Mining company Stronghold Digital Mining is combining the mining of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, with the cleanup of soil contaminated by chemicals in coal waste.
Healthier Soil Through Bitcoin Mining
Although the crypto community has been less than appreciative of Elon Musk’s criticism of bitcoin mining, this speech has had the added benefit of giving even more weight since to the issue of reconciling BTC mining with environmental issues. The Bitcoin Mining Council is one of the initiatives that aims to make Bitcoin mining greener.
Pennsylvania-based mining company Stronghold Digital Mining has also taken up this challenge of more environmentally friendly mining with its plan to build a facility to generate electricity from the waste products of 19th and 20th century coal mining operations. The power generation site, the Scrubgrass Generation Plant, located in Venango County, converts this waste to become a “large-scale hydroelectric plant” powering the mining of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
This recycling operation de-pollutes land contaminated by acid drainage from coal waste (DMA). As a result, rain or snow mixes with the sulfur contained in this detritus. The toxic substances then flow into the water table and rivers, threatening aquatic life. To remedy this, Stronghold is rehabilitating areas polluted by coal mines. According to the company, that’s 200 tons of coal waste destroyed per bitcoin mined. The company plans to donate the decontaminated land to local communities.
The green bonus: green on the surface but what’s going on deep down?
Stronghold announced the project via a statement shared by Coin Telegraph. He informed the media of the realization of 2 private fundraising to the tune of 105 million dollars.
But can we really believe in the sincerity of this type of initiative or is it just another greenvwashing operation that aims to make the mining of crypto-currencies more acceptable to the general public, which is known to be energy consuming and polluting?
Stronghold’s co-chairman Bill Spence said that given the devastation caused by coal waste in Pennsylvania over the past 100 years, the company would work with local environmental authorities. It would have restored 1,000 acres of land in the state, or just over 4 km2, that it said was “once unusable.”
Stronghold’s production process doesn’t just clean the soil of mercury, nitrogen families NOx and sulfur. It produces fly ash as a bonus that can be used as fertilizer.
On paper, the process adopted by Stronghold has much more substance than Greenidge Generation Holdings’ carbon offset purchase project, which smacks of capitalist hypocrisy. So Bitcoin could finally become greener, without having to abandon the proof-of-work (PoW) mechanism.