Iceland’s Bitcoin mining industry may be cooling off if recent statistic regarding the uptake of blockchain-related products is any indicator, but the centers themselves may create a whole new impetus for new technology.
Iceland has become an iconic name in the industry due principally to the number of companies seeking both cool weather and a cheap power supply – two important factors in Bitcoin mining.
Cryptocurrency miners from warmer climes are reportedly looking to move their operations to Norway and Sweden, with hydroelectricity and other renewables from more developed European countries allowing for cheaper electricity tariffs beneficial to profits as electricity is the main overhead. Iceland has been a popular location due to the low temperatures which naturally dissipate the heat that is generated.
Until now, Iceland has been seen by many as the most profitable location for Bitcoin mining activities in the world but if recent reports are accurate, this might be changing, with blockchain ventures on the increase on the country. Halldor Jorgensson, chairman of Borealis Data Centre located outside the Keflavik International Airport claims that center was seeing huge volumes at the end of last year. He recently commented:
“So you could say that the Bitcoin wave, the big wave of Bitcoin demand, has helped us to build out really fast, because there were really aggressively interested investors who wanted to do things and we managed to do the build-out.”
Jorgensson maintains that, although the huge requirement for Bitcoin pushed the mining industry forward and that it is quite possible a new wave is around the corner, there has been a discernable shift of focus:
“The demand is… shifting more towards the pure blockchain business… We strongly believe that when the whole Bitcoin thing has settled down to some kind of a level that is not as crazy as it was a year ago.”
The data center chief asserts that Iceland is well placed for a further surge in Bitcoin mining due to the infrastructure put in place to cater for the huge impetus created by Bitcoin’s rising fortunes at the end of 2017. However, there are those in the country who feel that Iceland’s economic reliance on Bitcoin carries with it some element of risk.
Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson, business development manager at HS Orka power plant which provides power to crypto mining farms, sees the data centers having a bright future for use in the AI industry in years to come, suggesting that such centers could become the nucleus of future technology. Asgeir Margeirsson, the power plant’s CEO, agrees, arguing:
“The fourth revolution is starting. It would be terrible for us in Iceland not to follow that development. If we were not to take part in the next development into the future, we would slide back.”
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