This year Iceland is likely to use more energy in mining digital currencies than what it will use to power homes in the country. Considering the large amounts of electric energy required by computers to mine the precious bitcoins, many prominent cryptocurrency mining companies have found Iceland to be the perfect spot for their operations thanks to the countries abundant geothermal and hydroelectric power plants. With this development, the current energy consumption by virtual currency mining companies is expected to double to 100 megawatts this year which is significantly higher than what all the island nation’s households will use collectively.
There are other factors that have attracted miners to the country. The first is that the companies do not need to pay taxes but given the buzz that their power consumption has been attracting, this will definitely not last long. Other important attractions for cryptocurrency mining companies is the natural cooling available for computer servers as well as the quite competitive prices for the available renewable energy. Obviously, this soaring demand for energy is a culmination of the equally soaring cost of digital currencies and Iceland seems to be the go-to place for companies that are seeking to optimize costs or get away from oppressive laws such as the ones in China following the crackdown on mining companies and ICOs.
As mentioned earlier, mining companies being exempted from taxes does not sit well with everyone in the country. Smari McCarthy, a lawmaker for Iceland’s Pirate Party has made the first step by proposing that the profits amassed by bitcoin miners should be taxed.
“Under normal circumstances, companies that are creating value in Iceland pay a certain amount of tax to the government,” McCarthy said. “These companies are not doing that and we might want to ask ourselves whether they should. We are spending tens or maybe hundreds of megawatts on producing something that has no tangible existence and no real use for humans outside the realm of financial speculation. That can’t be good.”