With all of the new capacity that is being promised by major bitcoin (BTC) miners, the bitcoin network’s hash rate – or the computing power that goes into mining new coins – is likely to grow twice the current number over the following year, suggested Dave Perrill, CEO of mining infrastructure provider Compute North.
In his own words, Perrill said of hash rate in the comments shared with Cryptonews.com,
“Expect it to double next year, as major industry players promise that hundreds of megawatts of capacity will come online in 2022.”
He added that even if it doesn’t double, “we will still see more than 3GWs of power coming online in all corners of the US” based on the commitments made by major players in the space.
The comments from Perrill follow news from earlier this month that the hash rate on the bitcoin network has completely recovered from the shutdown of mining operations in China. The shutdown, which came as a result of a ban on mining and most other activities related to crypto set earlier this year, led to the largest migration of miners out of a country in bitcoin’s history.
From previously being heavily concentrated in China, the bitcoin mining industry is now booming in the US, with the country now considered the epicentre of global bitcoin mining.
As of December 15, the bitcoin mining hash rate stood at 175E, representing a slight decline from an all-time high of 190E reached on December 9 (based on a 7-day moving average).
Bitcoin hash rate:
As the popularity of mining has grown in the West, however, scrutiny from critics is also on the rise. In Sweden, two regulatory agencies have gone as far as to propose an EU-wide ban on Proof-of-Work mining, while miners elsewhere are also feeling the pressure from environmentalists who argue that it is a waste of energy.
According to Dave Perrill, however, the focus among miners on transitioning to renewable sources of energy is just getting started.
“In 2022, large energy producers and grid operators will get more involved in the crypto market, as low-cost, scalable, and renewable energy will continue to be critical to the mining supply chain,” Perrill predicted.
He added that miners “will commit to a net-neutral carbon policy,” and that investments in things like Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) and Emission-Free Energy Certificates (EFECs) will become more common.
However, it remains to be seen if a greater focus on using renewables in mining is enough for critics.
Just last week, another attack on the Proof-of-Work consensus algorithm came from a Ripple team member, when the company’s chairman, Chris Larsen, proposed that bitcoin should move away from the “climate disaster” that is Proof-of-Work, and instead embrace a form of the alternative Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm.
“The emerging solution among climate experts is that Bitcoin’s code needs to be changed to a low energy consensus algorithm like those used by nearly all other major crypto protocols,” the Ripple chairman wrote in his proposal.
The proposal was quickly called out by Nic Carter, co-founder of Coin Metrics and founding partner of Castle Island Ventures, who called it “the stupidest idea I’ve come across this year.”
A similar negative sentiment towards PoW has also been expressed by some lawmakers in the US, with for instance Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren in a letter questioning the environmental footprint of a Greenidge Generation mining operation in New York state.
“Given the extraordinarily high energy usage and carbon emissions associated with Bitcoin mining, mining operations at Greenidge and other plants raise concerns about their impacts on the global environment, on local ecosystems, and on consumer electricity costs,” Warren wrote in the letter.
At 13:22 UTC, BTC traded at USD 48,575, up by 1.6% for the past 24 hours and down 3.9% for the past 7 days.