Thursday, 22 February, 2018

Iceland May Introduce Bitcoin Mining Tax to Counter Soaring Energy Consumption

Bitcoin Mining Tax Brennan Linsley
Sammy Stanley | 15 February, 2018, 13:47

Beyond its obsession with finance - Iceland was a center of the global derivatives meltdown in 2008, a catastrophe which saw some local bankers jailed - the tiny country of 340,000 people is drawing cryptocurrency companies because of its cheap energy.

Increasing general interest in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin is having a myriad of effects around the globe, but one major aspect is a sudden increase in energy consumption.

"The value to Iceland.is virtually zero".

Thanks to a rich natural resource of geothermal and wind energy, Iceland is far less costly than other countries for the massive power needs of mining companies.

The energy demand has developed because of the soaring cost of producing and collecting virtual currencies.

It has previously been reported that the electricity demand of the world's total combined Bitcoin mining operations may now exceed the energy use of the Republic of Ireland, though this calculation may not be entirely accurate.

Large virtual currency mining companies have established a base on the island, which has an abundance of geothermal and hydroelectric power plants. Mining data centers don't need to hire a big staff and don't require especially large infrastructure investments.

'These companies are not doing that and we might want to ask ourselves whether they should'.

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"Sigurbergsson told the AP that he "could not have predicted this trend" four months ago...but then Bitcoin skyrocketed".

One power industry representative told AP, "Just today, I came from a meeting with a mining company seeking to buy 18 megawatts". Alternatives to the current energy-consumption-heavy method of mining have been proposed, like using a Proof-of Stake system instead of Proof-of Work, or using renewable energy to power mining computers.

"How much energy is needed for credit card transactions and internet research?"

In the capital, Reykjavik, some are more skeptical about bitcoin.

The political turmoil following the crash swept the upstart Pirate Party into Iceland's parliament, where it now holds 10 percent of seats.

Iceland, whose electricity is nearly entirely produced from renewable sources (hydro and geothermal), might tax the profits of the cryptocurrency miners in the country, as per a comment of Smari McCarthy, an MP from the Pirate Party, quoted by AP.

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"We are spending tens or maybe hundreds of megawatts on producing something that has no tangible existence and no real use for humans outside the realm of financial speculation". "That can't be good".

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