Start a crypto mining farm life
Nick Sears was 17 when he helped build a bitcoin mining farm in Dallesport, Washington. He was 18 when rules allowed him to buy bitcoin for the first time. And now, at 19, Sears has doubled down on his life as a bitcoin miner, saying "no" to college and "yes" to living in a room inside a data center that houses 4, whirling ASICs. The machines generate about 80 decibels of noise apiece — but Sears says he likes being as close to the action as possible. It also beats making the half hour commute each way from his parents' house in White Salmon. The 19 year-old has spent pretty much every single day for the last two years teaching himself the nuances of how mining machines work — and crucially, how to fix them.
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- Renewable crypto mining: British farmers transform manure to create digital coins
- How to Mine Bitcoin
- Countries that mine the most Bitcoin (BTC) 2019-2021
- One for the gamers: Crypto mining farm perishes in conflagration in Thailand
- Costa Rica hydro plant gets new lease on life from crypto mining
- How To Mine Bitcoin? Know How It Works And the Computing System That's Needed
- This power plant stopped burning fossil fuels. Then Bitcoin came along.
Renewable crypto mining: British farmers transform manure to create digital coins
A nonprofit, independent media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solutions and a just future. As more miners join the network — lured by the skyrocketing value of the bitcoin they receive in exchange for their work — the puzzles get harder, requiring ever greater amounts of processing power, and thus electricity, to solve.
Bitcoin mining is now estimated to gobble up more electricity than many entire countries. The energy used by the Bitcoin network in a single year could power all the tea kettles in the United Kingdom for over three decades. Proponents of Bitcoin would have you believe that many or even most mining operations are in far-flung locations using renewable energy that otherwise would have gone to waste. Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk, whose respective companies Square and Tesla have invested heavily in Bitcoin, claim the cryptocurrency will actually hurry the green energy transition by steering investment into renewables.
A paper prepared by Square predicts that electricity producers and Bitcoin miners will soon become one and the same. Greenidge Generation, a former coal power plant that converted to natural gas and began a Bitcoin mining operation, is positioning itself as part of the clean energy future.
Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one. To support our nonprofit environmental journalism, please consider disabling your ad-blocker to allow ads on Grist. Here's How. After belching noxious fumes and dumping toxic coal ash into a nearby landfill for seven decades, the plant was poised to be remediated and reused. When Greenidge applied for permits to restart operations, it claimed it would be generating power to meet existing electricity demand.
By , the plant was no longer producing power for the public at all. In an attempt to claw back the tens of millions that Atlas invested to convert the plant to natural gas, Greenidge turned to mining Bitcoin. As Greenidge increased its mining capacity last year, there was a corresponding jump in its contributions to global warming.
The equivalent of over , metric tons of carbon dioxide were emitted over the course of last year, a volume comparable to putting nearly 50, new cars on the road. In late March, the company revealed plans to merge with Support. In its announcement, Greenidge said it wants to more than double its mining capacity on Seneca Lake by July — and to double it again by the end of , at which point it will total 85 megawatts.
Greenidge also said that the company plans to replicate its vertically integrated model — cryptocurrency mining at the source of energy production — at other power plants, with a goal of at least megawatts of combined mining capacity by To accomplish that, the company would have to acquire and open at least four other power plants of similar capacity. Atlas Holdings itself partially owns five power plants in New Hampshire that have more than 1, megawatts of combined capacity.
In April, a cryptocurrency mining company called Digihost moved to acquire a megawatt natural gas-fired plant in Niagara County, New York. It could theoretically happen at any aging fossil fuel plant around the country: A source of dirty energy that has outlived its profitability could find a second life as a Bitcoin mining operation.
Although emissions from Bitcoin mining have global consequences, many of the locals opposing Greenidge are equally concerned about its effects on water quality and wildlife. In late March, Phil and Linda Bracht, two of the 30 petitioners on the lawsuit against Torrey, the county planning board, and Greenidge, took me and another petitioner, Carolyn McAllister, out in their boat to get a look at the plant from the water. All three live on Seneca Lake, just a mile from Greenidge. The first part of the facility to catch the eye is its giant intake pipe, which is 7 feet in diameter and extends further than the length of two football fields from the shore over the water, like an elevated train to nowhere, before dropping below the lake surface.
This is where Greenidge can draw up to million gallons of fresh water per day to cool the plant. Like all thermoelectric power plants, Greenidge uses steam to spin the turbines that produce electricity, but the steam has to be condensed back to water by exchanging heat with the fresh water before it can be reused. Once-through cooling systems like this — where water is used once and then expelled at a higher temperature — require vast amounts of water, with consequences for both wildlife and water quality.
In recent years, fishers have reported fewer and smaller catches on the lake. John Halfman, a professor of geoscience and environmental studies at Hobart and William Smith College on the northern end of Seneca Lake, says the size of the biggest fish caught in the derby has been steadily decreasing, while the time it takes to make a catch is increasing.
Michael Black, a petitioner and fisherman going on his 50th summer living on the lake, said he used to catch between 60 and lake trout each year from his dock south of Greenidge. While there are multiple reasons fish might be suffering, Black worries that hot water discharges are exacerbating the threats they face.
Tiffany Garcia, a freshwater ecologist at Oregon State University, wrote a letter to the Town of Torrey raising similar concerns about the effects of hot water discharges on the larger lake ecosystem. Residents fear that warmer waters will also increase the likelihood and severity of harmful algal blooms, or HABs, near Greenidge.
While the presence of blue-green algae or cyanobacteria is normal in lakes, a small number of these organisms produce potent toxins that can be dangerous or even fatal for people and other animals. Under the right conditions — which include lots of sun, still water, and, crucially, heat — these algae can explode in vast, dangerous blooms that are becoming increasingly common in the U. Gregory Boyer, the director of the Great Lakes Research Consortium at the State University of New York, studied the effect of artificially increasing water temperature by just 2 degrees on Lake Champlain.
That small change resulted in a surge of bacteria growth, with toxic species of bacteria increasing to a greater degree than nontoxic species. In earlier lawsuits challenging permits the DEC issued to Greenidge, Boyer submitted affidavits on behalf of local environmental groups saying that the large discharges of heated water from Greenidge could increase HABs in the area and should be studied further.
Gary McIntee, who lives just south of Greenidge, told me that the water flowing down the Outlet is often flush with nutrient-rich runoff from farms as well as discharge from a wastewater treatment plant upstream, creating an ideal mix for HABs. HABs would render their only source of running water unusable.
As the DEC points out , not even boiling, chemical disinfectants, or water filters will protect people from HABs and their associated toxins. HABs can also overwhelm industrial water filtration systems , temporarily rendering public water undrinkable. And as winemaker Vinny Aliperti pointed out, algal blooms keep the tourists away.
Greenidge Generation vigorously denies that its plant is having an adverse impact on the environment. Those drives, however, can be turned off whenever the plant needs maximum water flow. Greenidge also affirmed that it is on schedule to install protective screens by However, although there are specific fishing regulations upstream from the Greenidge discharge canal, the lower part of the Outlet is also a designated trout stream ; this explanation also does not account for the trout that live in Seneca Lake itself.
However, as Boyer told me, the number of HABs was down across the region in , likely because of high winds over the summer. Finally, Greenidge reiterated that its activities are all within the limits set by its permits from the DEC and the U. In March , the plant hired McKeon, a lobbyist at Mercury Public Affairs and the founder and former executive director of Republicans for Cuomo, which organized bipartisan support for the now-governor during his first run for the office.
Environmentalists have repeatedly challenged this decision in court. Instead, the question should be: Is the plant more harmful than no plant at all? For example, since the DEC has recommended new and repowered plants use so-called closed-cycle cooling, in which cooling water is recirculated through the plant instead of discarded, significantly reducing wildlife mortality from impingement and entrainment, as well as the volume of hot water discharges.
Of course, that was before the plant started mining hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Bitcoin every day. So somebody is greedy. At the end of April, the Town of Torrey gave the company a green light to build four new buildings to house additional Bitcoin-mining hardware.
Before leaving town, I spent some time on the Keuka Outlet Trail. It follows the stream that connects Keuka Lake to Seneca Lake, running over an old railway, and ends near the Greenidge property line, which is posted liberally with no-trespassing signs. The stream used to power an industrial thoroughfare. In there were seven gristmills, 14 sawmills, an oil mill, four carding machines for processing wool and other fibers, as well as multiple distilleries. A nonprofit has since transformed the area into a nature retreat with a wide gravel path for walking, running, and biking, well-situated benches for moments of quiet repose, and water access for fishing or boating.
This could have been the fate of an old coal-fired power plant on Seneca Lake, which in its later years produced energy people rarely needed and was too costly to run at a profit.
Nearby residents might have breathed easier, and there would have been one less threat to Seneca Lake and the animals and people who depend on it. The only newsroom focused on exploring solutions at the intersection of climate and justice. Our in-depth approach to solutions-based journalism takes time and proactive planning, which is why Grist depends on reader support.
Your gifts keep our unbiased, nonprofit news site free. Donate today, to support the climate news you can trust. Your support keeps our unbiased, nonprofit news free. Donate today to support the climate news you can trust. Jessica McKenzie. Vinny Aliperti stands outside the tasting room at the winery he owns and operates near Seneca Lake. Greenidge is positioning itself as part of a clean energy future. Eric Holthaus. Support solutions-based climate news The only newsroom focused on exploring solutions at the intersection of climate and justice.
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How to Mine Bitcoin
Bitcoin mining is booming in North America, sparking new revenue opportunities for companies with access to cheap power, especially renewables. Learn the risks as well as the rewards. The state of Texas, in particular, has begun to emerge as an epicenter since China banned the industry in , sparking an exodus of miners from the country. In the wake of the Chinese ban, companies based in North America, which include Riot Blockchain and Marathon Digital Holdings, are raising record amounts of capital as they ramp up production and expand their industrial-scale operations.
Countries that mine the most Bitcoin (BTC) 2019-2021
Since the introduction of Bitcoin in and cryptocurrencies in general, the use of digital currencies has continued to grow. Commercial deployment of specialized mining servers and introduction of mining farms followed shortly after. The insurance industry normally relies on historical actuarial data that details frequency and severity of loss. The rapidly changing nature of crypto mining technology makes actuarial data unreliable. Therefore, while Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been mined for over 10 years, a large portion of the insurance industry is still not comfortable underwriting this type of risk. Old Mutual went on to say that even doing a comprehensive inventory of the insured equipment is difficult, because the value of the highly modified computer equipment is typically inflated and almost impossible to verify as it is usually imported from obscure suppliers in the Far East. However, crypto mining equipment would readily fall under the description or definition of computer hardware or datacenter server equipment, terms that insurance carriers have experience with. While replacement with like, kind, and quality LKQ is normally quite straightforward, the current volatility and non-standard supply chain make valuation very difficult. In addition, recovery of hardware that simply exhibits signs of loss, like contamination, is also not as clearly understood.
One for the gamers: Crypto mining farm perishes in conflagration in Thailand
Peter Howson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Huge concrete data centres, permanently plugged into power plants and telephone exchanges, maintain much of online life. But the infrastructure behind internet-based cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, dogecoin and ethereum is more like a rusty travelling circus. And right now, that circus is on the road. With only a few hippos, its easy for everyone to be a winner.
Costa Rica hydro plant gets new lease on life from crypto mining
Historically managed by the government, Vector is disrupting the space launch industry and democratizing it for multiple use cases. SpaceChain Foundation, working in partnership with Vector, is creating a constellation of mining nodes for grander scale, security and processing power. The commercialization of space spurs significant investment and economic activity; merged with blockchain, Arizona is poised to attract meaningful companies and talent. Our welcoming state regulatory environment enables the region to position itself as the proving ground for blockchain-based products as well as subsidiary industries, which support them; for example, the developments in the space race. Blockchain technology is an open-source protocol incorporating elements of mathematical computation, code and cryptography, to record transactions onto a ledger system distributed across a network of specialized computers. Three fundamental features of blockchain technology are security, scalability and decentralization; omitting one, negates the value and brilliance of the technology.
The rise of cryptocurrencies as assets attractive to fund managers is breathing life into a spit of land the size of Manhattan located on the southern coast of Morocco. The remote location, wedged between the Sahara Desert and Atlantic Ocean some 1, kilometers miles south of Marrakesh, has gained in value for its potential to mine cryptocurrencies and manage data using clean energy. Renewables have become the preferred means of mining digital currencies like Bitcoin after the cost of electricity surged last year, forcing the industry to spend more money on computing power. Those will feed crypto-mining and data centers processing blockchain transactions, which run on 18 megawatts of power, according to its white paper. A challenge common to data center operators that Soluna may struggle to overcome is the issue of intermittency.
How To Mine Bitcoin? Know How It Works And the Computing System That's Needed
But, as with most things Bitcoin, this interpretation is based more on hope than fact. Bitcoin has failed to live up to the hype that it would democratize finance by enabling cheap, instantaneous, and secure payments that could be conducted without having to rely on stodgy old financial institutions like banks and credit card companies. Bitcoin has failed to meet this vision due to its excessive price volatility, slow transaction processing, difficult user experience e.
This power plant stopped burning fossil fuels. Then Bitcoin came along.RELATED VIDEO: How I Built My Small Mining Farm
Philip Hughes and Josh Riddett together on the farm. Courtesy Easy Crypto Hunter. At a remote farm set in idyllic countryside in north-west Wales, a farmer is taking advantage of the huge amounts of manure his cows and sheep churn out daily to cash in on the craze for crypto coins. Instead of relying solely on his biofuel plant to create renewable energy for the National Grid, Philip Hughes has a much more lucrative plan for his animals' "cow muck": he uses it to power computers that mine digital coins such as Ethereum. The biofuel process uses a six-cylinder engine that turns methane emitted from the decomposing manure into electricity in a process called anaerobic digestion. While two thirds of the electricity produced helps to power his farm and adjoining caravan park, the rest powers specialist computers known as mining rigs. Josh Riddett, 30, founder of Easy Crypto Hunter, in Manchester, which supplies mining rigs like the one Mr Hughes uses, said more than 40 British farmers who produce renewable energy, including wind, hydro, solar and bio-fuel, now have one of his kits.
So, he sent hundreds of dollars. Then thousands. Then he started telling friends and family, who sent even more money. When [the scammer] had all our money at the same time, that's when she disappeared.