Digital payments company Block (formerly Square) and bitcoin infrastructure firm Blockstream have begun construction on a new open-source bitcoin mining facility, which will be powered by Tesla’s solar and energy storage products, announced Blockstream’s CEO Adam Back.
“This is a step to proving our thesis that Bitcoin mining can fund zero-emission power infrastructure and build economic growth for the future,” he added. The facility is planned to be completed later this year and will result in a projected 3.8 Megawatts of solar renewable power (e.g. off-grid energy) and a 30 Petahash (PH) hash rate.
The $12 million joint initiative was first announced in June 2021 as part of Block’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030. The fintech giant will invest $6 million (the other half will be provided by Blockstream) in a facility to be built at one of Blockstream’s U.S. sites in Texas.
Co-founded in 2014 by Back, a British cryptographer whose early proof of work system influenced bitcoin’s anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto (Back was once rumored to be Nakamoto himself), Victoria, Canada-based Blockstream is best known for the creation of Liquid, a bitcoin sidechain that enables cryptocurrency exchanges, traders and institutions to issue digital assets and conduct transactions at a greater speed than the bitcoin network allows. The firm also offers mining, hosting and energy efficiency development services.
According to the announcement, in addition to providing regular reports on the economics of the project, a publicly accessible dashboard showing real-time metrics of the projectʼs performance, including power output and the amount of bitcoin mined will be made available. A later version of the dashboard will also include solar and storage performance data points “to serve as an industry case study for future projects.”
In recent months, bitcoin miners, regularly criticized for significant energy consumption, have been adopting the so-called ‘green’ strategies. For instance, in Texas, the latest hot spot for crypto mining, miners like HODL Ranch and publicly traded Riot Blockchain buy up excess energy when it’s not needed, then shut down their mining rigs when demand surges, releasing power back onto the grid, to ensure that there’s enough power for extreme events like ice storms and summer heat waves, or connect to grids where the majority of electricity comes from renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
Earlier this week, the largest publicly traded bitcoin miner Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA) said it plans to relocate its mining machines away from a coal-powered site in Montana to new (unspecified) locations “with more sustainable and non-carbon emitting sources of power.”