Mining can become much more than a coin mining process. Gradually, a new understanding of the well-known consensus mechanism and the solution of complex mathematical problems for verifying and recording transactions in the blockchain is being born. What could be the new applications of the well-known algorithm?
Why do we need mining at all? The answer is likely to be simple and predictable: earn cryptocurrency, for example, bitcoin and maintain the network. This obvious simplicity may change in the near future. More and more different circumstances indicate that cryptocurrency mining will become only a part of mining. In the future, mining and its infrastructure may turn into a significant industry that goes far beyond its original use case.
Already today there are services for the purchase and sale of computing power from mining. They solve different tasks. Most of them are associated with additional mining facilities or optimization of mining investments, for example, receiving remuneration in fiat, bypassing the stages of withdrawal and exchange of the extracted cryptocurrency. In addition to convenience, this method is relevant in jurisdictions with complex or incomplete regulation of cryptocurrency activities, where legislation complicates obtaining legal income from mining. The sale of hash rate allows you to stay in the legal field, receive legitimate remuneration in fiat and safely pay taxes on the sale of computing power, and not on the turnover of cryptocurrencies. But this is still our present day and computing power does not go beyond the industry, in fact, mining.
The explosive development of artificial intelligence (AI), which we observe in real time, is rapidly entering almost all areas of economics and everyday life. Such a pace of development will require a huge amount of computing power from the creators. And there are already examples of successful use of mining equipment not only for mining cryptocurrencies, but also for high-performance computing operations with AI. The events of recent years, such as the crypto winter and the transition of Ethereum from the proof-of-work principle to proof-of-stake, have pushed miners to try to diversify their activities using mining equipment.
For example, mining companies Miner Hut 8 and Hive Blockchain have already used their capacities for cloud computing designed for machine learning and rendering systems. At the same time, companies use ready-made infrastructure of data centers with sufficient cooling, power supply and security. And this is again today. The prospects lie in an area that allows not only the use of mining equipment, but also the decentralized network itself – the blockchain, with its encryption, transparent nature, and lack of centralized management. Such a transformation will be able to illustrate that blockchain is a technology and it is interesting not only for mining cryptocurrencies and even for the financial sector as a whole. Economic fields such as logistics, medicine, and real estate can successfully apply the new technology, combining all the benefits of AI, cloud computing, and decentralization.
In addition to the economic aspect of performing computing operations on mining equipment for systems with artificial intelligence, there is also a security factor that decentralization can provide and bring to a new level.
A globally distributed network that unites miners is much more difficult for governments or other parties to centrally control than a network located on servers owned by ordinary centralized IT giants, as is currently the case. In the conditions of modern geopolitical and cyber threats, this factor becomes very important. Major of the US Space Forces Jason Lowry in his book Softwar called on the country to accumulate bitcoin and develop mining as a "self-defense weapon" in cyberspace.
One of the problems of renewable energy sources is that they are very dependent on natural factors, unlike coal or nuclear power. There are many factors that influence what the energy output will be: sometimes the wind blows harder, sometimes the sun shines less.
It is very important to maintain a balance here. Since the construction of green energy on a global scale is quite expensive, it is necessary to exclude the appearance of excess electricity capacity. To do this, it is necessary to find energy consumers where an overabundance of it is possible. This is where energy-intensive mining comes to the rescue. Thanks to the very flexible ability to turn mining systems on and off, they can act as buyers of excess electricity. With the help of mining, it will be possible not only to use electricity rationally, but also to profit faster from renewable sources.
Such examples already exist. Generating electricity from the disposal of human waste or coal production waste is a great way not only to save on electricity, but also to help keep the planet healthy.
In addition,ReFi (regenerative finance)has recently gained great popularity. They can help in saving energy, as they allow you to use cryptocurrencies to obtain loans to improve the infrastructure of renewable energy sources. This will make it possible to create additional energy facilities and expand nationwide coverage of renewable energy.
The biggest obstacle here is probably not so much technical implementation as ideological biases against mining. In particular, there have been repeated calls among the "greens" to completely ban this technology, since cryptocurrency mining is considered evil and destructive for the climate. Thus, while the arguments in favor of climate-proofing mining are obvious, it is still unlikely that the recognition that mining can help reduce our carbon footprint will prevail in the near future. Mining and the blockchain based on it will make a significant contribution to the transition to green energy. Whether it's the tokenization of CO₂ certificates or peer-to-peer billing systems for decentralized power systems such as charging stations for electric vehicles.