New York State is particularly averse to the energy consumption produced by Bitcoin mining, but since Eric Adams has been the mayor of New York City, the city seems to be moving closer to the crypto world.
Bitcoin mining in New York City
To mine Bitcoin, special machines are used that produce a lot of heat. They basically consume a lot of electricity, converting it all into heat. In fact, they have to be cooled down in order to prevent them from deteriorating.
The electricity is used trivially to randomly mine huge amounts of alphanumeric strings, called hashes, and to test whether they can validate a block. When the hash that validates the block is found, it can be added to the blockchain.
The blocks contain all the transactions to be validated, so when a block is validated by the hash and added to the blockchain all the transactions in it are also validated.
Thus the only product of those machines is a single alphanumeric code, and worldwide there is only one every 10 minutes or so that validates a block.
Therefore practically 100% of the electricity consumed is converted into heat, often unnecessarily, partly because finding that code requires randomly extracting billions of billions of them all over the world.
For this reason, the machines used for Bitcoin mining produce a lot of heat.
Usually that heat is simply lost to the environment, but some miners reuse it to heat things.
The spa in New York City
Yesterday, the BathHouse in New York City posted a reel on Instagram showing what they are doing.
In the video they claim that they are mining Bitcoin, and that they are using the heat produced in this way to heat their pools.
It is worth mentioning that the choice to mine Bitcoin specifically is not random, partly because there are relatively few minable cryptocurrencies now, after Ethereum went to Proof-of-Stake.
In addition to Bitcoin, there are Dogecoin, Litecoin, Monero, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, and a good hundred other cryptocurrencies that are still minable, but Bitcoin capitalizes more than ten times all the others combined.
Indeed, compared to the second most minable cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Dogecoin, the difference in this respect is 65 times.
Thus crypto mining is now totally dominated by Bitcoin, with the other minable cryptocurrencies only carving out a tiny slice of this market.
Another curious thing about BathHouse is that their logo is vaguely reminiscent of Bitcoin’s, albeit in different colors.
Using heat recovery to cut down on pollution
Most importantly, by using the heat produced by Bitcoin mining machines to heat the pools, they actually produce no emissions and no pollution with Bitcoin mining.
In fact, it is as if all the emissions produced were from heating the pools, which should be done anyway. That is, adding Bitcoin mining in this case does not produce any increase in emissions.
In fact, the electricity generated upstream to power Bitcoin’s miners might as a whole generate more emissions than the boilers used to heat the pools might, but only if that electricity were produced from polluting, nonrenewable sources.
Therefore, if the heat generated by the miners is instead produced with electricity from renewable and non-polluting sources, as opposed to gas-fired boilers, the overall emissions might even have been reduced.
It is worth adding that the heat produced by the miners is unlikely to be enough to heat all the pools in the spa, so they are most likely continuing to use boilers anyway as well.
However, at least in this way they should be able to increase revenue a little without increasing energy consumption.