AND FINALLY: Iceland to run out of electricity as Bitcoin miners lead gold-rush to cold climates

Scotty the Engineer on Star Trek
Scotty the Engineer on Star Trek

When BP last year highlighted block-chain technology as one its six ‘big things to watch’ in the energy market, it perhaps did not realise the power of its prophecy.**

Block-chain technology is where small numbers of computers are linked to others ‘to verify currency transactions for crypto-currencies, such as the Bitcoin behemoth.

This online block-chain gang work is both chronic and evergreen – leading to small ‘cottage industry’ players setting up in the bedrooms of what are usually teenage boys to bespoke industrial-scale online data-mining centres in the Far East.

These block-chain gang computers solve complex mathematical problems – a process that in turn validates transactions between users of the crypto-currency.

The computers that do this validation work receive small Bitcoin rewards for their trouble, making it a lucrative exercise, especially when done at a large scale. And given the extreme volatility – and equally high risks, and/or rewards – Bitcoin mining has sparked a global new energy-driven goldrush.

But from the smallest to the largest, Bitcoin block-chain gain computers generate so much heat from running 24/7 at high speeds that naturally cold and cool countries – such as Scotland and Iceland – are becoming the go-to crypto-coin ‘goldrush’ locations for data mining rigs.

Iceland may have plenty of steam from its geo-thermal rocks - but not enough electricity for the Bitcoin goldrush
Iceland may have plenty of steam from its geo-thermal rocks – but not enough electricity for the Bitcoin goldrush

So much so, in fact, that more energy will be used in Iceland this year for ‘mining’ crypto currencies than is otherwise routinely consumed its 340,000 residents (ie fewer than in than Bristol, Bath or Edinburgh).

Consequently, the local Iceland energy firm HS Orka has warned – like Scotty the Engineer in Star Trek –  that the ‘generators can’t take it, Cap’n…”

* See also:

BP names blockchain technology as one of six next-generation technologies that matter for the energy industry

14 Feb 2018

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