Returning to the airport in Iceland a few years ago I remember driving through a "town", quickly built to support cryptocurrency mining. For such a beautiful country this place was ugly, but I remember thinking it makes sense. Iceland's inexpensive geothermal power and cool climate help keep mining farms relatively inexpensive to run, and still trying to recover from the 2008 financial crisis I understood the country's embrace to boost jobs and their economy.
Fast forward to 2018 and according to a KPMG report, 90% of the power consumption of Iceland's data centers was for crypto mining, with only 360,000 inhabitants it is not inconceivable to exceed the power required to heat homes, but still. How is that even possible? Warehouses filled with mining rigs comprised of graphic cards run 24/7 and require cooling systems to avoid overheating. A great article in Cnet breaks it down. A rig with three GPUs can consume 1,000 watts of power, equivalent to a medium-size window AC unit turned on. Kazakhstan has one location with 50,000 mining rigs.
The Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index estimates that Bitcoin mining uses more energy than Argentina!
Is cryptocurrency going the route of big tech data centers discussed last week investing in clean energy to support their energy consumption? According to a study by The University of Cambridge that does not appear to be the case finding 70% of miners based their decision on what coin to mine on the daily reward amount and only 30% considered energy consumption.
Ethereum 2.0 is implementing a proof of stake upgrade that will reduce energy consumption. Cardano is also implementing a proof of stake protocol and touted as the environmentally friendly cryptocurrency its value went up significantly, but is it all worth it? Does the world even need cryptocurrencies in the first place? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,
We may receive a small commission from links in this post.
Cryptocurrency - Who, What, Why, Where, How?
Responsible living is more than just caring about the environment. Woven into the ethos is taking a stand for social equity and East Fork Pottery has been fully committed to that from day one. Partnering with community outreach organizations to stretch outside their comfort zone; always paying employees a living wage, they are now working towards increasing wages to a family living wage. Receiving their Carbon Neutral Certification in April has been another huge milestone. All these steps and more have earned them B Corporation Certification, read about the journey here. Instead of seeing this accomplishment as the finish line, they view it as an inspiration for making additional changes. Reading East Fork's About Page was part of our inspiration for starting The Savvy Elephant. AND we haven't even touched on how stunning and beautiful their pottery is! See for yourself by clicking through to the East Fork Website.
Leave a comment below or drop us a line if you have a question or want us to look into a topic you think will interest The Savvy Elephant community.