Norwegian town wants ‘noisy’ Bitcoin miners out, experts respond

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There’s a new Bit­coin (BTC) ener­gy FUD in town: noise. In Sort­land, a Nor­we­gian munic­i­pal­i­ty, locals are wag­ing war on Bit­coin min­ers to thwart fur­ther BTC min­ing devel­op­ments. Their lat­est protest against proof-of-work (PoW) min­ing is that it’s loud. 

It’s not enough that Bit­coin min­ers in Sort­land use 100% renew­able ener­gy sources, cre­ate jobs and even use waste heat from the PoW process to dry out tim­ber and sea­weed for local busi­ness­es; they must do so quietly. 

Sort­land (red) in the extremes of Nor­way. Source: Google

Kjetil Hove Pet­tersen, CEO at local Kryp­to­Vault, explained that it could be anoth­er case of media spin aim­ing at Bit­coin. He explained the sit­u­a­tion to Cointelegraph:

“It is usu­al­ly the neg­a­tive voic­es that get the most media atten­tion; this does not reflect on all local opinions.”

Pet­tersen detailed that grid own­ers are, in fact, hap­py to host Bit­coin miners–as Bit­coin min­ers help to bal­ance grids (as recent­ly shown in Texas)–and that “There is a polit­i­cal or social cost for being out­spo­ken about that in today’s cli­mate.” The false nar­ra­tives that media cre­ate are not new, accord­ing to Pettersen:

“[…] The nar­ra­tive that we are sup­press­ing oth­er indus­try estab­lish­ments by using (the skep­tics use the word “wast­ing”) so much ener­gy, while in fact, the oppo­site is true. Some­times we are accused of dri­ving up the ener­gy price, which also is not true.”

Arcane Research ana­lyst Jaran Mellerud and reg­u­lar Coin­tele­graph con­trib­u­tor explained: “North­ern Nor­way has a mas­sive elec­tric­i­ty sur­plus due to lit­tle local demand and lim­it­ed trans­mis­sion capac­i­ty.” In the north of Nor­way, where Sort­land is locat­ed, ener­gy costs are very low, and strand­ed hydropow­er is, in fact, abun­dant.

Pet­tersen list­ed the ben­e­fits of Bit­coin min­ing as adding more rev­enue to local munic­i­pal­i­ties’ pow­er grids while sup­port­ing grid bal­ance; low­er­ing the over­all grid fees for con­sumers; cre­at­ing jobs; earn­ing income for the Nor­we­gian trea­sury as Bit­coin min­ers pay tax­es and final­ly, con­tribut­ing to Norway’s nation­al trade bal­ance. That’s with­out men­tion­ing the direct con­se­quence of Bit­coin min­ing, secur­ing the world’s largest cryp­tocur­ren­cy.

CSO at the Human Rights Foun­da­tion, Alex Glad­stein vis­it­ed Kryp­to­vault and spoke of “pos­i­tive exter­nal­i­ties.” Source: Twitter

Pet­tersen con­ced­ed that the Bit­coin indus­try has “A lot of work to do in telling our sto­ry, and dis­pelling myths and mis­con­cep­tions.” Bit­coin pro­vides a life­line to many around the world–par­tic­u­lar­ly in the glob­al south–but the nar­ra­tive that Bit­coin min­ing uses more ener­gy than neigh­bor­ing Fin­land con­tin­ues to com­pel main­stream media publications. 

Relat­ed: Sev­en times Bit­coin min­ers made the world a bet­ter place

Sim­i­lar to Pet­tersen, for Mellerud, it’s a ques­tion of sto­ry­telling and nar­ra­tives. He sums it up suc­cinct­ly, “Munic­i­pal­i­ties in north­ern Nor­way should appre­ci­ate Bit­coin min­ing as a way to refine the elec­tric­i­ty local­ly.” He continued:

Bit­coin min­ing facil­i­ties cre­ate local jobs and increase the income for the munic­i­pal­i­ties as they often own the local pow­er-gen­er­at­ing companies.”

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, nar­ra­tives that demo­nize Bit­coin min­ing and ener­gy con­sump­tion con­tin­ue to make head­lines. Noise could be next. 

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