It is no news that crypto mining is energy-intensive. Recently, New York State residents addressed a letter to the governor to reassess mining permits to crypto businesses. It includes names like Greenidge Generating Station and the Fortistar North Tonawanda.
Additionally, the petitioners went on to ask for a statewide moratorium on proof-of-work (PoW) cryptocurrency mining. While the sector in NY is amid regulatory uncertainties, Pennsylvania-based bitcoin miner Stronghold Digital Mining made its market debut on Nasdaq, soon after.
Contrary to environmental concerns, Greg Beard, Stronghold’s CEO, argued,
“Bitcoin mining is the most economic use of that power today.”
He stated this as Stronghold claimed to be essentially using waste coal for its mining operations. In a recent interview with Nasdaq, Beard explained,
“Before 1975, it was legal and allowable to use the good coal to make power and steel.”
He further explained that the process left the marginal low-quality coal at the side of the mines. Hence, it’s crucial to clean up this waste, he added. Beard also commented that the problem is everywhere where coal mining exists. He said,
“We are reclaiming and remediating a legacy problem from decades of coal mining in Pennsylvania.”
Having said that, Beard argued that there are many challenges as some of these waste piles “are the size of about half of Central Park.” Therefore, it will require another 30 odd years of reclamation at this rate of cleanup.
Data revealed that New York, Kentucky, Georgia, and Texas were attracting the most miners within the US. While the migration was a result of the Chinese crackdown on Bitcoin mining, there was another beneficiary.
Furthermore, Kazakhstan, which became the world’s second-largest bitcoin mining destination, has been rationing power amid power outages. A local report stated that crypto data centers use 5 MW per hour power. This is equivalent to the consumption of about 24 thousand medium-sized apartments in a month, as per estimates by the energy ministry.
In comparison to the U.S., where other greener sources of energy are taking over the use of coal, Kazakhstan remains majorly reliant on coal and natural gas.
With huge energy requirements, what are the alternatives apart from using “waste coal?”
In the October Blockchain Summit in Texas, Senator Ted Cruz had stated that Texas has “abundant energy.” He pointed at harnessing the power of the wind and natural gas that is being flared in West Texas. He had said, “We capture that gas instead of burning it…”
Having said that, JAI Energy co-founder stated in a recent tweet how BTC mining even helps oil and gas producers.
O&G companies that mined Bitcoin with their natural gas on Sep 28 are up 45% on those molecules of gas they converted into Bitcoin. O&G companies that sold their gas down the line on Sep 28 haven’t even been paid by the Midstream group yet
— Ryan Leachman (@RG_Leachman) October 15, 2021