The Xinjiang accident highlights that Bitcoin is a creature of fossil fuels -- principally coal, the dirtiest of them all.
Overall, de Vries reckons that fossil fuels power around 70% of all Bitcoin mines worldwide, and that coal provides the vast majority of that share. "We now know for sure that one-third of all production runs on pure coal from a tiny place in China," he says. [...]
"The miners usually dislike renewables because they don't generate electricity all the time. They want to run 24 hours a day. [...] Green energy is a terrible match for Bitcoin," says de Vries. [...]
Miners are going to unusual places in search of the cheapest power that's also reliable -- and that's almost always fossil fuels. Since sanctions constrain Iran from exporting oil, Tehran is developing a new market inside the nation's borders by luring Bitcoin miners with super-low energy costs. By some reports, Iran now accounts for 8% of the world's Bitcoin production. Kentucky's rural coal fields are becoming a magnet for miners. Lawmakers in the Bluegrass State are proposing two sets of tax incentives: one for buying and upgrading existing power plants, and another break on electricity purchased from the grid, much of it produced from coal.
An immense coal mine in Xinjiang flooded and shut down over the weekend of April 17-18. The blackout halted no less than one-third of all of Bitcoin's global computing power.