Source: AdobeStock / Eric Gevaert
With the debate on crypto mining’s energy use increasingly involving renewable sources, a rising number of UK farmers are reaching for a surprising reservoir of power – cow waste, aka dung – using this traditional, multipurpose resource to generate electricity for carbon-neutral crypto mining operations, therefore to diversify and up their revenues.
Currently, a share of the country’s farmers produce electricity from manure and sell it to the National Grid, the company that operates the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales. Selling renewable power to the National Grid can earn farmers around GBP 0.07 (USD 0.1) per kilowatt, but running a crypto rig can earn GBP 40 (USD 56.4) a day, and some USD 21,000 a year, according to UK daily Metro.
In line with the trend, Easy Crypto Hunter, a UK firm that specializes in making crypto mining hardware, has observed a major uptake from farmers who are looking to diversify and increase their revenues.
“More recently, solar panel incentives have dwindled to virtually zero but our machines are now providing those lost incentives,” said Josh Riddett, CEO of Easy Crypto Hunter. “Farming is getting much harder, and that is something which will often drive a farmer to diversify in order to earn a good living.”
The company uses manure — methane-turned-electricity to be precise — to operate its own hardware and mine carbon-neutral cryptocurrency. They and their clients mine cryptos like ethereum (ETH), but not bitcoin (BTC), "because it’s not as energy efficient as other coins and it’s not as profitable," according to Riddett.
He said that four years ago, when the company launched its activities, green energy was “not on [its] customers’ radar,” but that currently, it accounts for about 40% of East Crypto Hunter’s business and continues to grow every day.
“There’s a lot of diversification going on in farming these days and, while the average age of our agricultural customers is 58, the vast majority of farmers now can talk about technology with the same confidence they talk about cows and pigs,” he said.
An increasingly heated debate surrounding the use of renewable energy for bitcoin mining has been further fueled by Elon Musk’s recent decision to suspend Tesla’s support for BTC payments over environmental concerns. The move was a part of the avalanche that caused bitcoin’s price to crash last month, but most recently, the entrepreneur said his auto business would resume supporting BTC payments once “there’s confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend.”
Per Ridett, “Elon Musk wiped billions off global crypto markets when he said Bitcoin mining was bad for the environment but what we’re doing couldn’t be greener.”