Square Invests $5 Million in Blockstream To Build Solar-Powered Bitcoin Mining Facility

Logo illustrations on smartphone in Ukraine - 15 Feb 2021
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Financial services and digital payments company Square will invest $5 million in blockchain technology company Blockstream Mining, said to be building an open-source, solar-powered bitcoin mining facility at one of Blockstream’s U.S. sites.

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“Together, we plan to provide public transparency by sharing the project economics and knowledge we’ve gained from building a Bitcoin mine powered by renewable energy. Ultimately, we hope to demonstrate how bitcoin mining in conjunction with renewable energy can help drive the clean energy transition,” Blockstream said in a statement.

The move comes amid renewed criticism about Bitcoin’s enormous carbon footprint. According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance (CCAF), Bitcoin currently consumes around 110 Terawatt Hours per year — 0.55% of global electricity production.

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Just yesterday, Elon Musk stated that Tesla would resume Bitcoin transactions when reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend was confirmed. Musk announced that Tesla would start accepting the crypto as a form of payment back in January. In May, however, this was redacted, with Musk stating that Tesla had suspended vehicle purchases using Bitcoin. “Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment,” he added

Building Wealth

Blockstream’s 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 ROI — made open to the public,” according to the statement.

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“While we know that many mining operations throughout the world, including ours, already rely on renewable energy (as it is the most cost-effective power available), we hope that the open and transparent nature of this project will become a model that other businesses can learn from. We hope to show that a renewable mining facility in the real world is not only possible but also prove empirically that Bitcoin accelerates the world toward a sustainable future,” the company added in the statement.

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Last updated: June 15, 2021

About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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