MIAMI — Adam Back's Blockstream and Jack Dorsey's Block (SQ) are building a pilot crypto mine in Texas that will be powered by a Tesla (TSLA) solar installation and batteries, Back announced at the Bitcoin 2022 Conference in Miami on Friday.
- "Building things is a better solution than arguing about things," Back said, explaining that the pilot is meant to show that bitcoin (BTC) mining can fund renewable energy installations and innovation.
- Dorsey's Block (then called Square) teased the deal last June when it announced it would invest $5 million in a solar-powered mine built in partnership with Blockstream
- This development's cost of $12 million will be split evenly between Blockstream and Block, and is expected to be up and running in a few months. The mine will have a relatively tiny 30 petahash/second in computing power and energy capacity of just 1 megawatt (MW).
- Real-time operational and financial information about the mine, including its energy consumption and hashrate, will be publicly available in a dashboard, Back said. The data is intended to inform the public debate around off-grid mining and whether it can fund the expansion of solar power. "When people publish just analyst reports, and articles, and blog posts, and data, they are all suspicious. But if we publish the raw data, the raw financial information, I think it speaks for itself," Back said.
- The project will be completely off-grid, said Back, with a Tesla 3.8 MW solar array powering the mine, and 12-megawatt-hour (MWh) Tesla batteries storing excess electricity produced during the day so that the mine can run at night and on days without sunshine.
- Bitcoin mining has been under continual attack for its alleged carbon footprint. Last week, Greenpeace, Environmental Working Group, and Ripple's Chris Larsen launched a campaign to change its fundamental model away from proof-of-work, which requires a lot of energy to run.
- "Bitcoin is not the question, bitcoin is the answer," said Back, as it can act as a baseload consumer of electricity, making renewable energy projects financially viable, and enabling further investment in renewable energy assets.
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