With all of the extra capacity that major bitcoin miners are promising, the bitcoin network's hash rate – or computing power devoted to mining new coins – is likely to double over the next year, according to Dave Perrill, CEO of compute infrastructure company Compute North.
“Expect it to double next year, as major industry players promise that hundreds of megawatts of capacity will come online in 2022,” Perrill added in the comments shared with Cryptonews.com.
He added that even if the predictions of two-fold increases in hash rate don't come to fruition, we still predict increases of over 3GWs of power coming online throughout US, based on the commitments made by major players in the field.
Perrill's comments follow recent reports that the hash rate on the bitcoin network has fully recovered from China's mining shutdown, which occurred as a result of a ban on bitcoin and most other crypto-related activities. The shutdown, which occurred as a consequence of an overall prohibition on cryptocurrency and associated operations, saw the greatest migration of miners out of any country
The bitcoin mining business is flourishing in the United States, having previously been dominated by China.
As of December 15, the bitcoin mining hash rate was at 175E, a decrease from an all-time high of 190E reached on December 9 (based on a 7-day moving average).
Despite the fact that mining has become more popular in the West, critics have increased their attacks. Swedish regulators have proposed an EU-wide ban on Proof-of-Work mining, while miners around the world are also being targeted by environmentalists who claim that it is a waste of electricity.
However, according to Dave Perrill, the transition of miners to renewable energy sources is just getting started. “In 2022, large energy producers and grid operators will get more involved in the crypto market, as low-cost, scalable, and renewable energy will continue to be critical to the mining supply chain,” he predicted.
He also said that miners will adhere to a carbon net-neutral policy, and that investments in things like Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) and Emission-Free Energy Certificates (EFECs) will become more widespread. However, it remains to be seen if a greater emphasis on renewable energy usage in mining is enough for opponents.
Last week, another assault on the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism came from a Ripple team member, when Chris Larsen, the firm's CEO, called for bitcoin to abandon Proof-of-Work, calling it a "climate disaster", and instead adopt a type of alternative Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm.
“The emerging solution among climate experts is that Bitcoin’s code needs to be changed to a low energy consensus algorithm like those used by nearly all other major crypto protocols,” the Larson proposed.
Nic Carter, co-founder of Coin Metrics and Castle Island Ventures' founding partner, called the idea "the stupidest thing I've come across this year."
Some US lawmakers, such as Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, have expressed a negative view towards Proof of Work. In a letter, Senator Warren questioned the environmental effects of mining operations in New York state, writing “Given the extraordinarily high energy usage and carbon emissions associated with Bitcoin mining, mining operations at Greenidge and other plants raise concerns about their impacts on the global environment, on local ecosystems, and on consumer electricity costs.”