After several reports and criticism of Bitcoin mining using electricity equivalent to all of Iceland’s households, the sector looks primed to create economic development and industry in the region.
Bitcoin Miners Parlay a New Industry
On July 4, 2018, Bloomberg reported Iceland is embracing Bitcoin mining farms and computing setups, contrary to previous resistance towards the industry.
Iceland does not have many commercial outlets and relies mainly on tourism, fishing, and aluminum for revenue. Now, the country is utilizing the infrastructure that Bitcoin miners rely on to create applications and products for obscure technologies, including deep learning self-driving cars and automatic translators for citizens.
Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson, the business head of HS Orka, the Icelandic power plant that supplies power to several Bitcoin mining organizations, holds a grim outlook for the pioneer cryptocurrency but believes an industry can be built as the newly-built mining centers have positioned Iceland as a data powerhouse.
“Bitcoin probably won’t be here far into the future. But the centers themselves will become new technology incubators, and that’s the bet we’re making.”
Iceland received unprecedented and unexpected attention from Bitcoin miners in 2017 and 2018. As the protocol becomes progressively difficult to mine, computing systems require more electricity to solve algorithms and generate excessive heat as a result.
Cooling systems are expensive to run and maintain, and these reasons added up to miners choosing Iceland’s cool climate and cheap electricity to their advantage. Additionally, the country largely uses geothermal and hydroelectric sources to produce electricity, cutting down concerns expressed by some environmentalists.
The cheap energy supply was instrumental in attracting aluminum smelters to the region and propelled the island nation to become one of the world’s largest aluminum producers.
The chief commercial officer Advania, Iceland’s biggest data center, Gisli Kr. Katrinarson echoes Sigurbergsson’s thoughts and believes the country has “developed immense knowledge about the most efficient ways to operate and maintain these blockchain systems.”
As per reports, Advania is working with the research wing of Stanford University and HP Enterprise to simulate how a virtual human heart might respond to experimental medication. The firm attributes the development to their “increased knowledge” in the fields of technology.
Meanwhile, CEO of the HS Orca power plant, Asgeir Margeirsson, stated:
“The fourth revolution is starting. It would be terrible for us in Iceland not to follow that development. If we were not to take part in the next development into the future, we would slide back.”