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The Green Orange Coin: Bitcoin Mining & Clean Energy

Marty Bent, one of the co-founders of Great American Mining, once said on his Twitter that he had a dream to “find a large stranded gas well in a rural part of the country, use some gas to mine Bitcoin and the rest to power the small Citadel town”.

He mentioned that, for starters, he would build up this town around the mining operation, open a high-end restaurant, library and church, and a well-funded distributed bank. “The Citadel will be for real ones only,” Marty concluded.

According to his company’s website, it allows for gas plants to regenerate stranded, wasted or undervalued gas into electricity and then mine Bitcoin.

Towards A Green PoW

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Proof-of-Work. PoW usually marks the time processed by a computer striving to solve difficult mathematical problems. This part on the Bitcoin protocol is necessary for a new block to be accepted. It also proves that you’re not a crook mounting a 51% attack on the network.

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The only problem with PoW is that it is energy intensive, and energy intensive means a lot of costs associated with spent electricity. No wonder that under such circumstances miners always look for cheap energy to maximise their profits.

One of these cheap solutions can be waste energy or natural resources such as solar, hydro or even wind.

For example, Pow.re, a business belonging to a former Chinese trader SJ Oh, runs green Bitcoin mining operations in the Canadian subarctic by using hydropower. The leftover energy from Bitcoin mining goes to serving local agriculture, heating and other needs.

As for Great American Mining, their infrastructure works like this. On a well-pad there’s a pipe which takes the gas from the plant to the tier generator; the generator pushes the product from the generator to the power distribution unit. And then, the power distribution unit distributes the generated electricity individually to each and every mining rig.

There are also other projects aimed at turning physical things (such as electricity) into digital asset like Bitcoin. Russia’s multinational energy corporation Gazprom, focused on extracting crude oil and natural gas from the Earth and bringing it to the global market, generates power with flare gas, and this power is also used for cryptocurrency mining.

From oil, diamonds and gold, to Bitcoin mining communities

Slowly but steadily, though, around these locations, new mining communities might form. Now, what seemed like a post-apocalyptic Fallout-like location in Marty Bent’s dream might very well turn into a very real way of living: the idea that communities in remote places could turn their natural resources into Bitcoin and thereby plug their local economy into the global marketplace is one of the many opportunities that the Bitcoin networks offers.

Learn more about Bitcoin mining and energy.

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