A Bitcoin miner is buying power plants to mine crypto now:
By now, you’ve probably heard about the sheer amount of energy cryptocurrency mining uses and how that’s bad for the environment.
So, it should be quite concerning to find out that Bitcoin miners are now buying entire power plants in their effort to get rich on the speculative asset.
A Pennsylvania-based holding company called Stronghold Digital Mining is currently running a Bitcoin mining operation using the Scrubgrass power plant in Venango County, Pennsylvania, which it purchased over the summer, in 2021.
Stronghold raised $105 million to open the power plant for its Bitcoin mining endeavors. The plant currently burns coal waste to produce enough energy to power 1,800 mining computers.
According to Stronghold Digital Mining, the company is now burning 600,000 tons of coal waste at Scrubgrass per year in order to run its Bitcoin mining operation. This information is public due to Stronghold’s filings with the SEC, as the company plans to go public.
And it gets worse. Stronghold is planning to further its coal-burning power plant operations.
In August, the company acquired a second power plant in Pennsylvania, called the Panther Creek power plant. It’s looking to expand to a third as well.
Bitcoin mining requires high-powered computer processors in order to solve advanced mathematical equations. This process helps maintain the cryptocurrency’s digital ledger, known as the blockchain. When these math problems are solved, Bitcoin miners receive the cryptocurrency in exchange.
The more computing power one has, the more equations that can be solved and the more Bitcoin they earn. The process is so intense that individuals really can’t earn Bitcoin based on the computer power already accessible to them. Many miners purchase thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of equipment to mine Bitcoin and even then, only these multi-million dollar operations can really mine enough Bitcoin to make the process profitable at this point.
Bitcoin miners are predicted to use around 130 Terawatt-hours of energy (TWh), according to The University of Cambridge’s bitcoin electricity consumption index. As TechCrunch points out, Bitcoin’s carbon dioxide emissions are roughly the same as a country like Jordan, with a population of 10 million people.
For the cherry on top, taxpayers are funding Stronghold Digital Mining’s Bitcoin power plant profits.
According to Bloomberg, Pennsylvania provides tax credits for burning coal waste. With these subsidies, Stronghold calculates that each Bitcoin it earns through mining costs the company under $3,000.
At the time this piece was published, Bitcoin was trading at more than $42,000 – not a bad profit for a taxpayer-subsidized cryptocurrency mining operation that’s spoiling the environment.
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