After a meteoric rise in the past few years, many people have heard of Bitcoin, but not all are aware that it is also a system of digital money founded in 2009. It is one of the most popular of all virtual currencies and has a market capitalization of $16.2 billion. This digital coin can be used to buy goods and services and is accessible through many exchanges.
Bitcoin mining is a tough industry, and Bitcoin mining companies are no different. They’re competing for space in the cleanest energy sources available, and the competition is fierce.
Bitcoin is the most widely known cryptocurrency and was the first-ever to use the proof-of-work consensus algorithm. This led to the creation of many other cryptocurrencies, each with varying features, like Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and Bitcoin Diamond. However, one thing all of them have in common is the use of a distributed consensus system. This is to ensure that no entity can gain control over the network. For Bitcoin, the solution is to use the sun to generate electricity for the machines that run the network.
“Bitcoin mining” is the process of verifying Bitcoin transactions. The primary purpose of Bitcoin is to be a medium of exchange, but the protocol also supports any “Bitcoin” transaction. The process of Bitcoin mining requires a lot of processing power and energy. However, does Bitcoin mining require solar power?
Bitcoins were created to be a digital currency that a single company or government does not control. They are supposed to be independent and safe from inflation, yet a recent study from the University of Cambridge shows that solar panels may be used to mine bitcoins. The idea is to get rid of the electricity needed to mine Bitcoins and use solar energy to do it instead. If this is done, experts believe that the total energy used for bitcoin mining will be cut by over 80%, which could result in a dramatic drop in the number of Bitcoins mined.
The Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index is a metric that attempts to estimate the amount of energy used to mine bitcoin. The index draws from the total number of bitcoin miners, the amount of electricity used to power the computers, and the average number of hours the miners run per day. In 2015, the index estimated that the total electricity used to mine Bitcoin added up to about 825.8 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity.
Last year, a lot of the Bitcoin mining ecosystem shifted from CPUs to GPUs, as the latter was about 10x better at the hash rate for Bitcoin mining. In May, ASICs were introduced to the market, which greatly increased the hash rate of GPUs. Then in July, FPGAs were introduced. While FPGAs are still new to the market, they also offer performance that is 10-20x better than CPUs. Now, most of the Bitcoin mining chips are FPGAs since they are so much faster.
The environment is a big topic in the Bitcoin community. Most agree that it’s a good thing that, as of November 2016, the global network of solar PV installations has hit 50 GW. This is expected to rise to 150 GW by 2020 and a whopping 760 GW by 2035, which would account for another 25% of the world’s electricity supply.
Solar power is becoming more and more viable for Bitcoin mining. In the past year, Bitcoin has been struggling to compete with other digital currencies, paying as much as $3 per coin at one point. However, the price of Bitcoin has been steadily dropping, and it is now worth less than half of what it was at the peak of its value as of January 2017. This has led some people to claim that Bitcoin mining is now feasible with the sun’s rays. It is for this reason that many bitcoin miners install solar panels in their houses, perhaps with the help of companies such as EMT Solar & Roofing (https://emtsolar.com/solar-removal-re-installation/). This could help them generate enough power to mine bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies with their powerful computer machines.
Solar energy has been touted as a green way to produce energy for the past several decades, but a lack of well-developed infrastructure has held back the technology. But that is now changing, with the rise of solar power being put to use in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where many people lack adequate access to electricity. These parts of the world remain great subjects for solar power research and development as well, especially when governments are involved.