The topic of cryptocurrency mining has been highlighted from many different angles over the past few months. Especially when it comes to the concept of mining Bitcoin, there are some interesting challenges ahead. According to the UK’s National Grid, Bitcoin mining is not a big risk to Britain’s electricity infrastructure.
UK’s Power Grid and Cryptocurrency Mining
In most countries around the world, people engaging in mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are perceived as a big threat. More specifically, the energy consumed in the process of mining cryptocurrencies should not be underestimated. Various reports have been issued suggesting that Bitcoin mining is bad for the planet and will soon consume more energy than most US households combined. All of those statements are mainly based on speculation and interpretation of data which may or may not be entirely accurate.
According to the UK’s National Grid, cryptocurrency mining is not much of a problem in the United Kingdom as of right now. While there certainly are a lot of Bitcoin and altcoin miners across the UK, they pose “little to no threat” to the country’s supply chain. It’s a rather surprising statement that indicates most of the speculation regarding cryptocurrency mining may be getting blown out of proportion.
The National Grid also raised another interesting point – namely, that Britain’s electricity network is not the most “accommodating” when it comes to mining Bitcoin or altcoins. This is mainly due to rising electricity prices. While it is still possible to make a profit from this type of activity, it is only normal that companies are setting up shop in Iceland and other countries. That trend will not be going away anytime soon, by the look of things.
This news comes at a rather interesting time. Not too long ago, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney noted that the costs of mining Bitcoin are enormous. So far, it seems the experts in his own country are rejecting that statement, as it is seemingly completely incorrect. While energy usage is indeed increasing, it is not a problem for the nation’s infrastructure as of right now. The National Grid clarified its statement as follows:
Any GB cryptocurrency demand would likely appear as a small component within the data centre element of our Industrial and Commercial electricity demand modelling (data centres themselves perhaps accounting for only around maybe 1% of total GB demand although data is limited). Whilst cryptocurrency mining is clearly growing at a fast rate globally, the miners are likely to be most attracted to countries with the very lowest electricity prices and so future growth in GB is not currently expected to be significant.
Whether or not this means we will see positive developments in the UK’s mining industry remains to be seen. It seems unlikely the government will reduce electricity costs just to accommodate this innovative and appealing business model. At the same time, it goes to show the energy consumption of Bitcoin and altcoin mining may not pose as much trouble as others might want us to believe. Studies like these can be invaluable in this regard.
This article was first published by JP Buntinx at The Merkle