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Author Topic: Bitcoin in Arctic Circle - The northernmost mining farm in the world!  (Read 128 times)
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January 28, 2021, 12:04:08 PM
Merited by Yaunfitda (1)
 #1


Bitcoin mining farms are found all over the world, but of course they are concentrated in areas where electricity is cheap and where temperatures are low for most of the year. Despite rumors that Russia will ban this or that when it comes to cryptocurrencies, one of their companies (BitCluster) is launching a mining farm literally in the Arctic Circle (Siberia - Norilsk).

The advantages of the location are very low temperatures throughout the year (winter lasts as long as 9 months), and 25% lower electricity prices than the rest of the country. It should be noted that Norilsk is one of the most polluted cities in Russia thanks to nickel mining, so those who talk about how BTC mining pollutes the environment will have no reason to connect this story with this case.

I think the people of this city will know how to appreciate an industry that makes them a profit without air pollution - Bitcoin king of the north Smiley

https://www.unilad.co.uk/technology/russian-crypto-company-opens-bitcoin-farm-in-siberia/

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January 28, 2021, 12:34:36 PM
Merited by Lorence.xD (1)
 #2

This could work and the only problem in my opinion is logistics because in this kind of remote environment and not to mention harsh, a steady supply for the staffs manning the mines will be the biggest problem, Arctic is known to freeze the fuel of supply trucks so that can be a problem. I have to disagree with you about the part where bitcoin mining industry does not contribute to air pollution, if the electricity generated comes from a coal power plant then that means that that industry indirectly contributes to air pollution, if the power that is used in these mines are the environmentally friendly one then I guess I have no reason to say that the bitcoin mine contributes to air pollution too.

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January 28, 2021, 12:41:48 PM
 #3

Upon further checking, that's a medium-sized operation, and one that is poised to profit very handsomely due to very cheap power rates. Most medium-sized farms do not really operate at a level wherein profits are already secured in a given time due to overhead costs, the bulk of which comes from maintenance and power. With such a climate averaging to -10 degC annually, plus $0.04 per kilowatt hour, these costs are slashed significantly. Also, fewer people would need to be present on-site for maintenance, due to heat being not so much of a problem and new monitoring technologies on this farm is applied.

I believe that most mining companies would copy the same strategy in the near future, as the Northern region always offered cheap power rates and colder weather--perfect for their mining operations. The only thing stopping mining operators to do the same are regulations IMO, though once that's sorted out, mining operators would surely head North where profits could be maximized.

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January 28, 2021, 12:42:58 PM
 #4

This could be the next trend in bitcoin mining farm, there is also one in the cold region of Iceland, Inside the Icelandic Facility Where Bitcoin Is Mined.

And other one in Quebec, taking advantage also of the cool weather and cheap electricity, Bitfarms Expands Bitcoin Mining Operations in Québec.

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January 28, 2021, 01:11:58 PM
 #5

Makes total sense, Obviously Crypto mining creates a lot of heat from the hardware,
Keeping that hardware running at optimum temperatures [cooler]  consumes more
energy and increases the cost of mining.

A cooler climate link inside the arctic circle and 9 months of winter will of course reduce
the cost of cooling a Mining facility, possibly even eliminate it.
And then to top it off a 25% reduction in the electricity prices.


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January 28, 2021, 01:45:51 PM
 #6

I think these outposts way in the northern area of the world should be valorified through bitcoin mining operations. Not only Siberia, but Canada, Alaska, Iceland, Scandinavian countries are all excellent places to develop the industry.

The efficiency is greater taking into account the reduced costs of cooling down the rigs. I don't know about the illumination costs, but I guess it shouldn't represent a significant cost if the LED technology is used.
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January 28, 2021, 01:52:16 PM
 #7

How profitable is this mining farm?

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January 28, 2021, 01:52:50 PM
 #8

Eve northern Manitoba Which has cheap hydro power , Plus beautiful Northern Lights , polar bears too , Churchill sounds like a great place for a mine .
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January 28, 2021, 02:16:02 PM
 #9

Google experimented with server farms on ships, utilizing ocean water to provide liquid cooling. This was many years ago. (AFAIK it didn't work)

I believe it was iceland who began this trend of constructing data centers in cold regions to leverage climate based cooling for servers. Props to russia for hopping on the bandwagon.

What will the next evolution of data center localization look like? Thepiratebay and others tried servers located in international waters in an effort to sidestep censorship and regulation without success. There was a proposal for servers stored on drones flying 24/7 in international airspace in an effort to upgrade thepiratebay's "net neutrality" efforts.

Elon Musk could store servers in space onboard his upcoming plans for internet provider satellites. I think the lack of ambient gas in upper atmosphere could result in reduced cooling despite space being a colder environment. That's an interesting topic, I wouldn't mind knowing more about.

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January 28, 2021, 02:23:45 PM
 #10

I think these outposts way in the northern area of the world should be valorified through bitcoin mining operations. Not only Siberia, but Canada, Alaska, Iceland, Scandinavian countries are all excellent places to develop the industry.

The efficiency is greater taking into account the reduced costs of cooling down the rigs. I don't know about the illumination costs, but I guess it shouldn't represent a significant cost if the LED technology is used.
It is efficient yes, but the problem that I can see is the employees that will be working on this mines, you have to have the facilities that are suitable to stay at this places at the ready and functioning, we can't have people there freezing to their death because heater does not work, supplies won't be a problem because AFAIK most supply drops in the Arctic are calculated for a one year duration. My question is even though the cost of energy to operate is low, will the profit that it will produce be enough to make that kind of facility in the first place and if so, will making it a large scale operation be better?

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January 28, 2021, 02:58:47 PM
 #11

This could work and the only problem in my opinion is logistics because in this kind of remote environment and not to mention harsh, a steady supply for the staffs manning the mines will be the biggest problem,

You are right when it comes to logistics, I did a little research on how Norilsk is connected to the rest of the country and according to Wiki there is no road or railway to Russia.

The city is served by Alykel Airport and Valek Airport. There is a freight-only railway, the Norilsk railway between Norilsk and the port of Dudinka. There is a road network around Norilsk (such as the A-382 which links to Dudinka and Norilsk Alykel Airport), but no road or railway to the rest of Russia. In essence, Norilsk and Dudinka function like an island. Freight transport is by boat on the Arctic Ocean or on the Yenisei River.

I have to disagree with you about the part where bitcoin mining industry does not contribute to air pollution, if the electricity generated comes from a coal power plant then that means that that industry indirectly contributes to air pollution, if the power that is used in these mines are the environmentally friendly one then I guess I have no reason to say that the bitcoin mine contributes to air pollution too.

I'm not sure what the Russians use as the primary source of energy in this area, although I've found some information that it's gas. However, most large mining farms use hydropower, which, although marked as green, is sometimes very dirty in the sense that when building large dams, the environment is irreversibly destroyed by changing the landscape, relocating large numbers of people and many other negative effects.

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January 28, 2021, 06:36:14 PM
 #12

Apart from the mining rigs, there are two main raw materials needed for bitcoin mining - cheap electricity and cold weather! I think the owner is doing it just right! Cheaper electricity is needed to maintain the profitability and cold weather is needed to maintain the efficiency of the mining rigs and avoid unexpected shutdowns!

I see someone mentioned about logistics, but that's an one time activity, not a regular one! So I don't think logistics is not a highly important parameter to consider here! Hopefully the owner of the mining firm has devoted time to eliminate these challenges already!

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January 29, 2021, 02:10:19 AM
 #13

Iceland did it 1st. (And did it better AFAIK.)

Quote
How Iceland became the bitcoin miners’ paradise

Feb 2018

The island nation is the first to use more electricity on mining cryptocurriencies than on its households – thanks in part to its magma-fuelled power plants

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/13/how-iceland-became-the-bitcoin-miners-paradise

....

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Think of the following: When comparing the carbon emission of training a large AI model to that of the life-cycle carbon emission of an average American car (incl. production and recycling), emissions of the AI model are about five times greater than the car’s at approximately 626,000 to 126,000 in pounds of CO2 equivalent. To relate further to the common citizen, the carbon footprint of a roundtrip flight between New York and San Francisco for one passenger is around 2,000 lbs of CO2. Bitcoin mining is another generous sinner, using 215 kWh of electricity to verify just one transaction.

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....



 Grin


Iceland was also one of the first to attempt a regional cryptocurrency via auroracoin.

Whatever attention russia receives for this, is publicity iceland should be getting IMO.

The most novel crypto contribution russia proposed is mining bitcoin with nuclear power which hasn't yet materialized AFAIK.

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January 29, 2021, 03:33:48 AM
 #14

~
You are right when it comes to logistics, I did a little research on how Norilsk is connected to the rest of the country and according to Wiki there is no road or railway to Russia.
Maybe Heavy Off road vehicles can be used for supplying and I think trucks will still be able to do it. Big supply planes can be used to transport supplies if it comes to that, Allies used these supply drops after WW2 in the USSR held part of Berlin.
~
I'm not sure what the Russians use as the primary source of energy in this area, although I've found some information that it's gas. However, most large mining farms use hydropower, which, although marked as green, is sometimes very dirty in the sense that when building large dams, the environment is irreversibly destroyed by changing the landscape, relocating large numbers of people and many other negative effects.
The possibility of gas and coal is used in these plants AFAIK, having a nuclear power plant in the Arctic does not make sense anyway, remember when Putin disagree with Greta Thunberg's advocacy regarding the use of polluting energy. Dams is sort of a blessing and a curse, just ask the person nearest to it. If dams were not built, rivers and floods will be more frequent but with dams, the flow of water during a heavy rain can be mitigated by storing the flow, I would say it is green as the kinetic energy of the water is the one that is used to generate power.

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January 29, 2021, 07:06:19 AM
 #15

Google experimented with server farms on ships, utilizing ocean water to provide liquid cooling. This was many years ago. (AFAIK it didn't work)
That's very different though, and I'd say a weird decision too. There are just too many problems with the idea. For starters ocean is unpredictable, we have from simple storms to tsunamis that can create havoc on board of the ship. There is also connectivity problem since the ship could go out of range.

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January 29, 2021, 07:11:17 AM
 #16

The location of Bitcoin mines is very important. After all, the direct energy related to mining is electricity. Many mines in China are located in the southwestern region where electricity costs are cheap and have the same advantages as mines in Russia.
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January 29, 2021, 11:29:11 AM
 #17

The most novel crypto contribution russia proposed is mining bitcoin with nuclear power which hasn't yet materialized AFAIK.

It doesn’t seem to be the case, the idea seems to have been put into action based on this article :

In late 2020, Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation opened a mining farm near the Kalinin nuclear plant in Udomlya, 200 miles northwest of Moscow.

The Russians seem to have figured out how to use another resource that would otherwise be completely unused and pollute the environment, an interesting way of mining for sure.

Russia’s state-owned oil major Gazprom Neft has reported a successful pilot test using associated gas that would otherwise be flared to produce electricity for mining cryptocurrency at one of its Siberian drilling sites. Vekus placed a shipping container housing 150 units of Bitmain’s Antminer S9 ASICs on the site, and in 1 month the machines mined 1.8 bitcoin using 49,500 cubic meters of gas, according to a Gazprom Neft statement that appeared in the Russian crypto news outlet Forklog.

What is happening in Iceland should not be underestimated either, but the size of Russia and its resources far exceeds what small countries like Iceland can offer. The only problem is that Russia is not a country where foreigners can just come and start a business like this.

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January 29, 2021, 05:18:19 PM
 #18

Where is the electricity coming from for this mining in Norilsk? It might be something eco-friendly (more or less) like atomic energy, so it might not even make an already polluted city worse. As for low temperatures, I get it how it's beneficial because miners usually require lots on ventilation, but I watched a documentary about the Antarctic once, and people there mentioned that due to cold temperatures, their computers and other devices often require repairs. I'm assuming the temperatures are similar in the Arctic circle, so I wonder if the temperatures might cause some problems as well.

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January 31, 2021, 11:38:18 AM
 #19

Where is the electricity coming from for this mining in Norilsk?

Specifically in this region, natural gas is used in combination with renewable energy sources. The problem of pollution is not in the energy source, but in the industries that are themselves major polluters.

More information can be found at this link -> https://ar2018.nornickel.com/business-overview/energy-assets

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