In brief

  • Argo Blockchain has bought two new Bitcoin mining farms.
  • They're in Canada.
  • And almost entirely powered by hydroelectricity.

British Bitcoin mining firm Argo Blockchain announced Thursday the purchase of two data centers in Canada. Both sites are almost entirely powered by hydroelectricity. 

The acquisition of both sites is part of the firm’s goal to mine Bitcoin in an environmentally friendly way. Argo said this is "a key part of the company’s green mining vision."

The firm also said the data centers have a combined total of 20 megawatts of power capacity, and they currently house a “significant proportion” of Argo’s mining equipment. In the first quarter of 2021, the firm mined a total of 387 Bitcoin, generating a revenue of over £13 million.

“Argo’s purchase of data centres in Canada represents another milestone for the Company as we seek to take greater control over our mining production and cost base,” said Peter Wall, chief executive of Argo.

Decrypt has asked Argo how much of its mining equipment is powered by renewable sources and will update this article accordingly.  

Bitcoin’s green problem

Earlier this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the EV manufacturing company has stopped accepting Bitcoin as payment due to concerns over the cryptocurrency’s carbon footprint. 

“We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” Musk said in a tweet. 

 

Musk is correct. Decrypt found that Bitcoin’s energy consumption is broadly equivalent to 61 million pounds of burned coal, 9 million homes’ average electricity consumption for a year, or 138 billion miles driven by an average passenger vehicle. If the Bitcoin network was a country, it would rank among the top 30 countries in the world by energy consumption. 

With a carbon footprint like that, there has been pressure on the mining industry to pivot to more renewable energy sources. According to Cambridge University, only 39% of the Bitcoin network is powered by renewable energy sources.