Norwegian town wants ‘noisy’ Bitcoin miners out, experts respond

A municipality in Norway is using all means necessary to avoid “energy-sucking” Bitcoin miners establishing further operations, citing noise complaints and energy concerns.

There’s a new Bitcoin (BTC) energy FUD in town: noise. In Sortland, a Norwegian municipality, locals are waging war on Bitcoin miners to thwart further BTC mining developments. Their latest protest against proof-of-work (PoW) mining is that it’s loud. 

It’s not enough that Bitcoin miners in Sortland use 100% renewable energy sources, create jobs and even use waste heat from the PoW process to dry out timber and seaweed for local businesses; they must do so quietly.

Sortland (red) in the extremes of Norway. Source: Google

Kjetil Hove Pettersen, CEO at local KryptoVault, explained that it could be another case of media spin aiming at Bitcoin. He explained the situation to Cointelegraph:

“It is usually the negative voices that get the most media attention; this does not reflect on all local opinions.”

Pettersen detailed that grid owners are, in fact, happy to host Bitcoin miners–as Bitcoin miners help to balance grids (as recently shown in Texas)–and that “There is a political or social cost for being outspoken about that in today’s climate.” The false narratives that media create are not new, according to Pettersen:

“[…] The narrative that we are suppressing other industry establishments by using (the skeptics use the word “wasting”) so much energy, while in fact, the opposite is true. Sometimes we are accused of driving up the energy price, which also is not true.”

Arcane Research analyst Jaran Mellerud and regular Cointelegraph contributor explained: “Northern Norway has a massive electricity surplus due to little local demand and limited transmission capacity.” In the north of Norway, where Sortland is located, energy costs are very low, and stranded hydropower is, in fact, abundant.

Pettersen listed the benefits of Bitcoin mining as adding more revenue to local municipalities’ power grids while supporting grid balance; lowering the overall grid fees for consumers; creating jobs; earning income for the Norwegian treasury as Bitcoin miners pay taxes and finally, contributing to Norway’s national trade balance. That’s without mentioning the direct consequence of Bitcoin mining, securing the world’s largest cryptocurrency.

CSO at the Human Rights Foundation, Alex Gladstein visited Kryptovault and spoke of “positive externalities.” Source: Twitter

Pettersen conceded that the Bitcoin industry has “A lot of work to do in telling our story, and dispelling myths and misconceptions.” Bitcoin provides a lifeline to many around the world–particularly in the global south–but the narrative that Bitcoin mining uses more energy than neighboring Finland continues to compel mainstream media publications.

Related: Seven times Bitcoin miners made the world a better place

Similar to Pettersen, for Mellerud, it’s a question of storytelling and narratives. He sums it up succinctly, “Municipalities in northern Norway should appreciate Bitcoin mining as a way to refine the electricity locally.” He continued:

Bitcoin mining facilities create local jobs and increase the income for the municipalities as they often own the local power-generating companies.”

Unfortunately, narratives that demonize Bitcoin mining and energy consumption continue to make headlines. Noise could be next.

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