Bitcoin mining in Iceland may use more electricity than households

Bitcoin mining in Iceland may use more electricity than households
Iceland’s crypto miners are likely to consume more electricity this year than all of the country’s homes, according to a local energy firm HS Orka.

Mining of cryptocurrencies is booming in the land of fire and ice, due to low-cost energy. More and more potential customers are ready to get in on the act, according to Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson, the company’s development manager.

 

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The global power needed to spawn virtual currency may reach 140 terawatt-hours of energy in 2018, nearly 0.6 percent of the world’s total consumption.

“If all these projects are realized, we won’t have enough energy for it,” Sigurbergsson told BBC, referring to numerous new data centers that had been proposed.

According to Sigurbergsson, bitcoin mining in Iceland annually consumes around 840 gigawatt hours of electricity in powering computers and cooling systems, while the country’s households use about 700 gigawatt hours.

Iceland has seen a significant increase in the number of new data centers, as most of the mining firms are seeking to flaunt their green credentials. Nearly 100% of energy in Iceland reportedly comes from renewable sources.

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Companies operating power plants in Russia have started leasing generators with excess capacity to cryptocurrency miners, Vedomosti daily reports.

“I’m getting a lot of calls, visits from potential investors or companies wanting to build data centers in Iceland,” Sigurbergsson said, stressing that HS Orka was interested in contracts with companies willing to work in the country on a long-term basis.

Iceland’s cold climate is also one of the factors making the country attractive for mining giants, as it keeps equipment from overheating. Mining hardware commonly produces large amounts of heat, and Iceland’s cool weather saves companies from additional temperature control costs all year round.

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The crypto mining boom has prompted Iceland’s government to consider some measures to tax the industry.

“Under normal circumstances, companies that are creating value in Iceland pay a certain amount of tax to the government. These companies are not doing that, and we might want to ask ourselves whether they should,” Smari McCarthy, a member of Iceland’s Pirate Party, said as quoted by the Associated Press.