Mining for virtual currencies has become big business, but what happens when the miners set up shop in your town?
There are hundreds of types of cryptocurrencies, and values for some have skyrocketed in the last three years. A single Bitcoin, for example, is now worth more than $7,000, when it was worth just a few hundred dollars as recently as 2016 – and that’s made the business of creating new cryptocurrency potentially very lucrative.
Coming up with new crypto units involves using computing power on an industrial scale to solve complex algorithms. The process is called “mining”, and it’s supposed to ensure that making new units of cryptocurrency is difficult and limit the supply. But in the last few years, companies have been establishing vast cryptocurrency “mines”, stacking up hundreds of computers under one roof to create the digital currency much faster. These data centres consume massive amounts of real-world electricity.
And recently, a number of mines have been popping in one unlikely country: Iceland.