According to the Icelandic energy firm HS Orka, the country is expected to use more energy processing Bitcoin transactions in 2018 than it uses to power its homes, consuming some 840 gigawatt-hours of electricity related to the cryptocurrency this year.
The population of the country is about 340,000 people, but it is known to be a home of several major data centers that use its abundant renewable hydropower and geothermal energy sources to operate. As the BBC explained earlier, Bitcoin is “mined” when “computers solve complex mathematical problems — a process that in turn validates transactions between users of the cryptocurrency.” Every time a computer solves a problem, it earns a small Bitcoin reward, generating digital revenue for the data centers running the programs.
The HS Orka spokesman Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson told the BBC, that they see exponential growth in the energy consumption of data centers. Iceland is fielding several proposals for new data centers, which could increase Bitcoin-related energy use even more.
However, there are some Icelandic politicians, who are cautious about the Bitcoin boom in the country. A member of Parliament from the minority Pirate Party Smari McCarthy posted, that Cryptocurrency mining requires almost no staff, very little in capital investments, and mostly leaves no taxes either. He said, that the value- to-Iceland generated ratio is virtually zero.