Posted Apr 9, 2022, 12:50 PMUpdated on Apr 9, 2022, 1:25 PM
Mining bitcoin without harming the environment. This is the bet of two American technology companies, Block (formerly “Square”) and Blockstream. They are preparing the launch, in June, of a center for the creation of bitcoins, a “mine”, entirely powered by solar energy. The center, where computers will therefore have to validate transactions and be “rewarded” in bitcoins, will be located in West Texas, in the United States. It will be equipped with solar panels and Tesla batteries.
The dematerialized payment group Block and the specialist in “blockchain” Blockstream have each invested six million dollars in this pilot project which should initially produce around 0.1 bitcoin per day, explained to AFP the director. Blockstream General Adam Back.
Financing renewable energy infrastructure
On the sidelines of the 2022 bitcoin conference in Miami, Adam Back told the American channel CNBC that the project must show the feasibility of mining bitcoin from 100% renewable energy. The creation of a bitcoin indeed requires a series of complex computer calculations, which require an ever-increasing amount of electricity. Thus, according to CNBC, the site will have a dataset on the energy produced on site and the number of bitcoins mined, accessible to the general public.
But more than creating bitcoins, “the goal is to prove that mining can help finance infrastructure” of renewable energy, added the CEO of Blockstream. The logic, according to Adam Back, is that the bitcoin creation center can only use excess capacity from facilities that generate renewable energy, with the bulk of the electricity going to ordinary household and business consumption.
The creation activity would therefore smooth the consumption linked to a renewable energy source, avoiding peaks and troughs.
Extension of the site to wind energy
Adam Back indicates that the two project partners are already thinking of increasing the size, up to 100 times, on the same site, if the test proves conclusive. According to CNBC, the site could even expand to wind power. According to the project leaders, this future mining plant should help accelerate the bitcoin industry’s use of renewable energies.
West and central Texas are the eldorado of renewable energies for their sun and wind resources, but also of cryptocurrencies. This American State is in fact little regulated and accustomed to the volatility of energy prices.
Industry climate efforts
This is not the first cryptocurrency project to rely entirely on renewable energy. In El Salvador, where bitcoin is now an official currency, “mining” uses, for example, a geothermal power plant that harnesses the energy of surrounding volcanoes.
The cryptocurrency sector has seen the birth of several initiatives in recent years to achieve a more ecologically virtuous model. Last year, dozens of companies united under the umbrella of the Crypto Climate Accord pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.