Nuclear-Powered Bitcoin Mining Is Coming to the States
A mid last month’s heated debate over Bitcoin’s environmental impact, two companies are confident they have the answer on how to mitigate some of the negative effects: nuclear energy.
Nuclear-powered Bitcoin mining is part of a new wave of innovation of companies developing smaller reactors that they say would be faster and cheaper to build than conventional nuclear plants. These Bitcoin nuclear reactors can be small and would generate a lot of power without harmful emissions.
Bitcoin mining is necessary for releasing new Bitcoins into circulation. To help avoid fraud, miners authenticate transactions on Bitcoin’s blockchain. In return, miners are given new Bitcoin. Miners need to solve extremely complex math problems to verify transactions, which require a large amount of computational power.
“Right now, millions of Bitcoin mining devices around the world are generating 130 quintillion of such guesses every second of the day non-stop,” Alex de Vries, a financial economist who runs Digiconomist, told CNBC. “Combined, these machines are now consuming as much electrical energy as a country like the Netherlands.”
Bitcoin mining to go nuclear
Along with other clean energy sources like wind, solar and hydro, nuclear energy could be the best power source for Bitcoin mining due to its reliability, cheapness and carbon-free nature. It’s expensive to build nuclear power plants but it doesn’t cost much to run them. In many places, nuclear energy is competitive with fossil fuels as a means of electricity generation.
Mining companies around the world are planning to shift towards nuclear energy sources to reduce regulators’ concerns over the environmental impact of mining.