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

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


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