Crypto Insider recently covered the suggestion, put forward by Katrina Kelly-Pitou, a research Associate in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, that energy-intensive bitcoin mining is not a big deal.
Kelly-Pitou, who studies clean energy technology, specifically the transition toward decarbonized energy systems, argues that, with renewable energy systems. electricity production can increase while still maintaining a minimal impact on the environment.
Therefore, the solution to the "energy problem" of bitcoin is to develop mining solutions powered by clean energy, and to persuade mining operators to move to regions that offer clean, low-carbon energy at competitive prices.
This is exactly what startup Soluna wants to do. A recent story published in the prestigious MIT Technology Review reports that Soluna has acquired a 37,000-acre wind farm site in Morocco that, according to the company, has the potential to host up to 900 megawatts of power-generating capacity.
In partnership with German wind-power developer ALTUS AG, Soluna "aims to build at least 36 megawatts of capacity by 2020 and complete the entire 900 megawatts in five years. The wind power will then supply cheap electricity to a high-density computing center for mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies."
The company is persuaded that its its Moroccan wind farm will be able to generate power as cheap as the cheapest Chinese coal power.
Soluna is headquaerered in New York with subsidiary offices in Morocco. The company's name is a combination of sol (sun in Latin) and luna (moon in Latin). "Our goal was to create a name that represented our ethos, our ambitious plan, and one that was unique in our field," said the company's CEO John Belizaire, a serial entrepreneur who, after working as lead architect for Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group, founded and sold several technology companies.
"Soluna expresses the renewable resource of solar energy, while more generally evoking the sustainability and beauty of the natural world," added Belizaire. "The name recalls 'solution,' which the company provides to the problem of energy-intensive computer applications."
"We are now preparing to launch a new company that will have sweeping effects on the future of the Blockchain, and I am ecstatic!," said Belizaire in June, when he first unveiled Soluna's plans.
Soluna "is going to build utility-scale, hyper-efficient sustainable energy using the Blockchain," said Soluna's CTO It will provide utility-scale blockchain 'service nodes' for the blockchain ecosystem,"
Soluna’s mission, as articulated in the company's white paper, is to power the crypto-economy with clean, low-cost renewable energy. "To do this, we are building a blockchain infrastructure and cryptocurrency mining company that owns its own renewable energy resources," states the white paper, adding the Soluna will develop renewable energy power plants for industries that need on-site, high-density computing.
Beyond cryptocurrency mining: Computing and the decentralized internet
It's worth noting that this goes beyond cryptocurerncy mining. In fact, large data centers for high-density computing are used in many industries and consume a lot of power. Powering data centers with clean, renewable energy, is certainly a good thing.
"Today blockchains are predominantly seen as the core technology for cryptocurrencies," notes the most interesting section of the Solana white paper, which covers the company's long term vision. "But in the future, blockchains will do much more - they will be the foundation for entire ecosystems of new decentralized applications."
According to Soluna, distributed applications will form a new kind of internet, and Soluna's green, renewable, low-cost power will serve as a key component for the new internet.
Picture from Unsplash.
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Crypto Insider Editor Giulio Prisco is a writer specialized in science, technology and business. He is persuaded that crypto has the potential to bring disruptive positive changes to the internet and society at large.