- Actor William Shatner of Star Trek fame wants bitcoin miners to start using solar.
- He’s the spokesman for Solar Alliance, a Canadian solar company.
- Solar Alliance bought a warehouse in Illinois that will be equipped with a 3-megawatt solar array. The company plans to rent the space to bitcoin miners.
William Shatner wants bitcoin miners to think of the planet.
The former Captain Kirk is a spokesman for Solar Alliance, a Canadian solar energy company that wants to help bitcoin miners go green by using solar power.
The company on Wednesday announced it acquired a 165,000 square-foot warehouse in Illinois, where it plans to build out a 3-megawatt solar panel array and rent space to bitcoin miners who need lots of energy to claim new bitcoins.
Shatner, who once called bitcoin a “snob currency” on Twitter, said in a press release he was proud to be part of a company that’s “powering the digital currency revolution.”
“Blockchain technologies, and cryptocurrencies specifically, are at the cutting edge of a new distributed technology infrastructure,” Shatner said. “As an advocate for solar energy I was intrigued by the potential for it to power cryptocurrency mining operations.”
While 3-megawatts is a relatively small solar facility – and bitcoin miners need a lot of power – the company said the Illinois facility is a “strategic entry” into providing solar energy service to the crypto community.
Bitcoin mining is a complicated and energy-intensive process. Miners create new bitcoin by using computers to solve complicated cryptographic problems – and are rewarded with a fresh coin for each solution.
Recent research shows the total energy used for mining bitcoins exceeds the annual energy consumption of 159 countries.
The amount of energy used for a single bitcoin transaction is enough to power a single-family home for almost a month, according to the Dutch bank ING.
Miners tend to cluster in areas, like Eastern Washington state, that have cheap and easy access to electricity, reports Politico. But all that energy use has a major toll on the environment.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), told Business Insider in February that he believes bitcoin’s energy consumption should be taxed.
“You could have environmental regulations of what could be used or a tax on the use of the mines that are going into the bitcoin, so that if they have externalities that they’re causing the environment, that they have to pay a tax on that,” Khanna said.
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