As the industry faces growing scrutiny for its carbon emission and energy consumption, the Nordic Region — considered as a green haven for Bitcoin (BTC) mining — is losing its edge and running out of energy.
The abundance of geothermal, hydro, and wind power made Iceland, Sweden, and Norway popular mining locations. China, where most coins are mined, on the other hand, heavily relies on coal.
The power surplus in the Nordic region is expected to dwindle because steelmakers, oil rigs, and aluminum smelters have started to push more for the use of renewable energy.
A chief executive officer at Iceland’s National Utility said that there could be less excess energy in 2021 and 2022.
A pioneer slowly fades
Iceland is known to be the pioneer in green mining, hosting as much as 8% of global Bitcoin production. But according to the country’s Blockchain foundation, that is now down to less than 2%, while the University of Cambridge puts it lower to 0.35% in April last year. China, on the other hand, accounted for 65% of production then.
The digital currency coin is mined by computers that process algorithms, put in halls as big as hangars of airports. Because of this process, electricity is one of the key inputs, and consumption easily compares to that of thousands of households.
Bitcoin mining now uses 66 times more electricity compared to consumption back in 2015.
Not an easy path to help the green haven
In Iceland, a separate hydropower plant was built to allow for a new smelter. But that small glimmer of hope for green mining was killed right away.
Key officials in the country said that the same courtesy could not be given to Bitcoin miners. They said that nobody would build a plant for cryptocurrency because of uncertainties about future development.
That being said, the green haven for Bitcoin mining is still in perilous times, and no immediate solution for the dwindling excess energy problem is available.
Image courtesy of Cointelegraph News/YouTube Screenshot