Bitcoin mining is often criticized as an imperfect process due to its energy waste, but major companies in the industry are trying to maximize efficiency and sustainability while seeking regulatory clarity.
In a dimly lit room at FTX and SALT’s Crypto Bahamas event, some of the world’s largest crypto miners took to the stage to discuss the future of the fledgling but growing industry in the “Crypto Mining: Maximizing Efficiency and Sustainability” panel.
Crypto miners seek to improve their market through efforts that range from improving hashrate efficiency, which is the amount of energy a machine requires to produce one bitcoin, to increasingly specialized data mining centers optimized for lower consumption. of energy, Marco Streng, CEO and co-founder of Genesis Digital Assets, said at the event.
Computers that mine bitcoins are 58 times more efficient than they were eight years ago, according to a report by the Bitcoin Mining Council. In addition to machines becoming more efficient, facility engineering and power sources have become much more efficient, improving the productivity of an individual bitcoin mining computer, Mike Levitt, Co-Chairman, Co-Founder and CEO of Core Scientist, he said.
Some miners are even using the excess heat and converting it to nearly 100% heat-generated power, which would otherwise go to waste but is instead funneled into power, Streng said.
“It is clear now that miners are converging towards renewable sources,” said Streng.
Of all the energy generated and used in the US, about 65% will be wasted in 2021, according to a graph from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a research center funded by the US Department of Energy and UC Berkeley.
Miners may be a solution to the problem of unconsumed energy, Streng said.
Jaime Leverton, CEO of Hut 8, agreed.
“By working together with a local power grid, we are really a stabilizer,” Leverton said.
The amount of energy it takes for Bitcoin to produce a billion-dollar value is significantly less than the amount of energy it takes for an airline to produce a billion-dollar value, said Brian Brooks, CEO of Bitfury.
A key point that is hurting the crypto mining industry right now is a lack of regulatory clarity, all panelists said.
“Once we have [regulation], we believe that the pace of innovation should accelerate because we will know the rules of the game,” said Levitt. “Hardware efficiency has improved tremendously, power supply efficiency and free markets have led us to be mindful of how we carry power in the right way. “