A company is developing a project in Montana (USA) to build one of the largest solar plants in the world. With a cost of 250 million dollars, it intends to generate 300MW of renewable energy (enough to power more than 40,000 homes). A real candy for a rather undeveloped industrial area. Who can oppose that?
The controversy comes because those megawatts are not going to be used for household consumption or local industry but exclusively for mining cryptocurrencies.
There are those who argue that green energy does not make cryptocurrency itself green. There is still the problem of e-waste generated when hardware becomes uneconomical (an all too frequent occurrence) and the question of what will happen if there is not enough solar energy available to power the mining operation. And while the massive solar project seems to be in line with the goals of some (including Elon Musk) primarily in moving away from fossil fuel powered mining operations, it also shows the problems that can arise when trying to create a green energy project. For example, another similar energy project in the area was recently rejected due to aesthetic concerns from residents.
Another point to keep in mind is that the cryptocurrency mining business, despite being completely legal, often attracts dubious people. Recently in Spain the promoter of a similar project, a 20-year-old wunderkind, who intended to create a cryptocurrency mining farm with photovoltaic energy in Malaga (Cryptosolartech) disappeared without returning the money (more than 60 million euros) to investors.
In the case of the Montana project developer, Atlas Power facility manager and FX Solutions owner Rick Tabish was convicted in the early 2000s for the murder of a Las Vegas casino mogul.
He moved into cryptocurrencies in 2018 at the height of the industry boom with in the Atlas Power project (which was initially called CryptoWatt) where he was accused of fueling a $720 million cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme with a separate company. Fortunately the bull run in cryptocurrencies in 2020 and 2021, allowed him to move on by renaming the project as Atlas Power.
So among the challenges to taking cryptocurrencies seriously we have to fix the energy wastage involved in mining cryptocurrencies, the irregular businesses that arise around them and the volatility of their price, which prevent them from being an efficient medium for commercial transactions.