Cryptocurrency miners are moving to Norway and Sweden due to lower electricity prices, which makes mining less costly, and lower temperatures, which makes it easier to keep the servers cool and thereby able to work at their maximum speed.
In recent years, Iceland, which according to Landvirksjun, its national power company, produces 99% of its electricity from renewable hydro and geothermal sources, has been crypto-currency miners’ favorite location in Europe. In fact, according to a recent article in The Guardian, sometime this year, Iceland will become the first country in the world where crypto mining’s electricity consumption exceeds the amount households use.
Although the current cost of electricity in Iceland is still relatively low within Europe, rising power prices are leading an increasing number of cryptocurrency miners to take a closer look at two other similar countries -- Norway and Sweden. In fact, Reuters reported yesterday that:
... at 6.5 euro cents and 7.1 cents per kilowatt hours, respectively, commercial power prices in Sweden and Norway are cheaper than Iceland's 8 cents and far below the European average of 11 cents.
HIVE Leads The Charge
Amongst the crypto mining companies leading the charge is Canadian company, HIVE Blockchain Technologies Ltd (HIVE.V), which announced on 15 January 2018 that, in partnership with Genesis Mining Ltd, it had completed the first phase ("Sweden Phase 1") of a large scale crypto mining facility in Boden, which is located in the far north of Sweden, and that it had just began mining Ethereum there.
Furthermore, HIVE said that this facility is capable of mining all other GPU-based digital currencies, such as ZCash and Monero, and that it should have a ASIC-mining facility (capable of mining Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash) online by September 2018. HIVE's CEO, Harry Pokrandt, said that:
We already have a few places in Iceland, but the facility we are now building in Sweden will be ten times as big.
According to the same Reuters article mentioned earlier, another large crypto mining company investigating Norway and Sweden is the Chinese bitcoin mining giant Bitmain. Although around 70% of the world's crypto mining takes place in China, the government's concerns about pollution from coal-powered plants is forcing Bitmain and other Chinese miners to look elsewhere.
Finally, pressue from policymakers to use clean energy is giving crypto mining companies additional motivation to move their mining operations to countries such as Sweden and Norway that produce most/all of their electricity from renewable sources. This is, of course, good news for our planet.