These are the best US states for Bitcoin mining, according to an Ivy League study

These are the best US states for Bitcoin mining, according to an Ivy League study

As Bitcoin miners flock to the United States, politicians and conservationists are warning of the ecological costs of the energy-intensive industry. In September, the White House released a report citing that the United States hosts about one-third of global crypto-mining operations, consuming up to 1.7% of the country’s electricity, or the equivalent of the entire country. residential lighting.

A new study by researchers at Cornell University claims that environmental concerns can be assuaged by more efficiently distributing Bitcoin mining in states that prioritize renewable energy and have lower operating costs, potentially mitigating damage .

As power grids increase the use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, and explore carbon capture technology, Bitcoin mining may become more sustainable at an accelerating rate.

Dr. Fengqi You, a professor of energy systems engineering, led the research in hopes of driving better public policies related to mining operations.

“As more and more of these mining facilities come to the United States and as more and more citizens consider investing in these sectors,” he said, “what are the consequences for the climate and our energy systems?

Bitcoin uses a proof-of-work consensus mechanism: in order for transactions in the public ledger known as the blockchain to be recorded, different people – or miners – race to solve complex algorithms. The winner validates the block and is rewarded in Bitcoin.

The process requires immense computing power, with power consumption equivalent to the requirements of countries like Finland. It also results in massive carbon emissions, estimated at 90.76 million tonnes per year, comparable to Greece’s carbon footprint.

In recent years, operations have shifted to the United States as previous hubs such as China banned Bitcoin mining. They concentrated in Texas, with its deregulated energy network, as well as in New York. Respectively, the two states account for 14% and 19.9% ​​of Bitcoin’s computing power in the United States.

The Cornell study found that the current distribution of mining operations in the United States makes no sense from a cost or emissions perspective.

“Each state has its own electric mix,” You said. Fortune. Some states are more dependent on hydroelectricity, others on nuclear or natural gas.

When his team looked at the total costs of mining operations in different states, including capital and operating expenses, they found a strong correlation between clean energy use and reduced project costs, which, according to you, was surprising since renewable energies are often considered relatively expensive.

Going forward, he said moving mining operations to sites with better renewable capabilities will be essential, not only from an environmental perspective, but also economically.

While the map above shows the best states in the near term – with places like Washington and New York as top contenders – they also conducted an analysis of how the situation might change with increased political support for renewables. In this scenario, states including Vermont and Oregon become more supportive. Texas, he added, is neither the best nor the worst choice because of its relative carbon emissions associated with its power grid.

While the study does not endorse Bitcoin mining, it does acknowledge that it is likely to stay and that operations can be optimized to reduce carbon emissions and costs.

“Ideally, if they only use renewable energy for bitcoin mining, we could argue that they won’t have any influence on the climate,” You said. “But in practice, of course, we know that we are not yet at the stage of a 100% renewable energy network.”

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