Financial services firm Square announced plans to build an open source, solar-powered Bitcoin mining facility. Square will partner with BlockStream Mining and invest $5 million to build a much needed ‘environmentally conscious’ mining facility.
The announcement was made via a tweet where the Square CEO pledged to invest 5$ million in what will be a “proof-of-concept for a 100% renewable energy Bitcoin mine at scale.” The facility will be built at one of the many Blockstream sites located all over the US.
His announcement comes on the back of what has been quite a tumultuous period for Bitcoin in recent months. Various nations and corporations have scaled back activities on Bitcoin mining and trading.
This has been mainly due to the energy-intensive nature of mining. Mining involves solving complex equations that demand huge amounts of energy. In some estimates, global Bitcoin mining is said to use as much electricity as the whole of the Netherlands.
Iran, one of the most active nations in Bitcoin mining, has been feeling this energy load on their national grid. So much that the President decided to ban all mining for a couple of months. Granted the blackouts were not caused by mining alone but it does speak to the weight that mining places on the national grid.
In April of this year, tech mogul Elon Musk announced that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoins despite the company’s contrary announcement just a month earlier. This, he explained, was because Tesla “was concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.”
Jack Dorsey, CEO of both Square and Twitter, is a big proponent of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. A quick look into his Twitter account will reveal his passion, in fact, his Twitter bio only says #Bitcoin.
In 2018 he estimated that Bitcoin would eventually become the world’s single currency within a decade. At the time his prediction seemed somewhat overoptimistic but today it’s looking more likely with nations such as El Salvador leading the race in adopting the digital coin as legal tender.
With Square, Jack is now moving closer to fulfilling his dream. He bought $50 million worth of Bitcoin in October and added a further $170 million in February this year. Also, users of Square can easily buy Bitcoin on the Cash app. The move will go a long way towards achieving a carbon-neutral method of mining digital coins.