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Blockstream and Macquarie Group to Pilot Bitcoin Mining Facility


cryptoknowmics.com 09 September 2021 05:30, UTC
Reading time: ~2 m

Blockchain technology firm Blockstream has partnered with financial group Macquarie to pilot a Bitcoin mining facility and explore carbon-neutral alternatives to power such activities. 

Blockstream to Collaborate With Macquarie Group on Bitcoin Mining Facility

As per a September 8 blog post, Macquarie Group is funding Blockstream’s efforts to develop “best-in-class”,zero-emission Bitcoin mining facilities. The partnership will enable the Australian financial group to leverage its “experience and scale in traditional infrastructure investment” to explore solutions for sustainable crypto mining.

This initiative builds upon Blockstream’s previous collaborations with Aker and Square to establish renewable energy-powered Bitcoin mining projects. 

Under the new partnership, Macquarie Group -- which is one of the largest institutional investors in clean energy -- will work with Blockstream on hosting mining hardware, which will be scaled in stages as more renewable energy infrastructure is deployed. It will also open a range of Bitcoin and mining-related opportunities for both parties.

Blockstream made a splash in June when it announced a $5 million investment from Jack Dorsey’s Square for a solar-powered crypto mining facility. According to the company, the project “will be a proof-of-concept for a 100% renewable energy Bitcoin mine at scale."

More recently, Blockstream revealed a new ASICs division after acquiring hardware manufacturing firm Spondoolies. 

Cryptocurrencies’ Growing Appetite for Energy

As per a New York Times report, Bitcoin mining today consumes roughly 91 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, which surpasses the demand in Finland -- a nation of 5.5 million people.

Over time, crypto mining has become more expensive and energy-intensive. In its early days, Bitcoin could be extracted by anyone at home using a simple device. However, now we have entire data centers and specialized hardware dedicated to the job. When BTC mining complexity reached a new peak in May, miners were using at least 13 years of typical household electricity to extract one coin. 

Economist Alex de Vries highlights that electronic waste generated by the industry is also compounding environmental concerns. At the beginning of this year, Bitcoin alone was leading to more e-waste than most midsized countries. 

“Bitcoin miners are completely ignoring this issue because they don’t have a solution. These machines are just dumped,” de Vries told the NYT.

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