When Waste Processing Meets Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency has absolutely nothing to do with waste processing. Well, think again.

One particular cryptocurrency miner is about to use waste-to-energy to power their incredibly energy intensive mining machines. Ukrainian startup Zeus uses an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) to attract investors for their waste-processing plant, which will generate the electricity needed to power their mining machines. Any surplus will be sold to the grid and revenue added to the bottom line.

Another cryptocurrency mining company, Standard American Mining, powers its mining farm by burning waste tires.

Yes, you read it right. Zeus and Standard American Mining have boldly gone where no one has gone before, and with the rise and rise of cryptocurrency, they are open up new, exciting opportunities for other waste processors and recyclers.

So what is cryptocurrency, and how is it ‘mined’? Merriam-Webster Online dictionary (yes it’s been added to the dictionary) defines ‘Cryptocurrency’ as:

“any form of currency that only exists digitally, that usually has no central issuing or regulating authority but instead uses a decentralized system to record transactions and manage the issuance of new units, and that relies on cryptography to prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions”

It is ‘mined’ instead of being centrally issued. This is done by amassing large numbers of specialised, dedicated computers to solve extremely complex mathematical problems. Unsurprisingly, this consumes huge amounts of computing and electrical power.

And I do mean huge. More than what Ireland consumes in a year!

To meet cryptocurrencies’ huge energy problem, some miners are turning to clean energy like hydropower, solar, wind and geothermal energy. Zeus and Standard American Mining are among the first (and few) to utilise waste-to-energy, effectively marrying cryptocurrency mining and waste processing. In fact, as I write this, construction are already underway at the Zeus facilities.

If this takes off, what opportunities abound for waste management and recycling companies?

Here’s an obvious one – E-waste. Lots and lots of it.

As the value of cryptocurrency grows, the incentive to mine it grows, and so will the population of miners (and their armies of computers).

These computers will need periodic upgrades, which generates a steady stream of e-waste. In ‘going green’, miners will most likely work with e-waste recyclers to manage their e-waste. This means there are opportunities aplenty for those electronic waste and precious metals recyclers who are ready and able to meet the needs of the crypto-miners.

Or maybe a recycler can raise much-needed operating funds like Zeus did with its ICO, promising very attractive returns to would-be investors. Or perhaps one day, a new miner might just come along and marry crypto-mining with another form of waste management, bringing another revolution to the recycling scene.

The impact of cryptocurrency that we see today is just the tip of the iceberg. As an emerging industry, its potential to influence recycling and businesses has yet to be fully explored.

How do you see cryptocurrency impacting your recycling business? Share your thoughts with us at info@brmetalsltd.com. We’d love to hear from you.