After they consumed nearly as much energy as all of Iceland’s households combined, Bitcoin miners may return something to the community that housed them. Iceland is looking toward projects that need the same kind of infrastructure that Bitcoin miners rely on, such as self-driving cars or automatic translators.
Bitcoin “probably won’t be here far into the future” said Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson, business development manager at the HS Orka power plant in Iceland, which provides electricity to the data centers that miners use. But the centers themselves will become new technology incubators, and “that’s the bet we’re making,” he said.
As we all know, mining for Bitcoin requires lots of energy, both to do the actual mining but also to cool the enormous computers used to crack the codes that release the limited supply of Bitcoin. Iceland estimates the industry will consume more than 100 megawatts by the end of the year.
The island became a magnet for the practice once miners figured out that the place is very cold and that electricity there costs a lot less than in most other places. Iceland’s cheap energy has already drawn other power intensive industries, such as aluminum smelting.
It’s not clear what will happen with bitcoin and other digital currencies. From bitcoin soaring to $19,000 late last year to crashing to less than $6,000 last week. In the last couple weeks, many other forms of cryptocurrency have collapsed entirely.Trade now