Yesterday, Blockstream announced an official partnership with Macquarie, a financial services giant, to develop and operate carbon neutral Bitcoin mining facilities.
Who is Macquarie Group and why a partnership with Blockstream?
Macquarie Group Limited is a multinational investment bank headquartered in Australia, operating in 31 countries and employing over 15,000 people. According to the IPE Real Assets “Top 50 infrastructure investment managers 2018”, it is also the world’s largest infrastructure asset manager.
It manages A$595 billion worth of assets and operates in both the banking and finance and commodities sectors. Its various services also include asset management, leasing and financing, renewable energy development and capital raising.
Mining and security for Bitcoin
Blockstream’s first joint project with Macquarie will take place in North America, and will use Blockstream’s mining facilities “to provide additional security to the Bitcoin network”.
In fact, Blockstream is one of the largest Bitcoin miners in North America, so this is a very important project in terms of Bitcoin activity outside of China.
The goal is to create alternative and above all renewable Bitcoin mining projects, and the new initiative with Macquarie will include the start-up of new hosting of mining hardware, with the possibility of scaling up gradually as the new infrastructure based on “green” energy is implemented.
It is worth noting that Macquarie is also one of the largest institutional investors in renewable energy infrastructure, with a total of 44 Gigawatts of installed power under construction as of March 31, 2021.
For comparison, 44 GW could produce up to 385 Terawatt hours in a year, which is almost three times the entire global energy consumption of Bitcoin mining.
Blockstream’s Bitcoin mining projects
Already in the past months, Blockstream had raised hundreds of millions of dollars of investment for green Bitcoin mining in North America, also thanks to the participation of Square and Jack Dorsey.
The fact is that, while it seems impossible to reduce the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining (which continues to increase), it would be very important to ensure that much of the energy used comes from sustainable sources.
Elon Musk and Bitcoin
It was precisely the excessive consumption of energy from unsustainable sources that Elon Musk justified when he stopped accepting bitcoin as a means of payment for Tesla. Indeed, Musk himself later explicitly said that Tesla would resume accepting BTC if it could be proven that more than 50% of the energy consumed by bitcoin mining comes from renewable sources.
It is very important that, with the sharp reduction in mining activity in China and the sharp increase in North America, there is also a rapid and consistent replacement of non-renewable sources with sustainable and documentable ones.
In such a scenario, the initiatives of a giant such as Blockstream in this direction can give a strong impetus to this change, which is as desired as it is important. Probably the biggest problem with Bitcoin today is the high consumption of energy from polluting sources, so trying to reduce this is a very important initiative.
Furthermore, large mining farms can’t go unnoticed, so it shouldn’t be difficult to monitor them to establish which sources they use, and in what quantities. If these data, once collected, were somehow certified and published, it is possible to imagine that, sooner or later, the target set by Elon Musk could be reached.