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Bitcoin Miner Marathon to Transition 'Away From Fossil Fuel Generation’

Bitcoin miner Marathon Digital Holdings announced plans to move its facility to a new location in search of more sustainable energy.

2 min read
Bitcoin "mining" refers to the activity of generating new BTC. Image: Shutterstock

Marathon Digital Holdings, a Bitcoin mining company in the United States, has announced its intent to transition its existing facility in Hardin, Montana, to new locations with more sustainable energy sources. 

The move is part of the company’s commitment to reach 100% carbon neutrality by the end of 2022. 

“Marathon committed for our mining operations to be 100% carbon neutral by the end of 2022. To achieve that goal, we have endeavored to ensure our miners are as sustainably powered as possible,” said Marathon’s chairman and CEO Fred Thiel. 

“We believe it is an appropriate time to transition our legacy operations away from fossil fuel generation and towards more sustainable sources of power. We will therefore be moving our miners from Hardin, Montana, to new locations that are more in line with our current strategy of developing behind the meter at sustainable power stations,” the CEO added. 

Marathon’s Hardin facility currently derives its power from a coal-fired power plant. The company intends to complete the transition away from this facility by the third quarter of 2022. 

Marathon’s announcement did not provide any details about where these new facilities will be. Decrypt has reached out to Marathon and will update this article should we receive a response. 

Bitcoin mining and the environment

Marathon Holdings is not the only Bitcoin mining firm to use fossil fuels for its activity. Other Bitcoin mining firms—like Greenidge Generation in New York—use natural gas. 

Climate activists have long-criticized the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining, which, per Cambridge University, consumes more electricity than most of the world’s countries every year.

The resulting carbon footprint of this energy consumption depends on the energy resource used in the first place, and different studies have come up with different findings on how much of the Bitcoin network runs on renewable energy. 

Last year, the Bitcoin Mining Council said that over 50% of the network ran on renewables, but their methodology has been questioned

Another study from Cambridge University found in 2020 that only 39% of the Bitcoin network ran on renewable energy. 

Using this data, previous research by Decrypt found that Bitcoin’s non-renewable energy consumption broadly equated to over 60 billion pounds of burned coal, or 9 million homes’ average electricity consumption every year.

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