Bitcoin (BTC) miners in China plot plans to ‘go green’

By Shaurya Malwa

Some of China’s storied Bitcoin miners are planning to use more renewable energy sources to power their expansive mining rigs, local outlet CGTN said today.

Chinese officials said last month they would crackdown on mining farms for their high power usage and large environmental impact. One of the culprits was illegal coal extraction in some regions to power mining farms—something that went against China’s continual efforts to go green and become carbon neutral.

But some miners are looking to bounce back. “We are trying to collaborate with power generation companies to know the status of excess energy generation, and they can be connected to bitcoin mining to prevent the energy wastage,” said Arthur Lee, CEO of SAI, a Bitcoin mining company.

Mining for Bitcoin in greener pastures

Mining, for the uninitiated, uses up a massive computing system that solves millions of complex calculations each second to validate transactions on the Bitcoin network (a process known as ‘proof of work’). This requires massive amounts of energy for the maintenance, cooling, running of the machines.

Countries like China have come down hard on such activities. This has caused the exodus of influential miners in the country to other regions, with Serbia, Texas, and Central Asian countries emerging as top contenders. It has also given rise to the usage of unconventional energy sources for mining purposes, such as volcanoes and cow manure.

“Bitcoin miners thrive in the country because of the cheap electricity, easy availability of land, affordable labor, and safety. But things have changed for us in recent years because of the recent regulatory changes,” explained Lee in the regard.

“The cheapest energy is where the energy is idle,” he added, referring to electricity generated by solar and wind farms that aren’t fully utilized as it is not connected to a grid. As such, a significant percentage of the country’s solar and wind energy potential is based in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Gansu.

Retain miners

Meanwhile, some academics say Bitcoin mining has helped China’s inner economy and shouldn’t be driven out at all.

“We should not forget that Bitcoin mining generated huge tax revenue and created job opportunities, helping the country’s fight against poverty,” noted Liu Changyong, professor at Chongqing Technology and Business University.

He added that policymakers, power companies, and Bitcoin miners should, instead of moving away, come together to resolve the issue and grow the industry. [It’s] a win-win deal for everyone,” Liu added.

Wonder who’s going to tell the Chinese government that?

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