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Think Crypto Mining Can’t be Environmentally Friendly? The Cryptomato Might Make You Think Again

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A Prague-based cryptocurrency entrepreneur has come up with a novel way to offset the energy consumption of his crypto mining rigs. CNBC has published a report about Kamil Brejcha of digital currency exchange NakamotoX. He’s decided to extract the immense heat generated from his mining operation into usable energy for his tomato plants.

Making Crypto Mining That Little Bit Greener

The climate in the Czech Republic makes for a short growing season. This means that a lot of produce must be cultivated inside. Brejcha had the ingenious idea to pump the heat generated by his mining operation directly into his green house. This would allow him to grow his crops well into the winter.

The mining rigs use a lot of electricity and as with most appliances, they’re not 100% energy efficient. They produce a lot of heat that needs to be gotten rid of. Typically, this would be extracted away from the rigs to stop them overheating. To Brejcha, that seemed wasteful. He decided that he’d pipe the hot air directly into his greenhouse. This would allow him to continue producing tomatoes much later than he previously would have been able to.

The entrepreneur took to Twitter to show off the delicious looking produce that he calls “Cryptomatoes”:

Who would imagine that mining cryptocurrencies and agriculture can work together? The first batch of cryptomatoes is ready to be harvested. We are using the excess heat for the tomato greenhouse and it is working:-) pic.twitter.com/U7qqKTshqO

— Kamil Brejcha (@KamilBrejcha) March 10, 2018

Being from a country with as progressive drug laws like the Czech Republic, one Twitter user asked Brejcha why he hadn’t decided to grow cannabis instead of tomatoes. The green-fingered crypto enthusiast responded saying that it was too difficult to get a license to grow medicinal cannabis and so they had opted for “tomatoes and other vegetables instead.”

Others were interested in more details of the operation. However, Brejcha kept his answer secretive. He did, however, highlight that a large portion of the energy going into the mining operation had come from eco-friendly bio-waste:

“In brief, we are an agritechcture stealth start-up, creating an agriculture, energy and blockchain symbiotic solution.”

We have developed something called "Cointainer" which is being placed in the basement and the heat is blown into the greenhouses. More details will be revealed soon. pic.twitter.com/VILRdK3I6k

— Kamil Brejcha (@KamilBrejcha) March 10, 2018

With stories about potential bans on cryptocurrency mining operations like the one we reported from Plattsburgh, NY earlier this month, it’s not surprising that creative types are looking for ways to reduce or offset the energy consumption of mining operations. One of the more popular arguments against proof-of-work cryptocurrencies, after all, is their environmental impact.

Fortunately, Brejcha isn’t alone with his idea of reusing the heat output of mining rigs for other purposes. In November, we reported of two Russian entrepreneurs who were doing similar. However, rather than heating a greenhouse and growing crops, the pair from Siberia were using the excess heat energy to cheaply heat homes in the typically icy part of the world.