This article provides the information on ecological issues arising from mining and shows software-level solutions. Moreover, it represents some mining companies that use alternative energy resources to power their mining equipment.
The environmental impact of mining activities is a key issue concerning the industry. However, it can be reduced and become environmentally sustainable by developing and integrating special practices. Green mining is taking up pace as more mining companies choose eco-friendly alternatives.
In recent years cryptocurrencies became widely popular. Despite a dramatic plunge in January 2018, Bitcoin continues to progress both in adoption and application. This means that mining now is more competitive than ever. Long gone are the days of small-time mining.
Mining Bitcoin, Ethereum and a number of other major cryptocurrencies have reached industrial scale. Companies pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into mining equipment, and the industry shows no signs of slowing down. However, Proof-of-Work remains to be the dominant mining algorithm, which raises many concerns in regards to the sustainability of such systems.
According to a widely cited website, in July 2018 Bitcoin’s annual energy consumption has reached 72 TWh, which is comparable to that of Austria’s. A single bitcoin transaction expends 936 KWh. To put this into perspective, a dishwasher consumes 288 KWh in a year. And as the difficulty of mining grows, ecological issues arising from mining are only becoming ever more urgent.
Concerned with this problem, many developers propose alternative, less power-hungry mining algorithms, such as Proof-of-Stake, -Authority, -Capacity, and so on. However, their implementation has yet to take off. Such sophisticated systems require a good deal of computer engineering that must combine elements of game theory, economics, and cryptography in such a way that make a system truly decentralized, fair, and secure.
And while the development of such algorithms is well on its way, some companies decided to take another approach to this problem. HydroMiner is the first mining company that uses the energy of water to power its mining equipment. Unlike coal and other fossil fuels, water is a renewable source of energy, which makes for an eco-friendly mining method. On top of that, water is also great when it comes to cooling the mining equipment, which produces a lot of heat in operation.
Hydrominer may be the first project to utilize water-generated power in mining but it is not the only one. A Georgian mining startup, Golden Fleece, set up its mining farm on the coast of the Black Sea. To power their farm, they use cheap electricity generated by water flowing from the nearby Caucasus Mountains. In light of hydro-mining trend, Hydro-Quebec, a green-energy utility company that supplies electricity for Canadian Quebec, turned to mining community to offer their services. The company says that more and more Quebecers install solar panels, which leaves much of the power, generated by the company, unused. Hydro-Quebec is looking to attract mining companies offering extremely low prices compared to Canada’s average.
Speaking of solar panels, an Irish crypto-entrepreneur, Joseph Deignan, is now trying his luck in green mining. Mr Deignan’s solar-panel company now seeks to promote solar power in mining. He applied for a DLT license in Gibraltar, one of the first countries to introduce distributed-ledger regulations, and wants to have his headquarters in Gibraltar.
However, do not think for a moment that these issues should not concern you, as a small individual miner. There are a lot of guides and Youtube videos that will help you set up solar panels for your rig. Such a rig will keep your environmental consciousness clean and will let you save up on electricity.