Crypto mining and the data centre industry

Bitcoin mining company GDA's data centre in South Carolina. Credit: GDA
Cryptocurrency has boomed in popularity since its inception. But does high energy consumption mean facilities can’t be innovative and efficient?

Successful cryptocurrency - or crypto, digital currencies - mining is dependent on good computing power and requires extensive amounts of energy. In April 2021, the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance said that global power demand by Bitcoin alone was 143 terawatt-hours (TWh) a year.

Some concerns have been sparked around the nature of crypto mining, with some nations making the practice illegal due to threats to more traditional forms of currency. Along with that are fears of over-burdening the grid. But some crypto facilities have deployed innovative approaches and technologies to mitigate this risk and readily optimise them for high efficiency.

Crypto and power consumption

Because of the large amounts of power needed for mining operations, data centres and their operators have to carefully consider the allocation of power and consider alternative sources. Data centres with bitcoin mining clients typically boast facilities in the range of 1 megawatt to 5 megawatt to keep up with the demands of the practice, and are in operation constantly.

Cooling solutions for data centres facilitating crypto mining

And with mass energy consumption comes a need for efficient cooling equipped to handle the demands of this practice and heat expelled as a result. Immersion cooling, an example of liquid cooling, is an energy and cost-effective way of countering this problem. And on the basis of cost - with the demands ramping up the demands of data centres making crypto mining an expensive feat in itself, the efficiency of the solution not only protects the facility but is a more economical way of cooling during the process.

With this comes environmental concerns, too. Elon Musk announced that Tesla suspended vehicle purchases using bitcoin “due to the environmental impact of the fossil fuels used in the process of mining the currency” two years ago and that has remained in place since due to environmental concerns. 

But can the impacts of crypto mining on data centres be less detrimental to the environment? 

Bitcoin miner GDA opens three data centres in South Carolina

“The opening of these new data centres is perfectly in line with our commitment to expand our fleet on clean energy resources. Our goal is to be industry leaders and show the world that Bitcoin mining can be very ESG-friendly,” Andrey Kim, CEO of Genesis Digital Assets (GDA) said.

GDA, one of the world’s largest bitcoin mining companies, has built over 20 industrial-scale mining farms across North America, Europe, and Central Asia in the last decade, bringing more than 300,000 miners online. 

The firm has announced the opening of three new data centre facilities in South Carolina, choosing the location due to its natural abundant and clean energy sources. One facility, the Pacolet data centre, is just 3 miles from two hydroelectric generation plants.

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