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IEA Report: Bitcoin Causes 0.03%-0.06% of Global CO2 Emissions

The International Energy Agency says Bitcoin mining is likely responsible for 10‑20 Mt CO2 per year.

According to a report released on July 23 by the International Energy Agency Bitcoin (BTC) mining is likely responsible for 10‑20 Metric tons (Mt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year or 0.03-0.06% of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.

Bitcoin consumed more in 6 months than Ireland in 12

Per the report, the recent price and hash rate increase of the Bitcoin network increased its energy consumption, and it is estimated that during the first six months of 2019 it has already consumed 29 TWh. This is more than the annual energy consumption of Ireland (26 TWh).

Annual Bitcoin’s energy consumption estimates range from 20 TWh to 80 TWh, with the agency’s own estimate being 45 TWh. But despite allegedly consuming more energy than Ireland, this means Bitcoin still consumes less than electric vehicles (58 TWh in 2018).

Bitcoin mining is mostly powered by renewable energy

The report’s author further points out that Bitcoin mining hotspots tend to start in places rich in cheap, renewable energy. The paper also cites research claiming that roughly 76% of the energy consumed by Bitcoin is renewable and using this data its estimates of CO2 emissions.

This last point is in line with the estimates of cryptocurrency investment products and research firm CoinShares, which estimated that 74.1% of bitcoin mining is powered by renewable energy in its biannual mining report released in June.

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Energy Company E.ON Files Blockchain Patent for Data Analytics Device

The international company E.ON has applied for a patent for a device that collects data and allows the customer to manage its sale.

Energy network company E.ON has filed a patent application for a blockchain-based data collector with the European Patent Office. 

E.ON announced the patent filing on the company’s website on July 19.

As per the announcement, the device in question makes use of sensors to collect user data, which the user can then choose to sell as data analytics. According to the announcement, users supply data from smart home applications. 

E.ON claims that the customer has sole control over who accesses any given portion of their data. This includes E.ON itself, who cannot access customer data without explicit consent.

Regarding the role of blockchain technology in this new device — which is reportedly shaped like a small box roughly the size of a €5 bill — is to safeguard data privacy, alongside “highly secure encryption.”

Chief digital and technology officer Matthew Timms said that a solution for customers to pick and sell their data for analytics is a new innovation:

“Our Future Lab team has managed to combine blockchain and big data with a simple hardware solution. We want our customers to have absolute control over the analysis of their data. The ability to sell parts of these analyses within a more secure, traceable framework is completely new.”

According to the announcement, a prototype of the device has passed international safety tests and receiving certification from German testing laboratory SGS. Additionally, the current roadmap for the product includes customer testing by the year’s end, and an official launch as early as next year.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Napster creator Shawn Fanning’s new company Helium has begun testing a blockchain-based wireless hotspot initiative. These devices, called Helium Hotspots, are intended to form the backbone of a decentralized internet service. In addition, these hotspots contain sensors that can track information like location and heat, which have potential in use cases like wildfire prevention and even tracking pets.

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Steve Wozniak Co-Founds Blockchain-Based Energy Saving Firm in Malta

Steve Wozniak has co-founded a company in Malta, which will reportedly use blockchain technology to save energy.

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of American tech giant Apple, has invested in a new blockchain-based company headquartered in Malta. Wozniak is now the co-founder of energy efficiency company Efforce, according to a report by Maltese news daily The Malta Independent on July 18.

Wozniak co-founded the company alongside Jacopo Visetti, who — according to his LinkedIn profile — works in the renewable energy and environment sector. According to this page, Visetti co-founded Efforce in January, 2018 — approximately one year and seven months ago. 

According Efforce’s LinkedIn page, the company provides the first blockchain-based platform focused on investing in energy efficiency, with its stated goal “to be recognized as the first and main platform in the world for tokenized energy savings.”

As per the report, Wozniak recently spoke about Efforce at the pre-launch for the Delta Summit, which is a blockchain conference held in Malta. 

Wozniak reportedly spoke about how he thinks blockchain will be a great boon to decreasing the public’s environmental impact without requiring people to change their habits. Wozniak also spoke on the local government’s pro-blockchain attitude as key to Efforce’s decision to launch in Malta.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Wozniak also co-founded a blockchain investment project in October 2018. He founded the venture capital fund EQUI Global to support investments in blockchain solutions.

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Police in China Seizes 4,000 Crypto Miners After Abnormal Energy Spike

China’s police confiscated 4,000 crypto mining units that were illegally deployed at nine factories.

Police in China arrested 22 suspects allegedly involved in illegal crypto mining activity that led to energy loss worth of about $3 million, local media outlet XinhuaNet reports on July 12.

Police in Jiangsu, China’s eastern-central coastal province, have reportedly seized 4,000 hardware units that were illegally used to mine cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin (BTC) at nine factories.

According to the report, Jiangsu police launched a criminal investigation after a local power firm reported an abnormal spike in electricity consumption. After almost two months of investigation, the police in the city of Zhenjiang in Jiangsu detected a group of criminals allegedly involved in the case.

Each mining unit was deploying 25 to 50 kilowatt hours of electricity at industrial prices per day, with the criminals having reportedly stolen power worth of around 20 million Chinese yuan ($2.91 million), the Zhenjiang-based power supply company reported.

China is a known crypto mining giant, reportedly responsible for 70% of all cryptocurrencies generated annually despite the ban of bitcoin trading in 2017. Many Bitcoin mining pools are based in China due to the massive surplus of cheap electricity. The country is home to Bitmain, the world’s largest crypto-mining hardware producer that manufacture crypto-specific mining computer chips known as ASICs.

Earlier in June, police in China collected evidence of people laying cables via fish ponds to steal oil well power to fuel their Bitcoin mining. Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports suggest that some Chinese miners are also setting up operations in Iran due to the cheap energy prices.

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Shell Invests in Blockchain-Based Energy Startup

The world’s fifth top oil and gas firm, Shell, has invested in a blockchain-based energy firm.

Shell, the world’s fifth largest oil and gas firm, has invested in a blockchain-based energy startup, Forbes reports on July 10.

The European oil and gas giant has invested an undisclosed amount in New York-based LO3, whose Exergy platform tracks energy with blockchain technology.

The recent investment in LO3 marks Shell’s fourth public investment in blockchain-related firms, Forbes noted, listing platforms such as Vakt, Komgo, and Applied Blockchain as other portfolio blockchain companies.

According to the report, Shell has an option to convert its investment in LO3’s native tokens called XRG, which will be used to incentivize the platform and will be required to access the distributed energy grid. The company originally planned to raise funds through an initial coin offering (ICO) by using XRG, but put those plans on hold, the report notes.

LO3’s Exergy is currently based on the Ethereum blockchain but is also being designed to integrate with the EOS blockchain, according to Forbes.

Since late 2018, Shell has been a member of Vakt, a blockchain-based platform for energy commodity trading, alongside with major oil firms including BP and Equinor.

Recently, Australia-based startup Power Ledger announced the launch of its peer-to-peer energy distribution network in Graz, the second-largest city in Austria. Similar to LO3, the company intends to optimize energy management and to gradually shift to zero-carbon energy.

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U.S. Clean Energy Firm Clearway Energy Will Test Blockchain for Renewable Energy Trading

US clean energy development firm Clearway Energy Group is launching a pilot program for trading renewable energy credits on a blockchain.

United States-based clean energy development firm Clearway Energy Group is launching a pilot program for trading renewable energy credits on a blockchain, Bloomberg reported on June 28.

Per the report, Clearway Energy partnered with Ethereum (ETH)-based energy trading startup Power Ledger to jointly build a system for trading renewable energy certificates. Power Ledger reportedly told Bloomberg that initially the solution will be tested in Massachusetts, generating one to five megawatts of electricity, while the second test will take place in the Midwest and generate upwards of 20 megawatts.

The report further notes that the U.S. renewable energy certificates market is currently valued at over $3 billion and suggests that transaction costs can add another 3% to 10% to the certificates themselves. According to Bloomberg, Power Ledger Executive Chairman Jemma Green said that while digital certificate trading options exist, their costs add up when they are aggregated through brokers or bilateral contracts across state lines.

Lastly, Green reportedly also announced that the company plans for the tests to continue for several months, and the service is planned for expansion in early 2020.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, Power Ledger will roll out its peer-to-peer (P2P) network in Graz, the second-largest city in Austria.

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Iranian Authorities Confiscate 1,000 Bitcoin Mining Machines

Authorities in Iran have confiscated about 1,000 units of bitcoin mining machines from two now-defunct factories.

Authorities in Iran have confiscated about 1,000 units of bitcoin (BTC) mining machines from two now-defunct factories, BBC reported on June 28

As reported, local authorities noticed a surge in electricity consumption by 7% earlier in June and linked it to cryptocurrency mining activities. Officials subsequently discovered and removed the mining hardware from two former factories. 

Arash Navab, an electricity official, reportedly said that “two of these bitcoin farms have been identified, with a consumption of one megawatt.”

An Oxford researcher told the BBC that Iranians are increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as a means of skirting sanctions.

Cointelegraph recently reported that Iranian BTC miners were moving into mosques as the government launches an energy crackdown. Iran, which offers free energy to mosques, now has around 100 miners occupying places of worship, generating around $260,000 a year.

The Iranian government thus will be cutting off power to crypto mining until new energy prices are approved. Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, an official at Iran’s Ministry of Energy, reportedly stated that crypto miners “will be identified and their electricity will be cut,” adding that the ministry must enforce such actions as the current overconsumption of electricity is “causing problem for other users.”

Unauthorized use of electricity for crypto mining has become widespread. Recently, police in China reportedly gathered evidence of people laying cables via fish ponds to steal oil well power to fuel their mining hardware.

In the German city of Klingenthal police reportedly tracked down a system of 49 computers operating on the premises of a former electrical services company. Since 2017, the mining farm has reportedly consumed as much electricity as 30 households, with the damage for the affected electricity supplier estimated to around 20,000 euros ($250,053).

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Republic of Abkhazia Develops Law Draft on Crypto Mining

The Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Abkhazia has developed a bill regulating the country’s cryptocurrency mining activities.

The Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Abkhazia has developed a law draft on the settlement of cryptocurrency mining activities in the country, local news outlet Sputnik Abkhazia reported on June 24.

The press service of the Ministry told Sputnik that the drafted bill was approved and sent to the Cabinet of Ministers of the republic. The proposed regulation defines legal, economic, organizational, and technical rules for the implementation of mining cryptocurrency activities in the republic. 

To conduct crypto mining operations, one will have to register as a legal entity or an entrepreneur, as well as register with the revenue authorities as a taxpayer and obtain a license for cryptocurrency mining activities.

The report outlined that the law will leave open the possibility of introducing temporary restrictions on use of the republic’s power system for cryptocurrency mining in the event of crisis situations in the energy grid, such as infrastructure limitations or power shortages.

In December 2018, the government of Abkhazia banned cryptocurrency mining on the country’s electric power system.

As reported in January, the Abkhazian government cut power to 15 facilities with a total capacity of 8,950 kilowatt-hours (kWh), which was purportedly equivalent to the electricity consumption of 1,800 households. The cuts were part of a series of “temporary measures to limit the consumption of electricity by certain categories of subscribers.”

Earlier in June, Anatoly Aksakov, the chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on the Financial Market, said that the government may introduce administrative responsibility for digital currency mining by the end of the month.