Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Leveraging renewable energy to reclaim the Bitcoin Hash Rate

With claims that current Bitcoin mining operations use as much energy as the whole of Switzerland, Layer1 co-founder and CEO, Alexander Liegl, believes renewable energy offers a solution.
Bitcoin operations remain big business. As an example, although it is hitting headlines for a different issue (cornaviruses), when it comes to producing Bitcoin, China is the pre-eminent, global power - boasting the largest mining companies and dominating the manufacture of chips and hardware. This has been driven by Chinese President Xi Jinping urging Chinese citizens to “seize the opportunity” afforded by blockchain technology.
Bitcoin has however, been associated with a heavy environmental impact. In recent years critics have homed in on Bitcoin’s carbon footprint, arguing that mining is a huge waste of energy that is damaging to the environment.
An attempt to lower the environmental impact of Bitcoin originates in the U.S. Back in October 2019, San Francisco-based Layer1 raised $50 million from billionaire Peter Thiel and others to move forward with its plan to make Texas the global hub of Bitcoin mining. Layer1’s plans include running its own power sub-station and purchasing solar and wind energy produced on the plains of Texas.
Layer1 controls every aspect of the Bitcoin mining stack - from the actual large-scale mining farms (operations), to the hardware and energy that’s generated to process them. This full-stack approach affords control over every aspect of performance and cost - re-imagining the original principles of large-scale Bitcoin mining.
Layer1 is now on the verge of realizing never-before-seen power capacity from its containers, which are modular, scalable, and plug and play deployable. Layer1 also develops proprietary chips, customer hashboards and liquid cooling systems.
Besides effectively leveraging renewable energy, Layer1’s goal is to rebalance the global Bitcoin network hash power, as the first U.S.-based (San Francisco) renewable energy, vertically integrated Bitcoin mining operation. The aim is for Layer1 can be a catalyst for long-term sustainability (in mining) and energy markets.
Layer1 is backed by venture capitalist including Shasta Ventures and the Digital Currency Group, as well as PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel, who participated in a $50 million round at a $200 million valuation), adding to a previous $2.1 million seed round.


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