Krista Hannesdóttir, a crypto enthusiast who runs a digital currency mining farm in Iceland, recently revealed how she found a way to keep the scale of her operations relatively small yet still remain competitive.
Hannesdóttir, a math teacher by profession, explained that she compensates local farmers for any extra geothermal energy they may produce - which she then uses to set up and maintain cryptocurrency mining hardware.
Using Unused Storage Space
She added that the excess heat generated from the mining equipment is used for heating purposes. Commenting on how she manages her relatively small crypto mining operation, Hannesdóttir said:
Farmers have a lot of storage space, so it’s easier for us to move our equipment to their location. You can also heat up the storage space, which is quite clean. So generally speaking, it’s reducing rent, and reducing energy cost.
As many people are now aware, digital currency mining has been criticized for consuming huge amounts of energy. According to current estimates, Bitcoin (BTC) mining consumes approximately 22 terawat-hours (TWh) of energy per year - which is about the amount of electricity Ireland consumes.
Because of affordable access to geothermal energy, Iceland’s citizens have increasingly been mining cryptocurrencies. The power consumed by the country’s mining activities has been estimated to be around 840GWh, an amount which exceeds the the electricity consumed by the homes of its over 300,000 residents.
Negative Impact On Environment
Iceland’s government officials and many of its citizens are now concerned about the adverse effects mining could have on the country’s environment as its natural beauty attracts over 2 million tourists every year.
Large-scale mining operations established in Ásbrú, Keflavik (southwest Iceland), an area previously used as a US Air Force base, are unable to scale down the size of their operations - as doing so would mean they’d no longer be profitable.
This could potentially be a big problem because well-known crypto companies such as Genesis and BitFury would have to scale back their operations, if Iceland’s authorities try to place limits on how much power organization’s may consume.
Similar to how crypto exchanges tend to shift their operations to other locations where regulatory requirements might be more flexible, these giant mining companies could also begin moving out of the island nation.
"Mutually Beneficial" Mining Business
However, Hannesdóttir claims she has found a way to mine digital currencies in a manner which is “mutually beneficial” - without having to increase the size of her operations.
As mentioned, her small mining farm is located at a former fish factory and consists of 180 fan-cooled P102 GPU machines, which reportedly produce over $10,000 in Ethereum (ETH) per month.
Explaining some of the challenges when she initially approached farmers about using their storage space for mining, Hannesdóttir said:
We really had to explain what it was, that it’s a machine that makes money and uses energy. People are wary, obviously, because it sounds too good to be true. But in reality it’s really beneficial for us to get energy and space at a lower cost.