Bitcoin mining boom in Iceland uses huge amounts of power

Posted Feb 13, 2018 by Ken Hanly
Iceland is experiencing a boom in bitcoin mining a boom for the economy but also a huge drain on power resources in the country.
Bitcoin  whose origins remain a mystery  is a virtual currency that is created from computer code an...
Bitcoin, whose origins remain a mystery, is a virtual currency that is created from computer code and is not backed by any government. The Bitcoin currency was launched in 2009.
Karen Bleier, AFP/File
Snorri Sigurbergsson, an employee of the energy company HS Orka, claims the consumption of energy by cryptocurrency miners is likely to double to 100 megawatts this year. This is greater than Icelandic households use according to the national energy authority. There are 340,000 people in Iceland.
Bitcoin mining
Every ten minutes a miner wins a price of 12.5 bitcoins — still worth over a hundred thousand dollars in spite of a huge decline of more than half of bitcoin's value. But this process demands an incredible amount of power.
In Iceland power consumption by mining has overtaken its other productive uses. The reason is simple. Iceland has a great deal of energy with geothermal and electric plants around the island that is has many volcanoes. Miners look worldwide for cheap and plentiful sources of power. The arctic air cools the server rooms instead of expensive air-conditioning as the chips used to mine produce huge amounts of heat.
For now mining facilities are increasing power consumption fast in Iceland
Sigurbergsson said that for now there is exponential growth in energy consumption by mining centers. He does not see this stopping at present. He claims that he is getting many calls from investors wanting to build centers in Iceland. However, there are doubters as to the value to Iceland of the increased mining activity.
Smari McCarthy an MP from the Pirate Party said: "Cryptocurrency mining requires almost no staff, very little in capital investments, and mostly leaves no taxes either. The value to Iceland... is virtually zero."