American payments firm Square is partnering with blockchain technology provider Blockstream Mining to build a solar-powered bitcoin mining facility. The payments firm, led by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, will invest $5 million for the facility.
“The facility will be a proof-of-concept for a 100% renewable energy bitcoin mine at scale with the economics of the build-out, including operational costs and return on investment, made open to the public,” Blockstream said in a press release.
The companies will share reports on the “economics of the project” and build a dashboard that will allow others to track real-time metrics such as power output and bitcoins mined under the project.
Concerns over the environmental impact of mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been growing over the past few months.
Last month, Elon Musk’s Tesla backtracked on its promise to accept bitcoin payments for its electric cars. “We are concerned about (the) rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” Tesla’s chief executive officer Musk had said in a tweet on 13 May. The company has, however, said that it would hold on to its bitcoin assets worth $1.5 billion until more environment-friendly methods of mining are discovered.
Musk isn’t the only one concerned about the impact of crypto mining on the environment. The Chinese government also hit back on crypto mining farms in the country last month, with the People’s Bank of China issuing a fresh ban on crypto-related services. The move was followed by big drops in the prices of various cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum, and others.
The Indian government has also been mulling crypto regulations for the country. An informal guidance from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last week led banks to withdraw services from crypto exchanges. Exchanges in India haven’t been able to accept rupee deposits since.
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