The cryptocurrency mining industry gets a lot of attention lately. Its perceived energy usage remains a topic of substantial debate. Icelandic farmers may have come up with a viable and sustainable solution in this regard. Several initiatives show how this business can be accommodated without any side effects.
A Different Take on Cryptocurrency Mining
The reports condemning cryptocurrency mining and its electricity use are growing in number. A lot of experts have different views on this business model and how it affects communities and even cities. In Iceland, several Bitcoin mining firms are in operation today. All of them rely on the country’s abundance of renewable energy. At the same time, even that approach may not be entirely sustainable.
To counter this problem, local farmers have come up with a new solution. Especially smaller operations can benefit from this approach in its current form. One small cryptocurrency mining operator pays neighboring farmers for their excess geothermal energy. Moreover, she installs the mining hardware to use excess power for other uses, such as heating. The conditions in Iceland are unique, as they allow for such business models to thrive.
The excess geothermal energy can be converted to electricity. With this electricity, her mining units can heat up stables and other storage spaces remaining empty otherwise. It is a business model which creates a win-win situation for all parties involved. For the mining operator, it removes any concerns regarding the scaling of her operation at her own farm. A very unorthodox business model which seems to work out quite well so far.
Scaling the Model Beyond Small Farms
This particular business model can be lucrative under the right conditions. However, it is not necessarily a concept which can be taken to the next level with ease. There are plenty of farms with geothermal energy across Iceland, but not every owner will approve the idea of having a cryptocurrency mining operation generate heat on their premises.
Convincing farmers is still an issue, even for this small mining operation. Installing strange and noisy machines in their barns is a very alien concept. A lot of people are still unfamiliar with cryptocurrency mining despite its popularity growing significantly. At the same time, those who take advantage of the opportunity appear to be happy with the business deal. How long this “peaceful” situation remains in place, is unclear.
Ventures like these show cryptocurrency mining is an evolving industry. Rather than disrupting power grids, enthusiasts and companies are looking for more sustainable solutions. Conditions in Iceland are unique in this regard, which allows for out-of-the-box thinking. Solving cryptocurrency’s ecological “problems” will not happen overnight. Even so, it is not the most harmful mining industry in the world today.
Do you think that this solution can be scaled to work for larger crypto mining operations? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of ShutterStock