Bitcoin has created a vast mining sector within the network’s economy that is growing exponentially. Mining bitcoin has spread the technology towards new thoughts concerning energy consumption, ways to utilize bitcoin mining’s heat source, greener energy solutions and more.
Making Better Use of Bitcoin Mining’s Energy Consumption
As it stands today, the Bitcoin mining sector is robust with computations faster than the world’s top 500 supercomputers combined. The global bitcoin mining economy consumes nearly $500 million in electrical and operational costs. Moreover, it’s estimated the bitcoin network could use as much electricity as Denmark by the year 2020. It’s safe to say securing the bitcoin network through mining is costly and consumes a lot of energy, but may offer a myriad of other benefits to the equation.
For instance, mining equipment produces a significant amount of heat as the machines operate 24-7. Over the past few years, miners have found ways to utilize this heat source to warm their homes and warehouses. Just recently a South Florida distillery has used the heat from bitcoin mining equipment to accelerate rum barrel aging. Furthermore, bitcoin miners have been known to heat their homes during winter months alongside mining facilities utilizing the heat source for their benefit. It’s common for data centers to utilize the heat for many types of purposes. One example is Amazon’s data centers has provided heat to a biosphere project in downtown Seattle.
Bitcoin mining facilities use a vast array of different techniques to acquire cheap electricity and some of them with the environment in mind. Some mining operations use burning cheap coal in plants to more greener energy solutions like hydropower. There are quite a few mining facilities located in Iceland because operations make use of the cold air and geothermal steam power plants located within the region.
In China’s Tibetan highlands, mining operations within the region are using hydropower to offset electrical costs. Located close to the city of Kangding, the mining company HaoBTC has been using a hydroelectric power plant for cheaper electricity while at the same time treating the environment better. The idea is a far greener energy solution in contrast to the coal plants powering bitcoin mines located near the northern Inner Mongolia province.
All the World’s Payment Systems Consume Resources
There’s a lot of discussion about bitcoin’s consumption of energy. Some believe there will be the need for more hydropower plants that can produce 1,000-10,000 megawatts per plant. Others believe, in the future, bitcoin mining may even go nuclear utilizing its energy resource of 7,000 to 10,000 megawatts per energy station.
It’s also worth noting that all payment systems require consuming energy whether it be storage, moving physical assets, operating software and more. All of the world’s concepts of payment processing come with costs and energy consumption.
However, even in its early years, bitcoin mining is showing that operators are already practicing greener energy solutions. Alongside this, some miners are learning to use the heat mining provides for other uses cases. At the exponential rate bitcoin mining is growing in the future we may see many more techniques that harness bitcoin minings energy and power in a much more useful way. For now this power is one of bitcoin’s greatest security advantages and should continue to blossom.
What do you think about bitcoin’s energy consumption and the unique methods of harnessing this power for other benefits? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Pixabay, HaoBTC, and Reddit.
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