Much ado has been made about Bitcoin’s purported energy inefficiency. Many of these tropes are as tired as the “tulip-mania” price comparisons. Even though miners can eat up a lot of energy, a bigger look at the environmental impacts of Bitcoin often tells a different sustainability story.
One post on the Bitcoin subreddit indicated how a miner started to use solar power due to the effects of the bear marker on Bitcoin prices.
The poster ‘Canece’ said solar energy was the cheapest form of power available and actually helped save a lot of money since electricity did not have to be transferred from the grid.
There are a number of examples of how crypto-enthusiasts and miners have used mining energy for other purposes.
Two Russian entrepreneurs in 2017 managed to mine with cheap hydroelectric power. The miners, whole making $430 a month in profit, also served as the heating system for a Siberian cottage during the colder parts of the year.
An entrepreneur in Czechia took advantage of the heat emitted from his cryptocurrency miners to warm his tomato crop, which helped extend the growing season. Miners have been moving to the Sichian province of China in order to also take advantage of inexpensive (and green) hydroelectric power.
Even though the migration is just temporary, since cheap energy is only found in the rainy season, the miners who decide to stay in the industry despite price slumps could just move somewhere else.
Even though the mining industry has been decimated by bear markets, some think Chinese operations as a whole could be catching a second wind due to the demand for second-hand mining rigs.
Used S9 Antminers are being listed for $100-$200 on the market, presenting an attractive price for those who can secure a deal with a hydroelectric plant but do not want to shell out $400+ for a new S9.
The nexus of cold weather and cheap electricity has some thinking Mongolia could be the next top crypto mining location. Japanese miners are already moving in, and Ginco Mongol CEO Yuma Furubayashi indicated how “the business environment is increasingly harsh, but we can still produce a profit.”