A recent story out of Iceland has re-ignited hope that Proof-of-Work (PoW) cryptocurrency mining may have a chance of survival after all.
This year has seen cryptocurrency mining face ever-increasing criticism for its massive over-use of energy and the resulting environmental impact. As a result, alternative consensus methods such as proof-of-stake (PoS) and proof-of-reputation (PoR) have emerged to attempt to circumvent the need for industrial size, power-hungry mining operations.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin (BTC) uses a Proof-of-Work consensus algorithm, it’s unlikely crypto mining will die out any time soon.
Now, however, a maths teacher from Iceland has presented new ideas to improve on the negative impact that crypto mining is having on the Earth’s environment. Krista Hannesdottir has been in the news lately for her innovative approach to tackling the issues of space and heat that are associated with mining cryptocurrency. Her company utilizes empty space in Icelandic fishing factories to store mining rigs which run off excess geothermal energy and in turn help to provide heat to workers in the depths of winter. The setup provides a solution that is not only environmentally friendly but also profitable and beneficial to all involved. The current operation is tiny compared to massive outfits like Genesis Mining but it represents a solution that may be scalable to a much larger degree.
As the massive $2 billion cryptocurrency industry grows on an exponential scale, ideas like these may be the saving grace for a community that was quickly becoming divided by what is profitable and what is sustainable.
Helping to Grow Awareness
Crypto mining firms in the U.S. are increasingly coming under fire from local councils and concerned citizens for their excessive electricity bills and the noise pollution that their air conditioners create. There have been reports of environmentally-friendly solutions being developed that involve hydro-electric and solar power but these still remain a tiny percentage of the overall crypto mining industry. With the current industry now using more electricity than the entire country of Ireland, something drastic needs to be done soon to reduce the climate impact caused by excessive CO2 emissions.
A recent report out of the University of Doha in Qatar, entitled ‘Decarbonising Bitcoin’, suggests channeling profits from cryptocurrency into research and development to tackle the climate crisis. The problem, of course, is incentivizing largely profit-driven investors who represent the majority of the crypto-mining community into acting before it’s too late. Satoshi’s vision for Bitcoin was to empower the impoverished and take power back from global conglomerates – it would be sad if the end result was a world further damaged by greed.