European Crypto History Is Being Written

European Crypto History Is Being Written

There’s a growing momentum for crypto adoption in Europe, from stablecoins to digital euros. European agencies and companies are taking steps to make the digital financial landscape more accessible and regulated.

ESMA crypto guidelines

On October 20, two major European financial agencies released a paper to discuss new rules regarding how individuals interact with crypto assets. These are called the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). These rules are aimed at checking if the people running and investing in crypto-related companies are qualified for their roles. 

The guidelines offer a common way for regulators to decide if these people are suitable for giving permission to launch new crypto assets or services. This includes making sure they have the necessary knowledge, skills, and time commitment for their roles.

The new guidelines aim to make the cryptocurrency market more trustworthy and consistent. They are open for public feedback until January 22, 2024. 

Looking ahead to new rules that will be in place by June 30, 2024, the EU’s banking authority has also suggested that companies dealing with stablecoins should start following certain best practices for managing risks and protecting consumers. These initial suggestions were shared with the public on July 12 to clarify what will be expected under the upcoming crypto regulations.

Digital Euro project

In February 2023, a Finnish firm called Membrane Finance launched a stablecoin tied to the euro. The CEO, Juha Viitala, believes this regulated coin, called EUROe, will help more people in Europe to increase their money using decentralised financial apps (DeFi).

On October 18, the European Central Bank said they’re entering the “preparation phase” for their digital euro project. This stage will take two years and will be about setting the final rules and choosing who will issue the digital euro.

Transaction anonymity of digital Euro

On October 18, European privacy agencies released a statement about the digital euro, a new type of money suggested by the European Commission in July 2023. These agencies gave advice on how to better protect people’s personal information. 

For example, they said that rules around how much digital euro one person can have need to be clearer. Right now, the European Central Bank and national banks can see all of a user’s information through one access point, and the agencies think that needs to be reconsidered. They believe there are technical ways to store this data without centralising it.

They also said that the current plans for spotting fraud could be too intrusive and suggested finding less invasive methods. The agencies strongly recommend setting up a privacy limit for small, everyday transactions that don’t need to be tracked for anti-money laundering reasons.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank said it’s moving ahead with its digital euro project. After two years of studying the idea, they are now going to spend another two years finalising the rules and picking who will be in charge of issuing this digital money.

Private stablecoins vs Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) in Europe

​​Here’s a comparison between private stablecoins and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) in the European context:

Private Stablecoins like EUROe

  • Issuers. Issued by private companies, such as Membrane Finance in Finland.
  • Regulation. While they aim to be regulated, the guidelines are not always as stringent as those for traditional currencies.
  • Accessibility. Generally, it is easier to acquire and use, especially for those familiar with cryptocurrencies and decentralised finance (DeFi) platforms.
  • Purpose. Often aimed at facilitating trade and investment in the DeFi ecosystem.
  • Trust. Reliance is primarily on the issuing company and its ability to maintain a 1:1 peg with the euro.
  • Anonymity. The level of transaction privacy depends on the issuing company’s policies and technology.

Central Bank Digital Currencies like the Digital Euro

  • Issuers. Issued by a country’s central bank, in this case, the European Central Bank (ECB).
  • Regulation. Heavily regulated and backed by the government, making them a more “official” form of currency.
  • Accessibility. Likely to be more universally accessible but may require more stringent identity verification.
  • Purpose. Aimed at a wider array of applications, including retail payments, cross-border transactions, and even government disbursements.
  • Trust. Backed by the government, thereby considered more secure and stable.
  • Anonymity. Subject to government regulations, including Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) laws, meaning less potential for anonymity, especially for large transactions.
Global Fintech Insights: Digital Yuan Hub, Japan’s DCJPY, Blockchain Triumphs, and Finland’s Instant Payment Revolution

Global Fintech Insights: Digital Yuan Hub, Japan’s DCJPY, Blockchain Triumphs, and Finland’s Instant Payment Revolution

Explore the cutting-edge developments in the world of digital currencies, from China’s groundbreaking digital yuan hub to the impending launch of Japan’s DCJPY. Discover how Finland is embracing the digital euro, and witness JPMorgan’s successful cross-border payments pilot with First Abu Dhabi Bank.

China Unveils Shenzhen Hub for Digital Yuan CBDC Innovation

China has launched an industrial park in Shenzhen aimed at fostering the development of the digital yuan ecosystem. 

This groundbreaking initiative, reported on Oct. 11 in Chinese media, marks the establishment of the first-ever park dedicated to the central bank digital currency (CBDC), also known as the e-CNY.

Situated in Shenzhen’s Luohu district, adjacent to Hong Kong, the industrial park is commencing its operations with nine initial residents. 

Reports indicate that the district government has introduced ten strategic initiatives to accelerate the growth of the digital yuan ecosystem. These initiatives encompass the advancement of payment solutions, smart contracts, hard wallets, and the promotion of the digital yuan.

In an effort to incentivise new residents, the government is offering compelling benefits, including up to three years of rent-free accommodation. 

Commercial banks that choose to establish a presence in the park can receive incentives of up to 20 million yuan ($2.7 million), while startups may be eligible for support of up to 50 million yuan ($6.9 million). 

The total government support allocated for this endeavour amounts to 100 million yuan ($13.7 million). Additionally, favourable loan terms are being extended to participants.

Notably, among the inaugural residents of the park are prominent entities such as Hengbao, Wuhan Tianyu Information, and Lakala Payment. Hengbao and Tianyu are engaged in the production of payment cards, among other endeavours, while Lakala Payment operates as a payment processor and collaborates with Visa.

China has implemented numerous strategies to stimulate the adoption of the digital yuan, which is currently in the pilot phase. 

This initiative spans 26 cities participating in the pilot program, and the central bank digital currency (CBDC) is already accepted by 5.6 million merchants—a number that is expected to steadily increase, thanks to government support and technological advancements.

Notably, the digital yuan app recently introduced a feature allowing tourists to link their Visa and Mastercard accounts, further enhancing its accessibility. Despite these efforts, the adoption rate is still perceived as sluggish, with 261 million digital yuan wallets created as of 2022.

Japan to launch its digital currency in 2024

In a significant development, the DCJPY, a digital currency backed by the Japanese yen, is set to launch in July 2024. This ambitious project is spearheaded by DeCurret Holdings, a digital currency and electronic payments firm, as detailed in their white paper released on October 12.

The DCJPY Network, outlined in the white paper, will comprise two key zones: the Financial Zone and the Business Zone. 

The former will facilitate banks in minting digital currency deposits on the blockchain, while the latter will be dedicated to conducting transactions. 

Additionally, the Business Zone will serve as a platform for the issuance of nonfungible tokens, security tokens, and governance tokens.

Aozora Bank, a commercial institution with 19 branches in Japan, is poised to become the principal issuer of DCJPY. 

The digital currency will be fully backed by Japanese yen deposits. 

In 2021, DeCurret reported the formation of a consortium consisting of 70 Japanese companies that will participate in the DCJPY Network. While the white paper doesn’t disclose specific participant names, DeCurret boasts the support of 35 shareholding companies, including prominent names such as Japan Post Bank, Mitsubishi, and Dentsu Group.

In related news, the Bank of Japan, in May 2023, disclosed the results of the second phase of its central bank digital currency experiment and is on track to make a final decision on issuing a “digital yen” by 2026. 

Simultaneously, Binance and Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation are actively exploring the issuance of Japanese yen and other foreign currency-denominated stablecoins within the country.

First Abu Dhabi Bank Successfully Concludes Cross-Border Payments Testing on JPMorgan Onyx

In a significant milestone, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) has wrapped up its cross-border payments testing on JPMorgan’s Onyx platform. This achievement follows a similar pilot conducted by Bank ABC in Bahrain. 

JPMorgan, known for its cutting-edge blockchain solutions, has also introduced its Tokenization Collateral Network on the Onyx platform.

The blockchain-based cross-border payments pilot project between JPMorgan’s Onyx Coin Systems and FAB was executed seamlessly, with response times meeting expectations, according to an official statement.

Notably, the FAB pilot concluded shortly after a successful test in Bahrain, where Bank ABC trialed the Onyx system and subsequently initiated a limited launch of services. 

JPMorgan’s permissioned distributed ledger, launched in 2020, has been gaining substantial traction in recent months. Tyrone Lobban, the Head of JPMorgan Onyx Digital Assets and Blockchain, disclosed that the platform currently processes a daily volume ranging from $1 billion to $2 billion.

Moreover, Onyx has expanded its reach beyond the Middle East, serving as a platform for euro-denominated payments in Europe since June. 

During the same period, it also facilitated interbank United States dollar settlements in India through collaboration with a consortium of six banks.

On October 11, JPMorgan’s groundbreaking Tokenization Collateral Network, operating on the Onyx blockchain, recorded its first public trade.

In this instance, money market fund shares were tokenised and securely deposited at Barclays Bank to support a derivatives exchange between JPMorgan and BlackRock.

The finance industry has witnessed increased interest in tokenisation, with Mastercard testing its Multi Token Network in June and Citigroup introducing Citi Token Services in September.

This collaborative effort, concluded in June, was initiated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Bank for International Settlements. It focused on creating a liquidity pool of tokenised bonds and deposits for lending and borrowing purposes.

Finland Forges Ahead with Instant Payments and Digital Euro Initiatives

The Bank of Finland (BOF) is taking active steps to foster innovative payment solutions. 

BOF, under the guidance of Tuomas Välimäki, a BOF board member and a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB), has announced its role in coordinating the development of a Finnish instant payment system aligned with European standards

Välimäki emphasized the significance of the digital euro, referring to it as the most prominent project within the European payment sector. He highlighted the potential of a digital euro, stating, “The possible introduction of a digital euro would give consumers the option of paying with central bank money wherever electronic payment is accepted.”

The Bank of Finland, in collaboration with the European Payments Council, is actively engaged in crafting this Finnish instant payment solution. 

It’s worth noting that this solution will be based on credit transfers, eliminating the reliance on traditional payment card infrastructure.

In February 2023, a Finnish company named Membrane Finance took a significant step by launching a fully reserved stablecoin backed by the euro, known as EUROe. 

Membrane Finance CEO Juha Viitala expressed optimism about EUROe’s potential to encourage more Europeans to explore decentralised finance (DeFi) applications and enhance their financial well-being.

On October 18, the governing council of the European Central Bank (ECB) initiated the “preparation phase” for the digital euro project, a two-year period aimed at finalising regulations for the digital currency and selecting potential issuers. 

Finland’s proactive stance in embracing instant payments and exploring the digital euro reflects the country’s commitment to staying at the forefront of modern payment solutions.

Ethereum’s Centralization Dilemma: A Double-Edged Sword of Staking and Node Operations

Ethereum’s Centralization Dilemma: A Double-Edged Sword of Staking and Node Operations

While Ethereum staking is on the rise, it brings with it the challenge of increased centralization. Even Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin acknowledges this as a core issue, suggesting that a comprehensive solution may be decades away.

The growth in Ethereum staking has surged since the Merge update. 

But this has led to two issues: the network becoming more centralized and people earning less from staking. 

The team at JPMorgan, headed by top executive Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, cautioned investors about these rising concerns related to Ethereum’s increasing centralization.

The leading five easy-staying services—Lido, Coinbase, Figment, Binance, and Kraken—hold more than half of all staked Ethereum.

According to Dune Analytics, over 31% of all ETH staked belong to the Lido pool. 

While people in the crypto world have viewed Lido as a better option than centralized services like Coinbase or Binance, the reality is different. 

Ethereum's Centralization Dilemma
Source: Dune analytics 

Even decentralized platforms like Lido still have a lot of control concentrated in a few hands. For example, one Lido node operator alone manages over 7,000 sets of validators, holding 230,000 Ether.

This concentration of power occurs because Lido’s decision-making is controlled by a small number of wallet addresses in their decentralized organization, known as a DAO. 

While there was a general market proposal to limit each staking service to no more than 22%, Lido’s DAO voted against it in June 2023. In general, a DAO is a self-governing platform, but in this case, its decision to not limit its Ether staking is making the entire Ethereum ecosystem more centralized and, thus, more vulnerable. 

Having too much control in one place poses a risk to the Ethereum network. A small group of major stakeholders or node operators could become a weak point in the system, or even collaborate to gain unfair advantages.

In addition to concerns about centralization, the Ethereum network has also seen staking yields go down since the big updates like the Merge and Shanghai.

The average block rewards have dropped from 4.3% to 3.5%, and overall staking yields have gone from 7.3% to around 5.5%.

It’s not just JPMorgan ringing the alarm bells about Ethereum’s growing centralization after the Merge, which was launched on September 15, 2022. This update is viewed as a stumbling block to Ethereum’s goal of being fully decentralized, and it has also led to reduced earnings from staking.

Even Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, acknowledges the issue. In September 2023, he admitted that tackling the problem of node centralization in Ethereum is a big challenge, and finding an ideal solution could take up to two more decades.

Simplify node operations on Ethereum

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin says that making it simpler and less expensive to operate nodes is crucial for addressing the Ethereum network’s centralization issue. 

Right now, most of the nearly 6,000 active Ethereum nodes are hosted by centralized services. The top service used it Amazon Web Services, posing a vulnerability for the network.

While speaking at Korea Blockchain Week, Buterin identified six critical challenges to overcome to ensure Ethereum stays decentralized over time. 

One major aspect is making it technically easier for people to operate nodes. “Statelessness is a key technology to make this possible,” he added.

As of now, running a node requires hundreds of gigabytes of data storage. 

With stateless clients, however, you could operate a node without needing almost any storage space at all. This statelessness means eliminating the need for centralized services to verify network activities. 

According to the Ethereum Foundation, true decentralization can only happen when running an Ethereum node becomes accessible and affordable.

Buterin emphasized that statelessness is a significant part of Ethereum’s future plans. Major progress towards this goal is expected in upcoming phases called “The Verge” and “The Purge.”

He mentioned that the long-term vision is to have fully verified Ethereum nodes that are so streamlined you could literally run one on your phone.

Latin America Embraces Blockchain for Digital IDs

Latin America Embraces Blockchain for Digital IDs

Buenos Aires plans to issue blockchain-based identity documents, including birth and marriage certificates, while Brazil aims to make its new blockchain-powered national ID program available across the country. Both initiatives signify a major leap in government services and personal data security.

More than 214 million people in Brazil are about to start using blockchain technology for their digital IDs, according to a recent announcement by the government. The states of Rio de Janeiro, Goiás, and Paraná will be the first to start rolling out these blockchain-based identification documents. 

They’re using a special, secure system created by Serpro, Brazil’s national data service. The plan is to have this technology available across the entire country by November 6, 2023.

Alexandre Amorim, the head of Serpro, explained that blockchain was chosen for this project because it’s a secure and decentralised way to manage digital IDs.

Blockchain technology is key in making personal data more secure and in reducing fraud, creating a safer digital environment for people in Brazil. 

The use of the b-Cadastros blockchain platform improves the safety and trustworthiness of the National Identity Card project. 

According to the government, this project is important for tackling organised crime and encouraging different parts of the government to collaborate. It also makes it easier for people to get government services and helps simplify record-keeping.

In recent years, Brazil has been trying to standardise the way IDs are issued across its nearly 30 states. This new technology will help safely share data between the Federal Revenue Agency and other government departments, as stated in the announcement.

Another big change happening in the country is the introduction of a new digital currency by the central bank. 

The government recently shared more details about this project in August and has renamed the digital currency to “Drex.” 

Past reports suggest that the central bank aims to make it easier for businesses to get funding through a special system linked to Drex. A local developer found that the code for Drex allows a central body to either freeze money or lower account balances.

Notably, Buenos Aires in Argentina has announced a similar plan that lets people get their identity documents through a digital wallet.

Blockchain-based in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital, is also taking a big step to include blockchain technology in its administrative processes. 

Starting in October, people living in the city will be able to get their identification documents through a digital wallet, as revealed in a September 28 announcement

Initially, you’ll be able to get documents like birth and marriage certificates, proof of income, and school records on this blockchain system. The plan also includes adding health records and payment information down the line. 

The city aims to have a detailed plan for expanding this blockchain service throughout the country by the end of 2023.

The technology backbone of this project comes from QuarkID, which is a digital identity system created by the Web3 company Extrimian. 

QuarkID wallets use zkSync Era, a special feature built on the Ethereum network that helps it run more efficiently. This feature uses something called zero-knowledge rollups, which lets one person show another that something is true without having to share any detailed information about what that ‘something’ is.

“This marks a huge leap forward in making government services in Latin America safer and more efficient,” said Guillermo Villanueva, the CEO of Extrimian.

The information in these digital wallets will be controlled by the individual, meaning people can decide how and when to share their credentials, whether it’s with the government, businesses, or other people. zkSync Era will serve as the foundation for QuarkID, making sure everyone’s credentials are accurate and secure.

Diego Fernandez, who leads innovation for Buenos Aires, added, “This makes Buenos Aires the first city in Latin America, and among the first globally, to adopt and champion this new technology. We’re setting an example for how other countries in the region can use blockchain technology for the good of their citizens.”

Officials in Argentina are looking into another digital ID project called Worldcoin. In August, they revealed that they’re examining potential privacy issues tied to how Worldcoin gathers, stores, and uses people’s information. The project is also facing questions in Europe and Africa since it went global in July. Created by Sam Altman, who is also a co-founder of OpenAI, Worldcoin uses eye scans to confirm the identity of its users.

Coinbase Launches Perpetual Futures To Expand Global Reach

Coinbase Launches Perpetual Futures To Expand Global Reach

After attempting to acquire FTX Europe to boost its international derivatives business, Coinbase pivoted to offer perpetual futures to qualified customers in and outside the U.S.

Coinbase, a major platform for trading cryptocurrencies, twice considered buying FTX Europe after it went bankrupt in November 2022. Their aim was to expand their services related to financial derivatives abroad. 

Despite these efforts, they’ve decided to back out of the acquisition. Coinbase looked into this deal two times: once right after FTX Europe’s financial troubles in November 2022, and again in September 2023. 

A Coinbase representative verified this, stating they’re continually exploring ways to grow their business globally. 

Other companies like and Trek Labs are also reportedly interested in FTX Europe. FTX initially spent close to $400 million to set up its European division.

FTX Europe was unique in that it was based in Cyprus and was the only company to offer certain trendy financial products like perpetual futures. 

A perpetual future is a type of derivative financial instrument often used in cryptocurrency markets. Unlike regular futures that have an expiration date, perpetual futures go on indefinitely until you decide to close the position. They’re designed to mimic the price of an underlying asset, like Bitcoin, without actually requiring you to own it. Traders use perpetual futures for various reasons, such as hedging against price changes or trying to profit from market movements. Traders can benefit from perpetual futures whenever the markets move, regardless of the direction, up or down.

If Coinbase had gone through with buying FTX Europe, they could have made more money from fees, especially since this type of trading is becoming more popular, even when the overall crypto market isn’t doing so well. 

In fact, Coinbase made $707 million in the second quarter of 2023, though their earnings from regular trades dropped by 13% from the last quarter.

Meanwhile, globally, the trading of these financial contracts on centralised platforms went up by almost 14% in June to a staggering $2.13 trillion. 

Binance led the way in this kind of trading, followed by OKX. Even Bitcoin futures trading saw a boost, especially on the CME exchange.

Coinbase now offers perpetual futures

As for Coinbase, they’ve already dipped their toes into this market in the U.S. and now just got the green light from authorities to offer this type of perpetual futures to non-U.S. qualified customers.

In the U.S., the green light from authorities allows Coinbase to offer Bitcoin and Ether futures contracts via its derivatives platform called FairX, which is overseen by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. According to what Coinbase said when they announced this, these types of contracts make up nearly three-quarters of all crypto trading globally, making it a key entry point for traders.

Coinbase has announced its next steps in its “Go Broad, Go Deep” strategy, aiming to work closely with global regulators to shape a crypto-friendly framework. 

They’ve expanded access to perpetual futures contracts to qualified customers outside the U.S., reinforcing their mission to update the global financial system.

This move comes at a time when other crypto exchanges face increasing regulatory challenges. Perpetual futures are highly sought-after, making up about 75% of global crypto trading. Coinbase sets itself apart by offering these contracts within strict compliance rules. They’ve already seen over $5.5 billion in trading volume from institutions as of the second quarter. Their exchange follows regulations set by the BMA and offers multiple layers of user protection.

What makes Coinbase unique is its emphasis on security and compliance. They guarantee a 1:1 hold on customer assets, and their financials are publicly audited. They’re also backed by a well-funded Insurance and Liquidity Support Program using the stablecoin USDC, rather than risky exchange tokens. Additionally, they have an experienced risk management team and don’t engage in market-making themselves.

Crypto Miners Turn to Renewable Energy 

Crypto Miners Turn to Renewable Energy 

As environmental concerns and costs mount, the future of crypto mining is looking increasingly green. Industry leaders are exploring alternative energy solutions for more sustainable and cost-effective operations.

In 2021, when cryptocurrency prices were soaring, big mining companies borrowed a lot of money to buy the gear and set up the systems they needed to mine crypto. But then major crypto platforms like FTX and Celsius went under, leaving many of these companies broke and struggling.

With crypto prices down and competition in Bitcoin mining fiercer than ever, people are questioning whether these mining operations can bounce back from their losses. One thing’s for sure, these companies are now looking at using greener energy options to save money, make some profit, and also be a bit kinder to the planet.

How do you keep crypto mining prices low?

According to Swan Bitcoin, a company focused on Bitcoin financial services, it generally costs around $26,000 to mine one Bitcoin

However, companies that use renewable energy are finding it much cheaper, with costs ranging between $5,000 and $15,000 per Bitcoin.

A spokesperson from Riot Blockchain, a U.S.-based Bitcoin mining company, explained that thanks to wind and solar energy in Texas, their costs are among the lowest in the crypto mining business. To be exact, it costs Riot $8,389 to mine a single Bitcoin.

Kent Halliburton from Sazmining, a company that hosts Bitcoin mining operations, pointed out that the biggest cost in mining is electricity. He said that miners naturally want to find the cheapest power available, and renewable energy often fits the bill because it sometimes produces excess electricity. He also mentioned that data from the Bitcoin Mining Council indicates that the Bitcoin network is becoming increasingly sustainable, with 59% of mining now carbon-free and growing each year.

Phil Harvey, the CEO of Sabre56, a company providing infrastructure for crypto mining, said that they’re helping several mining companies set up operations at their facilities in Wyoming and Ohio. This move towards renewable energy appears to be a growing trend among miners who are thinking about their long-term success.

Crypto miners have ingenious designs to keep running costs low

Phil Harvey from Sabre56 said their mining center in Gillette, Wyoming, known as “Bonepile,” has around 2,200 mining machines running on a mix of energy sources. Nearly 29% of this energy is renewable, coming from wind, recovered energy, and hydropower. The machines they use are a mix of MicroBT Whatsminer M50s and Bitmain Antminer S19s. The Bonepile site uses a special design to keep the machines cool: they force air into the facility, which helps prevent the machines from overheating and allows for hot air to naturally exit.

This design is different from the usual methods used in the mining industry, where typically additional systems are used to suck hot air out, but there’s no special system to bring fresh air in.

On the other hand, OceanBit is taking a unique approach to renewable energy for mining. Michael Bennett, the co-founder, explained that they are incorporating Bitcoin mining into their ocean thermal energy power plants. This allows them to adjust to fluctuating energy demands, deliver power more quickly to offshore projects, and also make extra money from unused energy.

Ocean thermal energy, according to Bennett, is a massive and largely untapped renewable energy source. It uses the temperature difference in ocean water to generate electricity, similar to how hydro and geothermal energy work. Bennett thinks that Bitcoin could be the key to making this type of energy more widely used because it helps solve some of the commercial challenges associated with ocean thermal energy.

Diagram of OceanBit’s thermodynamic cycle. Source: OceanBit

Nathaniel Harmon, who co-founded OceanBit with Michael Bennett, explained how their system is a win-win. The ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) process produces cold water as a byproduct, which is perfect for cooling the specialized computers used in Bitcoin mining, known as ASICs. On the flip side, these ASICs produce low-level heat, which can be recycled back into the OTEC process. This creates a cycle that makes both operations more efficient and cost-effective.

Bennett also mentioned that OceanBit is aiming to reveal its research and development power plant in Hawaii by 2024.

Alternative energy sources

Stronghold Digital Mining, a crypto mining company in Pennsylvania, is taking a different approach by using waste coal to power its mining activities

This waste of coal, which is left over from the coal mining process and mixed with various impurities, has been a pollution issue in Pennsylvania for years. Greg Beard, the CEO of Stronghold, said they’re working with local environmental agencies to clean up these waste coal piles and use them for energy.

Beard pointed out that the waste coal has been a major source of water pollution and has also caught fire spontaneously over the years, releasing toxic fumes. By converting this waste into energy, Stronghold either powers its own Bitcoin mining or feeds electricity back into the local grid. Beard argues that this makes their operation more efficient than other miners who are just looking for cheap power.

However, this method isn’t without its critics. Using waste coal still means burning hydrocarbons, and some groups claim that these kinds of plants actually pollute more than new coal plants. Stronghold also faced backlash when it planned to burn tire-derived fuel at one of its plants. Russell Zerbo, an activist with the Clean Air Council, said that the plant should be reclassified as a solid waste incinerator, which would subject it to stricter air pollution monitoring. So, while Stronghold’s method does help clean up waste coal, it also raises environmental questions.

The challenges of using renewable energy 

While it’s good news that crypto mining companies are moving towards alternative energy, there are hurdles that could slow down this transition

Kent Halliburton mentioned that people often misunderstand the benefits that Bitcoin mining can bring to local communities, like creating jobs and making use of excess or wasted electricity. Electricity is hard and expensive to store, so if it’s not used or stored right away, it goes to waste.

Phil Harvey pointed out another challenge related to the location of their mining facility in Gillette, Wyoming. Due to the high altitude, the air is thinner, making it harder for their machines to pull in enough air for cooling.

Additionally, the issue of thermal pollution exists, where hot air from mining machines is released into the atmosphere. To counter this, some companies are getting creative. For example, Genesis Digital Assets uses the hot air generated by its mining machines to grow vegetables in colder climates.

So, while the move towards renewable energy in crypto mining is promising, there are still a variety of challenges that need to be addressed.

It looks like renewable energy will play a key role in the future of crypto mining. Bitmain, a top company in crypto mining gear, is now focusing on water-cooling technologies, as the demand for such eco-friendly options will keep rising.

Nearly 25% of all Bitcoin miners are already using water-powered setups. Wind and nuclear energy come in second and third as the most popular sources of power for these miners.