While the world braces itself for the cataclysmic effects multiple degrees of warming will have on our shared climate, Bitcoin miners continue to cash in on blockchain technology despite its outsize need for resources. According to a write up in Bloomberg, a power plant in upstate New York is mining $50,000 worth of the currency a day, setting itself up quite nicely for the End Times.
Energy vampire — Greenidge Generation is a former coal processing facility in Dresden, New York that now generates power from natural gas. The factory went through an extensive, $65m conversion allowing it to move away from dirtier coal processing, which in some way makes it a cleaner energy producer. And then, in many other ways, still very dirty.
Until recently, it was only profitable for the plant to run during times of peak energy demand (think air conditioning at the height the summer or heat in the dead of winter) but a private equity firm, called Atlas Holdings LLC, has devised a scheme to mine Bitcoin using the facility's "behind-the-meter" power — at the rock bottom price of production. Thanks to the demand for the blockchain currency, a huge polluter can profitably spew its waste into our air and water year round.
Backwards math — The company has installed 7,000 crypto-mining machines into its 65,000 square foot premises, using about 15 megawatts of power a day out of the total 106 megawatts that the plant produces. For those keeping track of the moral indignity, that's enough power for 11,000 average US homes.
To put it in perspective, a report from 2018 suggested that all of the bitcoin mining around the world at that time was using enough energy to power the entire country of Ireland. You can assume that many more projects like the Greenridge setup have sprung into existence since then. This is fine! Fine!
Hard to kill — While other Bitcoin miners are calculating whether May's upcoming "halvening" — when the rewards issued to miners will be cut in half — will leave them profitable, don't worry about Greenidge Generation's continued ability to waste humanity's resources.
“We are in a favorable market position regardless of how the halving materializes,” said Tim Rainey, chief financial officer at Greenidge Generation to Bloomberg. “Due to our unique position as a co-generation facility, we are able to make money in down markets so that we’re available to catch the upside of volatile price swings.”