The central theses
- Compass is partnering with Oklo to mine Bitcoin using nuclear power.
- Oklo plans to use “microreactors” to supply energy to mining companies.
- Several other mining and energy companies have recently taken steps to mine Bitcoin from renewable sources, suggesting that Bitcoin may have a more sustainable future ahead of it.
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Compass plans to use nuclear energy to mine Bitcoin.
Compass joins Oklo for Nuclear Energy Play
Compass Mining is taking steps to begin using nuclear power.
The bitcoin mining company, which enables customers to buy and host their own mining rig in one facility around the world, has partnered with nuclear power company Oklo in hopes of mining bitcoin from alternative energy sources.
Compass currently has a number of mining facilities in locations such as the United States and Canada. It also ran some of its operations in China, although the country’s recent crackdown on bitcoin mining has resulted in most mining companies relocating elsewhere.
By partnering with Oklo, Compass hopes to leverage the energy company’s “microreactors”.– smaller plants that could generate enough energy to run a bitcoin mining farm.
Oklo is based in California. It received a license for its advanced cleavage technologies last year.
The partnership is expected to start “in the early 2020s”, with Oklo to deliver 150 megawatts of clean electricity. Whit Gibbs, the company’s CEO, said the cost of mining was “significantly lower” than any other source Compass currently uses.
Compass’ move to use alternative energy sources for its mining operations comes as Bitcoin is scrutinizing the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining. Elon Musk helped fuel concerns about bitcoin’s energy usage when he announced that Tesla would no longer receive bitcoin payments until the amount of bitcoin mined from renewable energy sources changed significantly.
According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, the Bitcoin network consumes around 69.85 TWh / year, which is roughly the same as Austria and Colombia. While Bitcoin proponents argue that much of this energy comes from renewable sources, 3rd global cryptoasset benchmarking study published in September 2020 estimated that 61% of energy comes from non-renewable energies such as coal. Michael Saylor’s Bitcoin Mining Council, meanwhile, has argued that mining is 56% sustainable.
Although Compass is the first mining company Oklo has partnered with, the appetite for nuclear power solutions for Bitcoin mining seems bigger than ever. On Monday, Energy Harbor Corp announced a partnership with Standard Power to provide nuclear power for bitcoin mining in Ohio. Talen Energy will also begin mining bitcoin at its own power plant in Pennsylvania.
In addition, Mayor Francis Suarez is reportedly offering several mining companies, including Compass, the Turkey Point nuclear power plant in Miami to use cheap renewable energy. While the market is still showing signs of uncertainty amid ESG concerns, regulatory fears and buyer exhaustion, the mining solutions in the pipeline seem to bode well for Bitcoin’s future.
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