Bitcoin mining uses as much electricity as a small country. Many people hate it for this reason, its one of the more popular arguments against crypto currencies. Will crypto mining kill polar bears? I think not. I think it will help save polar bears. "Bear" with me.
Germany already produces a significant part of its electricity from renewable energy: wind and solar. As we all know, these sources are intermittent and seasonal, as is demand. The result is inevitably temporary and seasonal overcapacity. This isnt just theoretical, energy prices in germany and the UK where effectively negative last Christmas: http://www.businessinsider.com/renewable-power-germany-negative-electricity-cost-2017-12//?r=AU&IR=T
As explained in the above article, this isnt a rare freak occurrence, its expected and this will have to be become much, much more common if as a society, we want to transition away from fossil fuels. To do that we need more renewable energy. A study I saw for Germany calculated they needed at least 89% more capacity, just to handle peaks loads. That also implies an incredible amount of overcapacity when demand isnt anywhere near peak, or when supply is above average due to favorable weather. Storing excess renewable electricity in most places is very expensive and inefficient. So much so that its rarely even done. This is a major problem. Renewable energy may have become cheaper than other forms per KWH, but who wants to invest in solar or wind power when you cant sell your energy to the grid for much of the time, and especially during those times where it actually produces the most energy?
I know what you're thinking. Mining wont help here, because mining intermittently, a few hours per day or a few days per week is something that seems crazy today; but thats only because today, the overall cost structure of a (bitcoin) miner is heavily titled towards writing off hardware. Particularly anyone paying retail prices for mining asics. This will change, because of two related reasons:
1) mining efficiency will taper off.
Mining asics have been progressing rapidly, from using 20 year old process technology to absolute state of the art now. This has resulted in million fold improvements in efficiency in just a few years, which in turn lead to hardware investments that needed to be recovered in a few months or even weeks (!) before they were obsolete. This cant and wont last. 12nm and 7nm asics are about to be produced, or being produced. It doesnt get better than that today, and it wont for many years to come. 5nm wont become available before 2020 at the earliest, and likely later than that, especially in meaningful volume. More over, Moore's law is hitting a brick wall (you cant scale transistors smaller than atoms), and only states that transistor density increases. Not that chips become more efficient or faster. This is already becoming evident. Compared to a few years ago, CPUs have gained more cores (ie, more transistors), but a 4 year old highend cpu like a Haswell core i7 runs at comparable speeds, and comparable power efficiency with today's chips. All this means that these state of the art mining asics will remain competitive for many years, and can be written off over many years. But they will still consume electricity during those years, which will then become the primary cost.
2) Mining is still too profitable (for anyone making their own asics) and mining hardware is therefore still too expensive.
Miner hardware production rate simply hasnt yet been able to keep up with demand and soaring bitcoin prices. This leads to artificially low mining difficulty, making mining operationally profitable even with expensive electricity, and this also leads to exuberant hardware profit margins. You can see this easily, just look at the difficulty of bitcoin. When the price dropped by 70%, did you see a corresponding drop in difficulty? No, no drop at all, it just keeps growing exponentially. That only makes sense because we are not yet near saturation, or near marginal electricity costs for bitmain & Co. Its not worth it yet for them to turn off their miners. Its not even worth it yet for residential miners. Another piece of evidence for this, is bitmains estimated $4 billion profit. But mining is a zero sum game, over time, market forces will drive hardware prices and the mining itself to become only marginally profitable. We're clearly not close to that -yet. You might think so as a private miner, but thats only because you overpaid for your hardware.
Lets look at todays situation to get an idea. An Antminer S9 retails for $2300 and uses ~1300W at the wall. If you write off the hardware over a year, electricity and hardware costs balance out at an electricity price of $0.2/KWH. Anything below that, and hardware becomes the major cost. But how will that evolve?
Based on some experience in the industry, I recognise the high startup costs of developing an asic, particularly on an advanced process, but my guess is the BOM for a miner like the S9 without PSU is below $200; depending on yields and binning, and the wafer prices they can negotiate with TSMC, it could be as low as $100. The fan might literally be the most expensive part. As difficulty keeps going up, demand for asics will eventually taper off, and market prices will head towards marginal costs. Let say an S9 equivalent at that point gets sold at $400 leaving bitmain a healthy margin; that would mean each year a miner would spend 5x more on electricity than hardware. Hardware will remain competitive for more than a single year though. Say you write it off over 3 years, now you're spending 15x more on electricity than the hardware. Intermittent mining with free or virtually free electricity 50% of the time will become feasible long before that, hardware costs will become almost a moot point and mining even a few hours per day of a few days per week might actually make sense.
The result is that crypto mining will give green energy producers a way to efficiently monetise local, seasonal or intermittent excess energy production. Instead of paying people to use their excess electricity, they will be paid for it, and they will earn pretty much the global average electricity rates for it, as mining difficulty will adjust to around that level. That means investing in renewable energy is now much more lucrative, because you dont have to worry about what to do with your excess production. It may even make sense if you cant sell a single KwH to the grid. But anything you can sell for a price above your mining profits, will be extra.
By now, I will hopefully have convinced you of the viability of mining with renewable energy; but its not only viable, it will become the only way to do it profitably. Renewable energy at the source is already cheaper than any carbon burning source. Even in Quatar, they install solar plants because its cheaper than burning their own gas. Its transporting and storing the electricity that usually is the problem. Gas can easily be transported and stored. But mining doesnt need either. You can mine pretty much anywhere and anytime. All you need is a few containers and an internet connection.
Moreover, mining is a zero sum game, a race to the bottom. As long as its profitable for green energy providers to deploy more hardware (which will be true as long as they can at least recover their hardware investment), difficulty will go up. Until it becomes unprofitable for anyone who has to pay for his electricity. No one gives oil, coal or gas away for free, so anyone depending on those sources of electricity, can not remain competitive. If bitcoin price were to go up so much, that there isnt enough renewable electricity production in the world to accommodate the hashrate, bitcoin miners will simply install more solar and wind farms. Not because of their ecological awareness, but because it makes the most financial sense.
TL:DR, deploying under utilised excess renewable capacity is both very expensive and very necessary if we want to save polar bears. Financing for large scale green energy projects will either have to come from tax payer money to subsidise excess electricity, or it will come from crypto mining.
BTW, if you wonder what Blockchains LLC is going to do with 61K acres near Tesla's factory; my guess is solar plants and crypto mining. Expect to see renewable energy development and crypto mining to merge in to one single industry. Check out envion to get a glimpse of this future. Im not endorsing their token as an investment, I havent researched it at all, but the market they are going after is a very real one and its about to explode.
BITCOIN (BTC) mining is all about making money, meaning a crypto calculator is crucial. Here is an introduction to using a bitcoin mining calculator. Jan 9, 2016 - Explore Gamingtyrant's board "Bitcoin Mining" on Pinterest. See more ideas about Bitcoin mining, Bitcoin, Bitcoin miner. BITCOIN mining is the key to unlocking the wealth of the super-popular crypto token. Here is an introductory guide on how to mine bitcoin. ASIC MINING BOT. Budget $750-1500 USD. Freelancer. Jobs. Mine Ingeniørarbejde. ASIC MINING BOT . Hello, I'm looking for the best Cryptocurrency Mining, Trading Bot. Now if you know more about this, we need to discuss because I have some queries to ask. Thanks. Evner: Mine Ingeniørarbejde, Bitcoin, Software Udvikling, Blockchain, Ethereum. Se mere: bot anti bot system, bot anti bot ragnarok ... Search for jobs related to Scrypt asic miner or hire on the world's largest freelancing marketplace with 17m+ jobs. It's free to sign up and bid on jobs.
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