Furt'Her

Can Bitcoin mining be more sustainable?

The case of Terahash

Whenever Bitcoin dominates headlines it’s oftentimes for the wrong reasons, like cases of fraud, money laundering, another top executive being jailed, or a large energy consumption of the Bitcoin network, which is claimed to be harmful to the environment.

This time I’d suggest we look at Bitcoin through a different lens, with the help of the [Terahash.space](http://Terahash.space), a Germany-based provider of energy management services.

Terahash is convinced that the use of Bitcoin data centers can actually be an important tool to help businesses increase their energy efficiency and facilitate the move toward renewable energy sources.

Terahash pinpoints two key issues affecting profitability and exploitation of new energy sources: (i) lack of grid expansion at initial phases not allowing to monetize the project; (ii) difficulty in matching supply with demand, e.g., on days with little wind and sun.

Here is where Bitcoin mining could become a solution!

First, Bitcoin mining could represent a subsidy for new expansion projects in the form of an initial energy consumer. New energy sources can be tapped straight away, without a well-developed infrastructure such as feed-in points, storage or consumers.

Second, miners could consume the access capacity by becoming buyers of last resort. Important to note that for new energy projects, it is required to have substantially more installed capacity available than can be purchased. Why? Because demand has to be covered at all times, even on days with little wind and sun. As a result, the surplus production on days with a lot of wind and sun represents a significant cost factor that needs a buyer or monetarization. This surplus could be monetized instead by Bitcoin miners contributing to the profitability of the project overall.

Thus, Terahash shows how Bitcoin mining could become part of the puzzle of the energy system of the future, rather than a liability as oftentimes portrayed in the media.

Interview with Rachel Geyer from Terahash

  • Rachel, could you tell us a little about yourself? What sparked your interest in Bitcoin and led you to become involved in the industry?

I’m the mother of 4 adult children, and spent 25 years living internationally, in China, Dubai and South Africa with time spent back in Germany in between each posting. I was born in the U.K.. and moved to Germany after my university studies.

My background is in education, and I taught at the University of Regensburg and the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich before our family’s international odyssey began.

I was living in South Africa in 2017 when my eldest son first drew my attention to Bitcoin.  It was only in 2021, ‘thanks’ to the pandemic, and the time and opportunity that gave me to put in a good year of intense study, that the realisation dawned on me that this technology has the wherewithal to change society for the better.   At that point I knew that I had to work for Bitcoin.  I started with a 3-month unpaid internship with a mining company, where I learnt more about the ‘backbone’ of Bitcoin, as well as attending as many Bitcoin events as I could afford and fit into my schedule! 

This networking paid off, and in December 2022 I started working full-time for terahash.space, a German start-up which focuses on Bitcoin mining. As Bitcoin is such a new technology, education plays a large role in our business model, and my role is Head of Education and Company Spokesperson. As a start-up, with just 3 Bitcoin-only employees, we all ‘muck in’ do whatever tasks are necessary, as we find our way along this fascinating new path.  I also serve as Vice-Chair on the Board of the European Bitcoin Energy Association, which has the purpose to inform decision-makers at a national and European level on the potential benefits of Bitcoin mining.  Simultaneously I co-founded Les Femmes Orange – Bitcoin Education Made by Women – to encourage more women to study Bitcoin.

  • Can you tell us about Terahash and its role in the Bitcoin mining ecosystem?

We at terahash see great potential – as well as a need – for Bitcoin mining in Europe.  We believe that a decentralised mining infrastructure is more in keeping with the Bitcoin ethos than how Bitcoin mining is currently developing.  We also believe that Bitcoin mining is a formidable ESG tool that cannot be ignored.

As so often happens, terahash evolved from the need to solve a problem.  Namely, how to combat ever-increasing electricity costs.   Terahash is part of a family-owned group of companies – the Kläger Group – which was established shortly after the Second World War.  Think ‘Made in Germany’ in terms of quality and ethos.  It was becoming increasingly difficult to remain globally competitive due to the upward development of energy prices.  The Kläger Group had installed solar panels at its factory near Augsburg, where cosmetics and high-quality plastic sprayers are produced, and the CEO Kris Kläger, who runs the Group in the third generation, decided to experiment with installing Bitcoin mining to use any excess electricity produced by the solar panels (as feeding in to the grid was financially uninteresting), and to use the resultant heat of the mining process for the production of cosmetics.  It soon became apparent that if he needed a solution to this problem, there would be many other German/European companies facing the same issues, and thus terahash. Energy GmbH was founded.

We not only provide turnkey solutions for clients who want to incorporate Bitcoin mining into their own industrial processes to become more energy efficient and energy independent, but we also provide a white glove hashrate investment service for individuals and businesses looking to invest in sustainable, reliable Bitcoin mining, both in Europe and globally.  We offer bespoke workshops for businesses looking to incorporate Bitcoin and/or Bitcoin mining, as we believe that every company will need to have a Bitcoin strategy in order to survive.

Terahash is a founding member of EBEA – the European Bitcoin Energy Association – which has the purpose to help regulators and law-makers on the national and EU-level to develop an understanding on the potential benefits of Bitcoin mining, to better inform policy-making.  Bitcoin and Bitcoin mining is a new technology, which has not always enjoyed positive press since its birth 15 years ago.  It is now time to change the narrative, by demonstrating with pilot projects, facts and figures how the EU and its citizens can indeed benefit from Bitcoin mining, and that a full or partial ban of this technology, which is nothing other than a flexible data centre, would only be to its detriment.  We believe that Bitcoin can not be stopped, and that the only way forward is to embrace and benefit from this technology.

  • How does Terahash approach energy challenges related to Bitcoin mining?

Bitcoin mining is a global competition, where those with access to the cheapest energy wins.  As opposed to countries with cheap and abundant sources of electricity, Bitcoin miners in countries such as Germany, must become more innovative to make Bitcoin mining economically viable.  We believe in the long run that this will work out in our favour, as we are forced to develop increasingly efficient solutions. 

While we in Europe may currently not be able compete in terms of electricity prices, we can still make mining economically viable by finding a second source of income and/or use-case, such as selling/using the heat produced by the miners, or using mining to help stabilize the grid (whereby the miners are financially compensated in times of peak demand for switching off their machines), or combatting methane emissions (whereby the excess methane is used to power the miners).

Working together with a range of partners, terahash invests time and money in to developing ways to make Bitcoin mining efficient and effective for the European market, to the benefit of our customers. Mining hard- and software and practices are constantly evolving, and we ensure that we stay well abreast of latest developments so that our energy solutions are state-of-the-art. 

  • What advice would you give to other women looking to enter the blockchain and cryptocurrency space?

I cannot speak to the cryptocurrency space in general, as my focus lies purely with Bitcoin, which I believe is the cryptocurrency with the potential to truly transform society.  My strategy is: be open to new ideas, come out of my comfort zone, learn, learn, learn, network, network, network and this has paid off nicely for me.

Interviewed by Iulianna Romanchyshyna 

Comments are closed.