Marathon Digital Announces Move Away from Coal-Powered Mining Site
- Crypto mining shop Marathon Digital announces move out of Montana coal-powered mining site.
- Increased government scrutiny on proof-of-work mining and its impact on the environment has forced U.S miners to consider sustainable power.
- Whether a material shift to renewable energy is enough for Bitcoin miners remains to be seen.
Crypto mining has been one of the hot topics of the year, with governments and agencies raising red flags over the impact of proof-of-work mining on the environment.
Since China’s decision to ban crypto mining, the U.S is the largest Bitcoin (BTC) mining nation, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.
With greater scrutiny over crypto mining, pressure is building on mining companies to move to sustainable energy sources.
Marathon Digital Moves Out of Coal Powered Site in Montana
This week, Bitcoin mining was back in the news. On Tuesday, Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA) announced plans to relocate its Hardin, Montana, Bitcoin mining operations away from carbon-emitting power sources.
Marathon is one of North America’s leading Bitcoin mining companies. With the U.S accounting for 35.4% of the global Bitcoin hashrate as of August-2021, Marathon’s carbon-neutral goals will be positive for the U.S mining community.
In 2021, Marathon announced that its mining operations would be 100% carbon neutral by 2022 end.
The transition away from a coal-fired power source to new locations with more sustainable sources of power is in line with the company’s carbon-neutral ambitions.
Marathon Chairman and CEO Fred Thiel said,
“Marathon made a commitment for our mining operations to be 100% carbon neutral by the end of 2022.”
“To achieve that goal, we have endeavoured to ensure our miners are sustainably powered as possible. With the majority of our fleet already scheduled to be deployed at renewable power facilities and deployments currently underway, we believe it is an appropriate time to transition our legacy operations away from fossil fuel generation towards more sustainable sources of power.”
Lawmaker Scrutiny over Proof-of-Work Mining Likely to Persist
In March, EU lawmakers voted on the EU’s crypto regulatory framework, Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA).
Despite calls for a ban on Proof-of-Work mining, lawmakers voted against banning Proof-of-Work mining, which would have resulted in the banning of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
The March vote followed a U.S Congress sub-committee hearing on crypto mining back in January.
For the U.S government, Joe Biden’s target to achieve a 50-52% reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution in 2030 has put Bitcoin mining in the spotlight.
A move by crypto mining companies towards sustainable energy sources would take the pressure off. Such a shift would place the focus back on other non-carbon neutral industries.
In February, FX Empire reported on new CO2 emission numbers that brought into question the numbers circulated during the sub-committee hearing on Capitol Hill.
Some key numbers from a CoinShares paper titled “The Bitcoin Mining Network, Energy and Carbon Impact” included,
- The Bitcoin mining network emitted 39 Mt of CO2 in 2021. Mining accounted for less than 0.08% of a global total of 49,360 Mt of CO2 emissions.
- The global banking system emits approximately 130 Mt of CO2 emissions each year.
Also well above Bitcoin mining emissions are reportedly emissions from the gold industry. The gold industry generates between 100 and 145 Mt of CO2 annually.