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Bitcoin mining to zap more energy than households in Iceland this year – Naked Security


As far as Bitcoin miners are concerned, Iceland is starting to look like the best place in the world to run a business.

Perched on the edge of the Arctic Circle, datacentre capacity is plentiful, renewable energy affordable, and the reliably chilly climate helps with cooling.

According the BBC, Bitcoin mining is growing so fast here that the 840-gigawatt hours of electricity the industry is predicted to consume in 2018 will exceed what the country’s population needs to power their own homes.

This sounds like crazy demand but a caveat is that Iceland’s population is only 340,000. Another is that individuals use only around 5% of the country’s energy with much of the rest guzzled by its large aluminium industry – Bitcoins are unlikely to drain Iceland’s energy grid.

What’s still striking about Iceland’s mining boom is the incredible speed with which demand is growing.

Compared to 2017, it has doubled, and it keeps coming. AP quotes the manager of one datacentre:

Just today, I came from a meeting with a mining company seeking to buy 18 megawatts.

And it’s not just Iceland: reports of “coin rushes” are being reported in other parts of the world too, which act as reminders of the controversial and power-hungry economics on which Bitcoin mining depends.

Bitcoins are made when miners compete to solve and confirm mathematically-challenging problems in return for a reward. Significantly, as more miners or resources take part, the problems get harder to solve to ensure the rate of mining stays the same.