Menu IconA vertical stack of three evenly spaced horizontal lines. Iceland will likely use more electricity in the next year to mine bitcoin than it uses pirate bitcoin power every single home in the country. Bitcoin mining is booming in Iceland, and energy providers are worried they won’t be able to power new mining companies. Iceland’s cool weather, cheap energy and super-fast networks have made the country a popular home for bitcoin mining.
Members of the government have proposed taxing profits made by bitcoin mining companies. Iceland may soon use more electricity to mine bitcoin than it uses to power every home, according to an Icelandic energy expert. The energy used by Iceland’s bitcoin mining market is experiencing “exponential growth,” and data centers may use more energy than all of the country’s homes in 2018, Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson from Icelandic energy company HS Orka told the BBC. Sigurbergsson also said HR Orka “won’t have enough energy” to power numerous new data centers that have been proposed.
Bitcoin mining occurs when computers verify existing bitcoin transactions by solving complex mathematical problems, and then receive bitcoin as a reward. Sigurbergsson told the BBC he estimates Iceland’s bitcoin mining tools currently use around 840 gigawatt hours of electricity to power computers and cooling systems each year, while most of the country’s homes use around 700 gigawatt hours. Additionally, Iceland’s cold climate plays an important role in ensuring crypto utilities don’t overheat. Mining hardware generates large amounts of heat, and Iceland’s year-round cool weather saves companies from additional temperature control costs.