020. Indeed, the growing value of cryptocurrencies seemingly provides incentives for armed robbers looking for victims.
Back in 2018, a police officer in India was among a group of people arrested in connection with the kidnapping and extortion of a businessman to the tune of over $49 million.
CryptoPotato compiled a list of crypto security tips for investors and traders to safeguard their wallets and crypto. One of the important things to consider is keeping your holdings private and be very careful when it comes to peer-to-peer transactions.
3 key reasons why Polkastarter (POLS) price rallied 500% since December
Polkastarter (POLS) is a cross-chain token pool and auction protocol built on the Polkadot (DOT) blockchain. It launched in October of 2020 as a way for projects to raise capital in a decentralized environment and since January the token has rallied 500% to a new high at $1.78.
Three possible reasons for the recent growth of POLS are the strong rally seen from Polkadot, strategic partnerships and exchange listings and an expanding list of token launches via auctions.
The rise of Polkadot
The rising popularity of the Polkadot network is arguably the most significant influencer on the price of POLS. Similar to Kusama, Polkastarter’s association with Polkadot could attract additional user and investor attention.
Polkadot’s rally began on Dec. 27, 2020, and it culminated on Jan.15 as DOT saw a 75% price increase in one week. POLS strong rally also reignited on Dec. 27 and followed a similar trajectory to DOT.
Now that DOT has flipped XRP to become the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, further price strength for Polkadot has the potential to have a positive impact on the overall performance of Polkastarter.
Exchange listings and partnerships
Prior to Jan. 14 POLS was only available on Uniswap and Poloniex. At the time its liquidity was limited and high ETH gas fees also complicated matters for those thinking about trading the token.
After the Huobi exchange announced plans to list POLS on Jan. 14, its trading volume increased from an average of $2 million to $22 million overnight.
Now the POLS community is working on being listed at OKEx and a recent tweet from the project informed supporters that the project only needs 2,000 more votes to qualify.
Listing POLS on another high-volume exchange has the potential to further boost the token’s price as more people will have access to one of the fastest-growing Polkadot based projects.
Successful auctions and token launches
Similar to the initial coin offerings (ICO) that occurred in 2017 and 2018, Polkastarter is gaining momentum due to its ability to attract capital heavy investors looking for the opportunity to get first access to the newest blockchain projects.
Polkastarter’s protocol is designed to enable cross-chain token pools and auctions as a method of raising capital in a decentralized fashion. To date, the platform has conducted 12 separate Initial Decentralized exchange Offerings (IDOs) with 20 different pools consisting of both public and private offerings. To date, only one pool failed to sell out.
The strong rally seen from DOT has only increased the desire of projects wanting to develop on top of Polkadot in order to capitalize on its growing popularity as well as avoid the challenges associated with building on Ethereum.
Tosdis, the most recent IDO conducted on Polkastarter, tweeted the following after its successful auction as an example of the platform’s growing popularity:
“We are really delighted to announce that our IDO on Polkastarter is sold out. POLS pool was sold out in record 30 seconds. After fixing some overloading and gas issues, the public pool was sold out in 90 minutes. We are overwhelmed by the support. Thank you and Stay tuned.”
Polkadot’s rise, successful IDOs on the Polkastarter platform and the listing of POLS on new exchanges have helped propel the value of the token to new highs and investors are optimistic that these strong fundamentals will push the price higher.
In addition to these fundamental factors, Ether’s (ETH) recent surge to a new all-time high has many analysts calling for the start of a new ‘altcoin season’. According to Raoul Pal, the CEO and co-founder of Real Vision Group and Global Macro Investor, traders are likely to plow into “higher risk alts” after Ether secures a new all-time high.
If this prediction does come to pass, it could also mean even brighter days are ahead for the Polkastarter ecosystem.
Latest CME Report Reveals Growing Appetite for Bitcoin Amongst Institutions
- Bitcoin has been consolidating within the $30,000 region throughout the past few days and weeks
- Bulls and bears have largely reached an impasse, with buyers and sellers both being unable to spark any trend
- This comes as large institutional inflows show some signs of tapering, with these buyers largely being viewed as the ones responsible for the recent market-wide surge
- The latest Commitment of Traders (CoT) report from the CME reveals a striking trend – institutions are increasingly adding to their long exposure
- This seems to invalidate the notion that institutions are slowing their accumulation habits and may point to an imminent wave two of buying from these parties
Bitcoin has seen mixed price action as of late, with the selling pressure in the upper-$30,000 region slowing its ascent as bulls and bears largely reach an impasse.
Where the crypto market trends in the mid-term may depend largely, if not entirely, on whether or not Bitcoin can continue stabilizing or break above $40,000.
Any strong rejection here could cause the crypto to see some notable losses that potentially lead altcoins to follow suit and selloff as well.
One positive trend that seems to bode well for Bitcoin’s outlook is growing long-exposure from institutions using the CME.
This trend suggests that institutions are still pouring money into the market.
Bitcoin Stagnates as Consolidation Phase Persists
At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up just under 2% at its current price of $36,700. This marks a notable decline from daily highs of nearly $38,000 set just a couple of hours ago.
The entire market retraced with BTC, but ETH and other altcoins are all trading up significantly from where they were just a few days ago.
Institutional Traders Are Increasingly Long on BTC
One positive trend for Bitcoin is the growing presence of institutions in the market, which is a large part of why it has been rallying so heavily throughout the past few months.
Although they may be bidding less aggressively on BTC as it hovers around its all-time highs, data from the CME’s latest Commitment of Trader’s report indicates that long interest for BTC amongst institutions is steadily climbing.
“12 – January CME $BTC Commitments of Traders (COT) report – Open Interest: 12,039 up 6.5%”
Image Courtesy of Unfolded. Source: TradingView.
The coming few days should shine some light on whether or not the constant rejection seen by Bitcoin in the upper-$30,000 region will have any impacts on its mid-term trend.
Featured image from Unsplash. Charts from TradingView.
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