Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have shot up in popularity in the past year given their wealth creation possibilities among other technological benefits. One of the dark sides of this industry that not many know about is the energy crisis they are facing.
In the background of these currencies is a process known as mining. Mining uses extremely powerful computers to solve algorithms which are then awarded with coins.
The computers form a network that can ensure transactions are verified by more than one source, thus creating a decentralized network. Because this process is heavy on computing power, it is even heavier on the amount of energy that it requires. The bitcoin network is said to be o track to consume more energy than Denmark by the year 2020.
Because of this extreme energy consumption, a man named Julian Oliver had the idea to try and solve in. Oliver’s idea is based around creating a wind-powered mining rig. The rig is currently mining the cryptocurrency known as ZCash somewhere in Europe at an undisclosed location.
Oliver has stated that “the most attractive thing about cryptocurrencies is the potent challenge they represent to traditional, state-ordained monetary authorities. Still, their environmental impact of mining on fossil-fueled grids is little better than cash. It occurred to me that I might position symptoms of climate change, in particular wind gusts and storms, as a potential energy for a funding autmaton for climate research.”
The farm that Oliver build is said to consist of 6-foot wide wind turbine that is mounted on a large tripod. This setup is then connected to a computer that is held within a weather-proof box. The setup is said to have a Mini-ITX motherboard, a single Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU, a 4 GB stick of ram, an Intel i3 CPU, a 250 GB solid state hard drive, an Arduino microcontroller and a 4G dongle used to connect the computer to the internet.
Hopefully this can represent a leap towards the future of cryptocurrency.