Bitcoin [BTC] mining has become popular in Iceland, due to its cool climate and cheap energy costs. More recently, however, the infrastructure used for the mining process may be reused.
Electricity consumed by the farms equal almost as much energy as all of Iceland’s households combined. Iceland has predicted that it will consume upwards of 100 megawatts by the end of this year.
This has caused comments in the past from prominent political figures, with Andri Magnason, former presidential candidate, saying:
“Crypto mining is as good for the planet as Cryptonite is for Superman. Evil villains have found the most stupid way to waste energy.”
The island holds great promise for miners, as the cold climate reduces cooling costs for mining equipment. Electricity is cheap due to geothermal and hydropower plants that are widely used in the area.
In such an atmosphere, it is important to notice that these vast farms might actually be used towards other projects. Some of these are deep learning applications or automatic translators to be applied in real-world use cases.
Gisli Katrinarson, the Chief Commercial Officer at Advania, a data center, says that “immense knowledge” has been developed about the best way to manage blockchain systems. This is apparently being used to “increase the quality of service for our customers.”
Another prominent player in the space is HS Orka, which owns and operates many geothermal power plants. They provide power to mining farms and data centers present in Iceland. The CEO of HS Orka, Asgeir Margeirsson, said on the matter:
“The fourth revolution is starting. It would be terrible for us in Iceland not to follow that development. If we were not to take part in the next development into the future, we would slide back.”
Kristinn Thorisson, the director of the Icelandic Institute for Intelligent Machines, spoke about the repurposing of these data centers. He stated that the hardware used in these centers are “central to the industrial revolution that is still underway”, and that advancement in AI requires “way more data than computing power.”
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