The small island nation’s near 100 per cent renewable energy and cold climate make it an ideal cryptocurrency mining destination. (Unsplash: Jonatan Pie)
The amount of power used to mine bitcoin in Iceland is set to overtake the country’s entire domestic power usage this year, a local energy company has claimed.
Business development manager at Iceland’s HS Orka Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson said electricity use at mining data centres was gobbling up the small nation’s power resources.
And the demand would only grow with many potential customers drawn to the nation to mine the cryptocurrency.
“If all these projects are realised, we won’t have enough energy for it,” he told the BBC.
The country’s small population of about 340,000 people has seen an increase in new data centres keen to capitalise on the country’s near 100 per cent renewable energy and cold climate which help prevent computer servers overheating.
“What we’re seeing now is … you can almost call it exponential growth, I think, in the [energy] consumption of data centres,” Mr Sigurbergsson said.
Mr Sigurbergsson said he expected bitcoin mining operations to use about 840 gigawatt hours of electricity to supply data centre computers and cooling systems.
In comparison, he estimated the county’s homes used about 700 gigawatt hours every year.
“I don’t see it stopping quite yet,” he said.
He said if Iceland took on all bitcoin mining ventures proposed in the country, there would not be enough energy to supply them all.
The rise in cryptocurrency mining has faced domestic opposition in Iceland.
The Icelandic Pirate Party’s Smari McCarthy questioned how beneficial the boom was to the country’s economy.
“Cryptocurrency mining requires almost no staff, very little in capital investments, and mostly leaves no taxes either,” Mr McCarthy said.
“The value to Iceland … is virtually zero.”