Bitcoin energy hogs in the post-middleman era

There’s been a lot of news involving Bitcoin recently, the cryptocurrency that’s skyrocketing in value. But what really got me thinking about Bitcoin was hearing that the world’s first waste-to-energy crypto-mine had opened. Entrepreneurs built their very own plant to power the mega-computers needed to create money out of thin air (or in this case, burning tires). The value of each bitcoin is now so high, and the market for them so volatile, these new age miners have the drive to be selective and creative with their energy procurement. And what they are choosing is unconventional, cheap, on site and independent from the grid.

What I find most interesting is that this kind of innovation is happening way faster than anyone anticipated.

Entrepreneurs appear to have no patience to wait for what they perceive as “middlemen”—namely, electric utilities. There also may be a mindset where innovative thinkers have a bias towards innovative energy. If they’re smart enough to build a Bitcoin mining operation, they’re smart enough to figure out that old tires are a cheap power source—and they don’t have to wait around to get it.

If coal fueled the industrial revolution, what will fuel the cryptocurrency revolution? How can utilities and other power providers cater to the needs of fast-moving, power-hungry technologists (yes, that double meaning is intended)?

I’d really like your thoughts on this and hope you’ll have time to join the conversation here—or attend the Energy Executive Forum in May where we’ll talk about customer energy choice. This landscape keeps changing at blurring speed but when we put our heads together we can find a path through it, and perhaps make some bitcoin along the way.


Michele Tihami

Country Manager – North America
DNV GL Energy

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