In February 2018, former Icelandic presidential candidate Andri Snær used Magnason Twitter to criticise the immense energy consumption of Bitcoin miners. At the time Vice reported that the country was threatened by an energy shortage because of the miners. Magnason’s comments reflected the feelings of some Icelanders.
Crypt mining is as good for the planet as kryptonite is for Superman. Evil villains have found the stupidest way to waste energy.
Bitcoin profit is an energy-intensive process with amazing effects in Iceland
It is estimated that Bitcoin profit consumes more energy than all the households in the country put together. Smári McCarthy, a member of the Icelandic Pirate Party, said: If we consume a lot of energy for an industrial sector, Iceland should benefit in some way. Traditionally these are wages for workers, taxes and other investments. Mining requires almost no staff, very little investment and usually leaves no taxes behind. The value ratio for Iceland is almost zero. The closer to zero, the higher the Bitcoin profit of crypto currencies.
Despite the hostility and open scepticism of some Icelandic industrialists, an abundance of crypto miners have settled in their country, which is full of green energy and naturally cool temperatures. In February, Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson, a spokesman for the energy producer HS Orka, told the Washington Post:
„But six months ago interest suddenly began to rise. And in the last three months we have received about one call a day from foreign companies interested in starting projects here.“
Iceland is familiar with the Bitcoin revolution
The calls correspond to the strong increase in value and popularity of the Bitcoin revolution. It thus resembles another market trend – the real estate bubble of the early 2000s. Iceland was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis, which resulted from a speculative real estate bubble, which led to it almost going bankrupt when the bubble burst. According to The Wall Street Journal, Iceland was the „first victim of the Bitcoin revolution financial crisis“. The nation remained solvent only because of a bond sale in the international currency markets.
This time they have a plan
Crypto miners do not have the same impact on the country as the housing industry, but jIsland is ready to thrive in the midst of change. Kristinn Thorisson, director of the Icelandic Institute for Intelligent Machines, believes that the huge data centers of the crypto miners are already positioned to serve other popular technology trends. She recently told Bloomberg that data centres are „central to the industrial revolution that is underway“.
Thorisson, for example, identified self-propelled car initiatives and automatic translators as two emerging technology fields that will utilize Iceland’s computing power and a large amount of renewable energy. According to Thorisson, these two industries require „much more data and computing power than what is available“. Therefore, Iceland appears to be forward-looking and ready to use its technology for other thriving areas.
The country estimates that its data facilities will be useful for the next 50 years. Although it is impossible to know the longevity of a particular technology, it is clear that Iceland has a plan for the future. This news is welcomed by many as no one wants to be left behind in the changing crypto landscape.