The hype surrounding cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is fuelling speculation and a potential bubble that might burst around thesis decentralized digital currencies. But one of the largest issues might not be a future crash, but the very real and instant problem of how much electro-therapy it takes to produce fresh units of cryptocurrencies such spil Bitcoin. The process of generating fresh Bitcoins is called “mining,” and according to some experts, Bitcoin mining’s global energy consumption exceeds that of 159 countries combined (more than Ireland or Nigeria) or equal to Denmark alone.
Obviously, this is a big problem. Some Bitcoin “miners” are coping by setting up “mining farms” ter countries where tens unit is cheap and plentiful. Others, like Manitoba, Canada-based entrepreneur Bruce Hardy, are using the massive amounts of fever generated by the computers that mine Bitcoin to provide warmth for food plants growing under the same roof. See this brief CBC movie on this multipurpose project:
Hardy is voorzitter of Myera Group, a company whose mission is to develop sustainable food systems using technology. Hardy also has a software company, and has bot mining Bitcoins for the last duo of years, using about 30 computers ter a readapted 20,000-square-foot building just westelijk of Winnepeg.
This building also houses the company’s aquaculture system, which consists of basil and lettuce plants on the 2nd floor, and 800 Arctic char swimming ter vats on the very first floor. Nutrient-rich water from thesis fish vats (think fish poop) are then pumped upstairs to nourish thesis plants, which are being heated by the fever generated by the Bitcoin mining hardware.
Previously, Hardy had bot paying for air-conditioning to cool down the specialized hardware (application-specific integrated circuit or ASICs) that’s required to mine Bitcoin, but he soon realized that he could save money by using that fever for other purposes. Spil Hardy explains on the CBC:
When bitcoin came, they were an excellent proxy for what a server could do te terms of emulating fever, and whether wij could use that warmth for agricultural purposes.
Hardy believes that instead of exporting Manitoba’s hydroelectricity down to the United States, it could be potentially used te operations such spil his to help grow the local economy, or to attract international investment from Bitcoin mining companies that might want to set up shop here:
The revenue from those bitcoins has helped mij to keep staff on, it’s helped mij create thesis displays so wij can voorstelling people what wij’re doing te agriculture innovation. If wij can take our energy and use it here ter Manitoba, wij value-add that energy, and wij can do all sorts of excellent things.
For now, it’s too early to predict where an intriguing project such spil this may go, considering that Bitcoin’s unsustainable rate of energy consumption is likely to increase ter the coming months. But spil ter nature, where there is no such thing spil “waste,” by repurposing that fever from Bitcoin mining to help grow food crops, there’s at least the possibility of closing that loop to produce something useful. More overheen at CBC.