Iceland Shows Frustration with Bitocin Mining Energy Usage, But Miners Aren’t Going Anywhere Soon
Bitcoin mining tends to be increasingly expensive, but there are many countries that have low prices on their electricity costs. These lower prices are obviously appealing to miners, leading more of them to go to these regions. Iceland has been one of the most popular places for bitcoin mining, due to their geothermal power. However, it looks like the country is working to reduce the energy demands locally, aiming to reduce the amount of mining going on.
Last year, in a more passive-aggressive effort, the authorities imposed higher taxes against cryptocurrency miners as the electricity consumption grew. These miners are basically seen as a threat to the beautiful landscape of Iceland, according to reports from Al-Jazeera. Thus, mining is becoming an environmental hazard now, which has not sat very well with local environmentalists., along with various activists and researchers.
These group vehemently oppose the growth of the mining industry. However, it is almost as if Iceland is at a standstill because the miners in the area are showing no signs of backing down. In fact, miners are calling it a goldmine for Bitcoin mining. The cheap power and comfortable temperatures make this place the perfect spot for them. Why would they want to leave?
Geothermal power generation is very cheap and easy for Iceland, especially when compared to electricity prices around the world. Many people that support the mining industry in the cryptocurrency have tried to make the argument that the use of renewable energy essentially nullifies the idea that bitcoin mining is not safe for the environment, adding that the carbon footprint is so small. Still, as miners require more electricity, the infrastructure of geothermal and hydroelectric power generation has to be expanded.
Even though the energy used is considered “clean,” the creation of this energy is not. The creation of the new dams for hydroelectricity will change the topography of the area in an irreversible way, as the countryside sinks and even rivers and waterfalls can change. The power stations can only be created over natural hot spring areas get to get the heat for geothermal electricity, which also alters the landscape that was formerly left untouched.
Tomas Gudbartsson, an environmentalist, spoke with Al Jazeera, saying that the country features “one of the biggest wilderness areas in Europe.” He added that this continued expansion will ultimately “destroy” these landscapes. However, based on the rate of growth for miners in the area, it does not look like these people will be leaving any time soon.
One of the biggest advantages of mining in Iceland is that the low prices help to reduce the margins that consumers see. Margins are intensely important with the competitions between miners, so finding any kind of advantage is necessary to profit. The combinations of cheap power and cold temperatures are an ideal environment for anyone that wants to get the most performance out of their rigs.
Even though the market has been rather weak after the bearish trends, cryptocurrency mining has been seeing some progress as it becomes a more popular option for consumers. In China, the government has already imposed rules against crypto miners, leading them to move to other countries to perform these activities.
Another kink that crypto mining throws in Iceland’s hope of leaving these miners behind is the automation. The automated processes mean that there are hardly any new job opportunities available, which just provides more reason for Iceland to try and make these miners move out. However, unless they take an aggressive stance like China, the miners leaving the country may choose Iceland as their next home.