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Bitcoin Iceland's Primary Energy User This Year Over Homes

Bitcoin Iceland's Primary Energy User This Year Over Homes
A picture shows a geothermal plant on April 12, 2017, outside Myvatn, Iceland. (Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 12 February 2018 04:00 PM

Energy use for Bitcoin mining in Iceland this year is expected to surpass the energy use for homes, according to new calculations. 

Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson, spokesman for geothermal power company HS Orka, told the BBC the company estimates that Icelandic data centers mining cryptocurrencies will use 840 gigawatt-hours of electricity, which is more than the 700 GWh of energy used to power the homes of Iceland’s 340,000 residents. 

“What we’re seeing now is ... you can almost call it exponential growth, I think, in the [energy] consumption of data centers,” Sigurbergsson told the BBC. Iceland is an attractive place for Bitcoin data centers to build because nearly 100 percent of its energy comes from renewable sources. 

The data centers conduct mathematical calculations that lead them to the validation of cryptocurrency transactions, and are then rewarded with small amounts of Bitcoin for their work. These small rewards can add up to a significant amount of Bitcoin when done on a large scale such as with the use of data centers that can do a large number of transactions, the BBC reported. 

The growth of Bitcoin since its inception has led to the need for more bitcoin mining and the demand for more data centers to do the mining. Bitcoin mining is not yet taxed in Iceland, but lawmakers are looking into proposals to do so.

Another advantage of Bitcoin mining in Iceland is the cool climate, which provides natural cooling for the large computer servers used in the data centers.

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Bitcoin mining in Iceland is expected to use more energy than the country's 340,000 residents this year, according to new calculations.
bitcoin, iceland, energy
Monday, 12 February 2018 04:00 PM
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