Square Inc. has pledged a $5 million investment into building a solar-powered bitcoin (BTC) mining facility. A new partnership with global blockchain technology leader Blockstream.
“We’re committed to driving further adoption and efficiency of renewables within the bitcoin ecosystem, which is why we’ve teamed up with @Blockstream to launch an open-source renewable energy mining project as part of our Bitcoin Clean Energy Initiative.”
“Together, we’ll be creating a public-facing dashboard to serve as a transparent case study for renewable energy and bitcoin mining. As we continue to explore the synergies between the two, we’re excited to share our ongoing learnings and real world data points.”
Blockstream representatives also issued details about the venture on its website, reiterating various points on its own Twitter. One tweet indicated that while Square fronts the money, they will provide “infrastructure and expertise to build and manage the project.”
They also alluded to the presence of renewable energy-based mining operations across the world. However, they stated that this new project “will become a model that other businesses can learn from.”
“We plan on providing regular reports on the economics of the project.” one final tweet said. “And we’re also planning on building a freely-accessible dashboard showing real-time metrics of the project’s performance, including power output and bitcoin mined.”
Mining climate across the world
Blockstream referred to renewable energy as “the most cost-effective power available” on their website. And several countries have gravitated towards it over power sources with heavy fossil fuel emissions.
In the few weeks alone, crypto mining’s environmental impact has become something of a touchy subject in various parts of the world. Perhaps most notoriously, Elon Musk’s decision to suspend BTC as a form of payment at his company Tesla. Citing its energy consumption and damage to the environment as the reasons. While noting cryptocurrencies’ benefits, Musk said they should not come at the cost of the environment.
Furthermore, China’s crackdown on bitcoin mining operations have led several mining pools to close. However, the decline in China reportedly led to an increase in operations in the U.S. A large portion of which involved renewable energy sources.
And further still, officials in Iran blamed rolling blackouts partly on cryptocurrency mining activities. With this in mind, a number of official mining farms in the country voluntarily shut down their operations to reduce strain on the power grid. Iran previously announced they would enforce fines on anyone caught mining cryptocurrencies using household electricity.