Bitcoin mining giant BitFury is stamping its zero-carbon footprint intentions on the Bitcoin network with the design completion and tape-out of its 16nm transaction processing ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit).
Green Bitcoin mining is the future. At the Block Chain Summit on Necker Island in May of this year, BitFury disclosed its development of a potentially highly disruptive approach to wind-power generation.
Big mining operations tend to host their operations in places where electricity is cheap and renewable, and the cooling of miners comes with the climate – places such as Iceland and more northerly regions of Europe and the US. Solar power is reputed to be taking off in China as the country attempts to clean up its act, environmentally speaking.
Chip design is the other factor governing energy efficiency. BitFury has said it is executing its new chip with expectations to operate as low as 0.06 joules per gigahash (unit of energy per unit of computer).
The company said it is embracing the increased computing power required for the upcoming Exahash Era – the time when the Bitcoin network computing power exceeds 1,000 petahashes (quintillion hash operations) per second, as each 16nm chip will deliver up to four times the amount of compute power at a given energy level of BitFury's currently deployed 28nm ASIC. BitFury uses renewable energy sources to power its data centres. It also acquired Hong Kong company Allied Control, which provides immersion-cooling technology.
BitFury said these initiatives will be employed at its data centre in Tbilisi, Georgia, which supports expansion of up to 100 megawatts, and will later be deployed in other BitFury data centres, likely to be located in North America. Valery Vavilov, BitFury's chief executive officer, said, "All told, BitFury is leading the development of environmentally responsible infrastructure for the next chapter of the internet based on the Bitcoin protocol and Blockchain technology."
Other big mining players using cheap renewable electricity include the likes of Sweden's KnCMiner, which also uses a 16nm chip. Nanok Bie, marketing director at KnCMiner, said, "The only power we subscribe to is hydroelectric. We have a dam just like 200m from the actual facilities. Due to the fact that it's so close we don't lose a lot of energy in the transmission. Our 16nm is not only a smaller node, it's also a three-dimensional node. That also adds to the efficiency a lot."
Another well-known green operation is cloud-mining contracts-provider Genesis Mining, which has produced a number of videos and even a live stream to show the inner workings of its operation, which is based mainly in Iceland with some activity in Canada.
Genesis co-founder Marco Streng said, "For some companies the moral and ethical component of green energy does not play that much of a high role. We are 100% green.
"We use geothermal and hydro. There is a lot of volcanoes under the ground in Iceland and you have hot water and steam pressing out of the ground which is used to drive turbines. This is really the power of nature."