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Energy Use in Iceland Through the Roof, Thanks to Bitcoin Mining

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An “exponential” increase in bitcoin mining that is taking up power resources is being tackled by Iceland, said a spokesman for energy company, HS Orka.

According to a report on the British news site, BBC, the usage of electricity at Bitcoin mining data hubs is most likely to go over that of all Iceland’s homes, said Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson.

He added that many customers are raring to jump into the potentially lucrative act.

“If all these projects are realised, we won’t have enough energy for it,” Sigurbergsson was quoted as saying.

Iceland boasts of a relatively small population composed of an estimated 340,000 residents.

However in the past few years, Iceland has experienced a substantial increase in the number of new data centers usually established by companies that wish to flaunt green credentials owing to the country’s usage of renewable energy sources.

Bitcoin mining refers to the work done by computers connected to the global bitcoin network.

These computers take on complex mathematical problems – a procedure that in turn validates transactions between users of the crypto-currency.

The computers that do this validation work in turn get small Bitcoin incentives for their trouble, making it a profitable act, especially when done at a large scale.

“What we’re seeing now is… you can almost call it exponential growth, I think, in the [energy] consumption of data centres,” Sigurbergsson reportedly said.

He claims that Bitcoin mining operations will use roughly 840 gigawatt hours of electricity to power data centre computers and cooling systems, for example.

In comparison, Iceland’s homes use around 700 gigawatt hours per year.

“I don’t see it stopping quite yet,” Sigurbergsson, referring to the fast data centre projects.

“I’m getting a lot of calls, visits from potential investors or companies wanting to build data centres in Iceland.”

He also said that there are so many proposals to build more data centres but it wouldn’t be doable to supply all of them.

Sigurbergsson also said that his company was keen on dealing with firms that were willing to commit long term to plying their business in Iceland.

The crypto-currency mining industry in the country would be given a shot in the arm with the pending launch of the Moonlite Project, which is a large data center where various crypto-currencies, including Bitcoin, will be mined.

It is set to open later this year and will have an initial capacity of 15 megawatts, though this is expected to increase in the future.

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