These crypto mining machines can run on cow dung
Cryptocurrencies and the meteoric rise of Bitcoin, Dogecoin appears to have soured over recent concerns about the enormous energy required for its mining. But a generational farming family in the UK has found a chance solution to the intricate global problem. It is the method they have adopted to mine digital assets that are grabbing the headlines, using a simple source of energy that the world has in abundance: “cow dung.” Yes, you heard right! The Philip Hughes family uses powerful computers powered by renewable energy generated from cow dung to mine virtual currencies.
Cryptocurrency mining comes at a huge cost. It requires an incredible amount of electricity and causes irreparable damage to the environment, a fact about which Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had also raised concerns by announcing that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoins as payment. The issue of the carbon footprint has been one of the larger cryptocurrency market shock absorbers.
The UK-based Bury family hopes to change this through their renewable energy business that converts cow dung into power to run computers that mine cryptocurrency 24/7. Josh Riddett, a family member, had started Easy Crypto Hunter in 2017. Recently, his company reportedly took around Rs. 51.6 million rupees in reserves. Riddett said the BBC had seen an increase in consultations with other farmers calling it about the project.
In 2020, Riddett attended the European Union summit on crypto as a delegate. In a statement, he said that Musk had removed billions from the global crypto markets when he said that Bitcoin mining was bad for the environment, but that what his company was doing couldn’t be more environmentally friendly, adding that his computers were capable of mining hundreds of different digital currencies.
How does it work?
Farm owners say a single site houses 40 mining computers that run 24/7. They work with anaerobic digestion (AD) machines, which convert cow manure into renewable energy. Farmers who have renewable energy sources such as solar, hydroelectric, wind, or anaerobic digestion can sell their energy to the National Grid for around 4 to 7 cents per kWh. However, they could earn up to ten times more if they ran a crypto mining machine, according to a report in Energy Independence Off the Grid.
Easy Crypto Hunter’s firm says it has more than 250 registered clients now, including crypto whales and high net worth individuals, who often own between 30 and 40 mining computers.
“When we started this business four years ago, green energy was not on our customers’ radar, but now it represents approximately 40 percent of our business and is growing every day. It’s a good idea for both the customer and the green energy provider, so everyone wins,” Riddett said in a statement.
But even Riddett’s Easy Crypto Hunter wasn’t mining Bitcoin because it’s not that “energy-efficient or profitable.”
Musk had elaborated on long-standing environmental concerns about cryptocurrencies last month when Tesla backed down from backing Bitcoin. “Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels, and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at a great cost to the environment,” he tweeted.
Tesla & Bitcoin pic.twitter.com/YSswJmVZhP— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 12, 2021
And Musk’s concerns are not unfounded. Bitcoin mining requires extremely powerful computers that hog energy. Even Easy Crypto Hunter, which prides itself on its “green mining”, does not mine Bitcoin, and their reason is somewhat similar: it is not “energy efficient”.