There’s no denying that over the past couple of years, the narrative that Bitcoin (BTC) consumes too much power has continued to garner an increasing amount of mainstream traction. However, what sometimes gets ignored is that in recent months, an increasing number of Bitcoin miners have moved toward the use of power sources driven primarily by renewable energy.
To expound further on the subject, it should be noted that a number of studies, including one that was released recently by Cambridge University, revealed that more than 75% of all miners operating today make use of renewable sources to power their day-to-day operations.
In this regard, MintGreen, a Canada-based cleantech cryptocurrency miner, recently announced that it had entered into an agreement with Lonsdale Energy Corporation to supply heat generated from BTC mining to the residents of North Vancouver in British Columbia by the start of 2022.
To elaborate on the deal, a spokesperson for MintGreen recently said that the company’s digital boilers are capable of recovering more than 96% of the electricity that it uses for Bitcoin mining purposes. As a result of such a setup, the firm will reportedly be able to prevent 20,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases per megawatt from entering the atmosphere per annum.
Not only that, but MintGreen also claims that the harvested energy can and will be used to provide heat to a total of 100 residential and commercial buildings in a Canadian city, which per recent census data currently houses a population of around 155,000 individuals.
But could this be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how the crypto industry can impact the environment in a positive way?
Renewables as a game-changer
Providing his thoughts on the matter, Colin Sullivan, CEO of MintGreen, said that his company’s partnership with Lonsdale seeks to help mitigate and tackle a number of issues related to climate change that people have tended to associate with various crypto mining activities.
Zach Bradford, CEO of CleanSpark — a sustainable Bitcoin mining and energy technology company — told Cointelegraph that the relationship between energy generation and Bitcoin mining will continue to deepen and expand over the coming decade, adding that there are a lot of stranded energy assets in North America that Bitcoin mining is particularly suited to make use of. He then went on to add:
“There are power plants that are currently too far from large metro areas to be efficient during regular demand. A Bitcoin miner can partner with the community to conserve that energy by using it to mine Bitcoin and send excess energy to other parts of the grid.”
When questioned about the long-term viability of a setup such as the one proposed by MintGreen, he opined that it depends entirely from company to company, stating that there are two scenarios that can be used to expand upon the subject: “In one scenario, Bitcoin miners set up shop where there is excess energy — i.e., where energy is already being lost. Mining takes those stranded electrons and converts them into something useful — ala Bitcoin.” In the second scenario for Bradford, “Bitcoin miners increase the total energy generation in a particular area,” he added.
And while the latter may result in a “loss” of energy for mining, according to Bradford, there is usually much more total energy available when such a setup is involved. Therefore, in case one’s local power infrastructure needs that extra energy — for heating or cooling homes during peak periods — it is possible for grids to harness this excess electricity in order to satisfy the demand of their users.
Bitcoin’s future is becoming increasingly green
In Bradford’s view, Bitcoin mining is the first meaningful investment in decades that is designed to help bolster North America’s existing energy infrastructure because he believes that Bitcoin not only increases energy consumption across areas where it is being mined but also improves upon that region’s energy generation capabilities, adding:
“This is a key aspect that is sometimes lost in the ideological struggle. North America’s energy consumption is going to grow a lot over the next decade as electric vehicles become more mainstream. In California, EVs are already straining the state’s power grid. California’s present is North America’s future.”
In this regard, one can see that Bitcoin mining incentivizes energy development and generation, with almost everyone involved — not just miners — standing to gain from this evolution. “We’re in for a wild ride as global climate goals, greater energy demand from electric vehicles and monetary policy all collide with Bitcoin at the center of it,” Bradford closed out by saying.
Similarly, providing his thoughts on the subject, Samir Tabar, chief strategy officer of Bit Digital — a Bitcoin miner listed on the Nasdaq — told Cointelegraph that Bitcoin miners are and were criticized over the environmental toll from mining. However, the reality today is that Bitcoin miners have become the vanguard in showing innovation and creativity in leveraging sustainable practices. “This experiment with North Vancouver is an illustrative example of that ingenuity,” he noted.
Crypto’s walk toward a more sustainable future
Per a report released in December 2020, it is estimated that real estate building operations and their associated construction-related activities currently account for a whopping 38% of all carbon dioxide emissions taking place in urban areas. Therefore, the narrative that crypto mining alone is quickly becoming one of the largest contributors to today’s global warming could be skewed.
To elaborate further, one study suggests that hydroelectric power is the most common source of energy for miners presently, with a staggering 62% of all mining farm operators reportedly making use of hydroelectricity to facilitate their day-to-day operations — with exhaustible sources such as coal and natural gas taking the second and third spots at 38% and 36%, respectively, followed by wind and solar energy.
Also, with companies like MintGreen now modernizing their mining rigs at an increasingly rapid pace, it stands to reason that more firms and people will look to turn toward various crypto mining operations to meet their power and heating needs in the near future. In fact, MintGreen has already teamed up with the Vancouver Island Sea Salt facility and the Canadian whiskey company Shelter Point Distillery to start selling its excess heat energy by 2022.
As the industry attempts to move closer to a greener future, it appears as though many standards surrounding carbon neutrality are becoming a norm for the crypto mining industry. To put things into perspective, data suggests that gold mining is more resource-exhaustive than BTC. Similarly, it is estimated that flare gas waste can power the entire BTC network 6.2 times over, which just goes to show that crypto miners could turn out to be part of a solution when it comes to wasted energy.
Lastly, as pointed out previously, a growing list of mining firms have adopted strategies that have enabled them to become “climate positive” for Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions.
Expert calls El Salvador’s Bitcoin volcano bonds, ‘Michael Saylor playbook for a country’
El Salvador’s “Bitcoin City” and the proposed $1 billion Bitcoin volcano bond have ignited a range of reactions across the world. These are ambitious plans, no doubt, but they come as the crypto market is seeing a downturn and major economies are fighting inflation.
During an episode of the What Bitcoin Did podcast, host Peter McCormack spoke to macroeconomist Lyn Alden about El Salvador’s Bitcoin volcano bonds and whether they make sense.
Fire up the oven
To be issued in 2022, the first volcano bond will have a BTC booster coupon rate of 6.5% and a decade-long duration. Interestingly, $500 million will reportedly be used for Bitcoin mining, while the other $500 million is ideally for buying BTC, which will be stored for five years. If it goes up in value, investors stand to make gains.
Alden called the volcano bonds the “Michael Saylor playbook for a country,” and said,
“It’s a very similar play to what a lot of entities do with real estate, where you never sell the real estate, you just keep refinancing it over time as it goes up in value. And, Bitcoin is basically a more volatile version of that. Obviously, it’s got less track record – 13 years. But the potential gains, if you’re right, are massive.”
However, Alden stressed the need for experts in the Bitcoin mining process. She said,
“Now, my understanding is that obviously, geothermal is very attractive energy to use. The climate [in El Salvador] is not super ideal for Bitcoin miners. And, so overall, you generally would want to have experts there who make sure that it makes financial sense at the end of the day…”
But what if…
McCormack asked if generating $65 million per year was enough to pay investors. For her part, Alden was cautious and reminded viewers to consider credit risks, interest payments, and the market’s reaction. However, she noted,
“And this is kind of the game theory of, say, different countries, where El Salvador has less to lose in some sense. They, you know, they basically..have already had economic issues.”
McCormack and Alden agreed that the success of the volcano bond hinged on Bitcoin rallying for the next five years.
Bitcoin below $60,000
El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele might be bullish, but the market has been seeing bearish momentum, as Bitcoin fell to $54,729.53 at press time. What’s more, the market was hovering around the fear or neutral territory for several days.
El Salvador Buys the Bitcoin Dip Amid “Black Friday Sale”
El Salvador took advantage of the sell-off, adding more coins to the country’s treasury
El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has taken to Twitter to announce that the country has added 100 Bitcoin ($5.4 million) to its treasury.
The Bitcoin price plunged by more than 9% earlier today amid the global market sell-off.
The fact that the plunge took on Black Friday, the day retailers slash prices to attract deal-hunters and cause shopping bonanza, prompted many corny and tired jokes about Bitcoin being actually on sale. Hence, many holders are being encouraged to buy the dip.
In late October, El Salvador bought 420 Bitcoin that was worth roughly $26 million at the time when the purchase was announced by Bukele on Twitter.
Earlier this month, the tropical country also announced its plan to build the first Bitcoin city in the world, which will be situated at the base of a volcano. It has partnered with blockchain company Blockstream in order to raise $1 billion via a “Bitcoin Bond” and fund the highly ambitious project.
In early September, El Salvador made history by becoming the first country to adopt Bitcoin as its official currency.
Is Bitcoin Entering a Bear Market? Top Analyst Updates Outlook After Sharp Crypto Pullback
Popular crypto strategist and trader Michaël van de Poppe is looking at where Bitcoin (BTC) might be headed as markets worldwide nosedive amid the discovery of a new coronavirus variant.
In a new strategy session, Van de Poppe tells his 148,000 YouTube subscribers that it’s a combination of concern about more lockdowns as well as a cyclical correction that has investors seeing red.
“Not only the crypto markets are showing weakness at this point, as also the European stock markets opened significantly red today… and also the US stock markets are going to open in the red. But there are certain fears about the coronavirus lockdowns coming again. But there are also discussions about tapering happening at this point, and actually, the markets were due for a correction too. We have been grinding up heavily while the actual impact of a potential lockdown was not visible yet.
Right now we do see one, and we still have a very natural and healthy corrective move which we haven’t been seeing in the past few months. In September we’ve had one, but since then no real correction has been taking place.
So finally we’re getting it, and when the dollar is showing strength it would make sense that the equities are going to have some pain too. Bitcoin has been seeing this correction already. Equities are following suit in the past week now too.”
The analyst goes on to assess Bitcoin’s latest price dip, going so far as to conclude that while he doesn’t think BTC is entering a bull market, he’s doubtful about relying on traditional four-year models for predicting future price action.
“I really believe the reason why Bitcoin is dropping right now is because of the macroeconomics taking place. But regardless of that, I’m still very sure that the markets are not going to have a bear market at this stage. I think we are still eager for continuation in a bullish manner, but I do realize that the lengthening cycle’s most likely going to take place. A healthy correction is also happening at this point, in which the question becomes, where is Bitcoin going to bottom out? And how are altcoins going to perform out of that?
We can throw away the four-year cycles, we can throw away PlanB’s stock-to-flow model with these predictions because it’s not valid anymore. We are in a different environment when it comes to the markets right now. Clearly, we are currently having a harsh corrective move… but it shows that the markets are not predictable and expecting Bitcoin to run in four-year cycles is just not the case.”
Moving on to specific BTC price analysis, Van de Poppe is eyeing $55,000 as an important support level, but also thinks the leading crypto asset could fall as low as $48,000 – without signifying an end to the bull run.
“When we’re looking at Bitcoin against [the US dollar], at this point we still have a very important support level [approximately $55,000] that we are acting on right now. The crucial thing when it comes to the daily time frame is that we are flipping this level with $66,000 as resistance and started to crack south.
Meaning that currently, we are into higher time-frame support, but definitely depending on how this daily’s going to close, this is going to be weak going into the weekend, and especially going into next week, it will probably cause some more pain across markets.
In that case, when we’re looking at levels that we should be watching, [$55,000 to $55,600] is the first real level that you should be looking out for. However, the crucial level to me is still this level around $48,000. Even if we get in that region, I still believe that we’re bullish in markets and we’re just having a very natural corrective move before we’re going to accelerate again in 2022.”
At time of writing, Bitcoin is down nearly 8% on the day and trading at $55,186.