SAI's "Carbon Footprint" Report: "Miners" Going Overseas May Bring Four Changes in the Mining Industry
Abstract: Before May 18, 2021, China had once become the world's largest "mining" country with three advantages: favorable power supply in the Chinese market, strong power grid infrastructure and hard-working Chinese. By April 2021, data showed that China's bitcoin mining activities accounted for about two-thirds of the global share, accounting for more than 75% of the bitcoin computing power.
Beijing, China--(Newsfile Corp. - July 19, 2021) - On May 18, 2021, the relevant national regulators and local development and reform commissions issued a series of measures to "crack down on bitcoin mining and trading", including the "Announcement on the Establishment of a Reporting Platform for Cryptocurrency "Mining" Enterprises". The massive bitcoin mining industry in China has basically come to an end. At this stage, it's a loss of money for the miners. For the Bitcoin network, it is a period of declining computing power. For the market, it is another downturn in prices.
With the remediation of Chinese mining sites, miners in a position to do so are exploring overseas energy sources. Bringing further dispersion of bitcoin computing power, the global crypto digital market will also become more rational in this round of reshuffling. At the same time, the loss of the world's most affordable power resource supply, the cryptocurrency mining industry transformation is imminent. It is imperative to fully explore the diversification of mining computing power sources, such as vigorously developing clean energy, as well as improving the efficiency of power utilization and reducing energy acquisition costs.
SAI: Chinese computing power goes overseas under carbon neutrality goal
At this year's two sessions in China, emission peak and carbon neutrality were written into the government work report for the first time, which made clear the general goal of achieving emission peak in 2030 and carbon neutrality in 2060, which also means that China will accelerate the energy transformation.
According to the data of several industry statistics institutions, the annual power consumption of bitcoin mining in the world is about 127.48 terawatt-hours, which has exceeded more than 100 countries and regions, ranking 29th in the world. Without policy intervention, the energy consumption of bitcoin blockchain in China will reach its peak in 2024, which is about 296.59 terawatt-hours, resulting in 130 million tons of carbon emissions, which is obviously contrary to the "double carbon" strategy formulated by the Chinese government.
After the implementation of the policy, China's domestic bitcoin mines are facing a severe survival crisis. A large number of miners said that the mine where their mining machines are located has been shut down, and they plan to sell their mining machines. Some miners also said that they plan to transport the mining machines overseas to continue mining. For Chinese miners who want to continue to make a fortune in Bitcoin mining, going overseas has become a foregone conclusion. At present, there are about 10 million mining machines in Sichuan to go overseas. With the global COVID-19 outbreak still ongoing, both mining machines and personnel will face complicated processes and huge risks when going overseas.
In the face of overseas demand, the demand for mobile ore boxes has soared recently, and a customized "overseas modular container" has been designed for miners' plight, which integrates cold and heat isolation, fans, networks, monitoring, power distribution cabinets and other equipment, which is equivalent to a mobile mine built by containers. According to the quotation of a related company in the industry, the lowest unit price of each container is 142,000 yuan, which can accommodate 180 sets of 19 series mining machines. With the current scale of thousands of mining machines in domestic mines, the cost of container transportation in a small and medium-sized mine will be nearly one million, while that in a large mine will reach tens of millions.
In addition to the long distance and difficulties in customs clearance and transportation, there are still some problems for miners going overseas, such as the choice of overseas locations, the interpretation of local policies, the cost of mine construction, and the impact of environment and climate. Therefore, it is not realistic to return to the whole network computing power level before the policy was issued in the short term.
Alex Defrees, a financial economist who has long criticized bitcoin energy consumption, predicts that the migration of Chinese bitcoin miners will have an impact. "The scale of its energy demand may be equivalent to a small Western country that needs to move elsewhere," he said. "Finding a new home for all these miners is a huge problem."
In North America, represented by the United States and Canada, where local policies are relatively stable and the legal system is relatively sound, many large mining companies have moved in, but the overall cost of mining in North America is too high. The U.S. has also imposed a 25% tariff on Chinese electronics. For example, it costs almost 3.5-5 million yuan to build a 10,000-load mine in China, and 18-40 million yuan for the same scale outside China. Even in Texas, where electricity is cheap and renewable energy is abundant, the input cost of 10,000 kilowatts of load costs about $35 million, seven times the domestic cost in China.
Kazakhstan is a relatively cheap choice. The AIFC Investment Department of Kazakhstan recently publicized through Chinese media to welcome Chinese miners to enter the country. Within three to four weeks, the compliance custody mine can be established. It is reported that Kazakhstan is rich in energy resources, closer to China, and its manpower and construction costs are lower than those in North America. From the climate point of view, it is located in Central Asia, and the latitude of the northern region is similar to that of the northwest region of China. The natural low temperature climate saves a lot of power costs for mine operation, which is very suitable for bitcoin mining.
Kazakhstan has gradually become a new force in the rise of bitcoincomputing power in the last two years. Data from Cambridge University's bitcoin mining tracking tool "Bitcoin Mining Map" shows that Kazakhstan's computing power once exceeded 6%, ranking fourth in the world. Some data shows that the cost per kWh of electricity in Kazakhstan mines is at $0.03 (about RMB 0.2), which is about the same as the cost of electricity in the high water period in Sichuan, and a significant advantage over the $0.3-0.4 electricity price in northwest China. Due to the abundant power resources, the cost of electricity is even as low as 0.1 yuan in some areas of Kazakhstan. However, in the long run, currently Kazakhstan mining mostly uses thermal power. Environmental issues still exist, and for the time being, there is no fundamental solution to the energy problems facing bitcoin mining.
Thus, even the United States and Kazakhstan, which are known as the best places to migrate, both have some problems. In the midst of the global low carbon transition, the challenges and changes in bitcoin mining are underway.
Change 1: Mining energy green and sustainable
According to the basic form of energy, they can be divided into primary energy and secondary energy. Primary energy is the energy that exists in nature and can be obtained by certain technology development without changing its nature and conversion through processing, such as raw coal, crude oil, natural gas, hydro energy, solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy, etc. Secondary energy is processed and converted from primary energy to another form of energy, such as electricity, petroleum products, coke, artificial gas, methanol, ethanol, etc.
Primary energy can be further divided into renewable energy (solar, hydro, geothermal, wind, etc.) and non-renewable energy (primary coal, crude oil, natural gas, nuclear, etc.). Currently, the global energy supply is a system with an absolute majority of fossil energy sources. For example, crude oil accounted for 33% of total global primary energy consumption in 2019, natural gas 24%, and raw coal 27%. Therefore, it is necessary to keep the global temperature increase within 2°C. The global energy system needs to undergo a profound transformation from dependence on fossil fuels to an efficient and clean energy system based on renewable energy sources.
With the high price of Bitcoin, a global mining boom has emerged, which has led to a significant increase in Bitcoin's energy consumption. According to statistics, bitcoin mining electricity consumption in the first four months of 2021 is 66 times higher than in 2015. Researchers at the Center for Alternative Finance Research at the University of Cambridge have produced a web-based tool capable of estimating Bitcoin's power consumption. According to this estimation tool, Bitcoin's annual electricity consumption exceeds that of Argentina, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates, and is right up there with Norway. Since the main mining countries and regions rely on electricity sources that are still fossil fuels with high carbon emissions, bitcoin's equivalent of a country's carbon emissions is bound to be hotly debated. Decarbonization of bitcoin power sources led by renewable energy sources is key to the future transition to sustainability.
Several bitcoin miners have already announced increased adoption of clean, green energy sources such as hydro, solar and wind, and will increase transparency in energy use and accelerate sustainability initiatives globally. The goal of SAI Technology is to establish a computing and energy service matrix based on SAIHEAT, and provide clean and sustainable power with more cost performance. It makes use of its own efficient clean power generation and storage and transmission technologies to vigorously develop clean power resources such as photovoltaic points, hydropower and wind power to ensure the continuity and stability of power supply.
Change 2: Turning the whole into zero, computing power center can be mobile
In the past, computing power centers often operated in the form of plants. Under this boom of going overseas, mobile mining farms that integrate multiple sets of equipment such as hot and cold isolation, fans, networks, monitoring and distribution cabinets are rapidly gaining popularity. Mining may be decentralized and clean. Wind energy and water energy have obvious periodic phenomena, so the traditional computing power center can't adapt to the periodic changes of energy. Compared with this, SAIWATT's power supply scheme with stable use of clean energy is matched with portable mobile mines, which directly gets rid of geographical limitations, improves the utilization rate of various clean energy sources, and makes some unstable energy sources effectively converted into computing power.
In addition, the emergence of mobile mining sites fundamentally compresses the construction cycle of traditional mining sites, shortens the time and manpower investment, and makes mobile mining sites more compatible, whether for the pursuit of cheaper energy or for relocation due to force majeure factors. "SAICAB and SAIBOX are the new generation of star products based on the current low-power mining sites, equipment reuse rate demand, and friendly energy cycle utilization. It is a new generation of star products based on the current low power consumption, equipment reuse rate demand, and energy cycle utilization friendliness. It turns the original fixed plant into zero, and also meets the future demand of computing power center to be mobile and more decentralized.
Change 3: mining industry plug-in caused by mining machine upgrade
Following Moore's Law, chip technology has gradually transitioned from 14nm to 7nm, and then to 5nm production lines flowing and put into official production. As a result, the frequency of updating the computing power industry miners is also gradually accelerated. The energy consumption of miners is halving year by year while the computing power is increasing exponentially. As the price of cryptocurrency stabilizes, the mining industry is likely to gradually transform into some subsidiary industries with distinct cyclicality and high energy consumption industries. For example, in some remote areas where natural power generation resources are abundant, if a natural energy power plant is established just to meet the small amount of power demand of local residents, the grid construction is actually not in place. Due to the proliferation of residential areas, the cost of long-distance transmission is high, and the scale of power generation projects is therefore often difficult to expand.
With the gradual maturity of the mining industry, the value of this energy can be fully utilized. People can easily convert the excess electricity into cryptocurrency, fixing the value of electricity sufficiently through the stored value function of cryptocurrency. Similarly, many energy industries generate clean electricity. In the future, the mining industry may be integrated into various industries like a plug-in for energy value conversion, solving the pain point for human beings that existing unstable energy cannot be quickly converted into value.
Change 4: "computing + power + heat" integration of ecology
The existing PoW mechanism is just a game of computing power. All energy will eventually be converted into heat energy, but the heat energy generated by the huge amount of electric energy consumed by mining equipment is basically not recycled. In the future, with the coming of industrial integration, computing power is no longer just a game of computing power, but a shared computing power, which can output certain scientific research results for industries that need a lot of computation, and the heat energy converted from electricity can be recycled in the thermal industry, realizing the reuse of energy. This will be a very comprehensive, open and integrated ecology.
SAI's technology architecture is an essential infrastructure for industrial integration, including such as SAICHIP, which aims to provide efficient new energy chips, and SAIWATT, which guarantees a continuous and stable power supply and solves the problem of unstable supply of clean energy like wind and solar. In addition, SAI also launched a SAIBYTE computing power integration platform with higher cost performance on the business side to further improve energy utilization efficiency. SAI integrates the aforementioned SAIHEAT thermal energy conversion technology, realizing a perfect industrial closed loop, and making "computing + electricity+heat" an open, environmentally friendly and more compatible mining ecological platform.
Due to the shackles of the computing power mining mechanism itself, the energy issue is a problem that Bitcoin must face at a certain stage of development, and it is also a necessary path for Bitcoin to move to a new stage. It is not just a game between computing power and energy, but also a top-down change in the history of cryptocurrency development. Whoever gets a head start on the bitcoin mining transition first will have an advantage in realizing the energy value conversion in the future. After all, bitcoin mining towards 100% renewable energy is something that is bound to happen.
For the bitcoin mining industry, after such a massive reshuffle, the market will also develop on a more rational and scientifically consistent path. Only by solving the bitcoin energy consumption problem at the source can we better stabilize and regulate the cryptocurrency market and make the blockchain industry move forward in a steady manner.
Report Source: https://sai.tech/?p=3789
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