The balance of Bitcoin mining around the globe is shifting as new nations emerge as leaders. Iceland has become one of them due to its abundance of renewable energy.
Iceland has become one of Europe’s last Bitcoin mining refuges, according to Hashrate Index. Furthermore, the island nation has massive amounts of stranded hydro and geothermal energy.
On Feb. 21, Bitcoin mining researcher Jaran Mellerud reported on the state of Bitcoin mining in Iceland. He noted that the tiny country is the biggest hash rate producer per capita globally— and it’s no newbie to BTC mining either.
“Thanks to its cheap electricity and entrepreneurial locals, it was one of the first countries outside China to see industrial-scale Bitcoin mining emerge.”
Iceland, a BTC Mining Pioneer
Mellerud estimated that the BTC mining industry in the country consumes around 120 megawatts of electricity. This equates to a global hash rate of 1.3% which doesn’t sound like much. However, Iceland’s population is around 370,000, making the nation the biggest hash rate producer per capita.
Furthermore, there are several large international companies with operations in Iceland. These include Bitfury, Hive Blockchain, Genesis Mining, and several other domestic firms.
Iceland is powered by volcanoes and waterfalls, making it the most electricity-rich country in the world. It generates almost double that of the second country on the list, Norway, a powerhouse for Bitcoin mining and Europe’s largest mining hub. In fact, the two nations are the only two in the world fully powered by renewable energy.
The report noted that this stranded geothermal and hydro energy makes electricity prices extremely cheap in Iceland, among the cheapest in the world.
However, miners have reported that accessing energy allocations for new data centers is getting harder. This means that the growth potential will likely remain at current levels for the foreseeable future.
Unlike China and, more recently, the United States, Iceland is regarded as one of the most politically stable nations in the world. With that in mind, Mellerud concluded:
“Miners have operated there for nearly ten years without any significant issues with the authorities, potentially making it the most stable Bitcoin mining jurisdiction globally.”
Bitcoin Mining Outlook
Network hash rate hit an all-time high of 318 exahashes per second (EHs) this week, according to Blockchain.com. It is currently hovering just below those levels after increasing by 25% since the beginning of this year.
BTC hash rate and price one-year chart by Blockchain.com
Network difficulty is also close to its peak at 39T, making it more competitive among miners to secure the next block. However, the increase in BTC prices has improved mining profitability by 35% since the beginning of 2023.
BeInCrypto has reached out to company or individual involved in the story to get an official statement about the recent developments, but it has yet to hear back.