Daniel Roberts is the co-founder of Iris Energy. In this interview, we discuss misconceptions about energy consumption in Bitcoin mining and the resultant impact on the value and perception of Bitcoin. We also talk about Iris Energy’s commitment to using 100% renewable energy, Bitcoin mining stabilizing the energy grid in Texas, the downside protection of low-cost Bitcoin mining, the challenges of scaling Bitcoin mining, and the correlation between Bitcoin mining and AI.
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Iris Energy is Australia’s largest homegrown Bitcoin miner, and full disclosure, the lead sponsor of What Bitcoin Did. It is an unabashed advocate of decarbonisation, with a commitment to power its operations using 100% renewable energy. It is one of the market leaders in targeting under-utilised renewable energy sources. And, whilst its core business is Bitcoin mining, the company is expanding its next-generation data centres to target the generative AI market.
Despite the proven positive contribution to supporting energy grids, mitigating climate change and supporting communities with well-paying professional jobs, Bitcoin mining FUD is still affecting the perception of the industry within influential groups. With Iris Energy’s co-founder Daniel Roberts, we discuss the common misconceptions of Bitcoin mining’s energy consumption, and why these misunderstandings still gain traction in the media.
We talked about the challenges of scaling Bitcoin mining: mining companies like Iris have to manage the physical limitations of increasing power consumption and the difficulty of developing large-scale energy infrastructure. They also have to hedge against price volatility. However, Daniel explains how low-cost miners have a unique downside protection that further incentivises the drive to exploit cheap energy sources.
The podcast also covers Iris’s expansion into supporting demand for AI computation. Daniel explains the correlation between the needs for Bitcoin mining and AI, and how their approach is not solely focused on Bitcoin mining but rather on building power-dense data centres optimized for various digital demand drivers. This means the competitive advantage in the industry has shifted from chip manufacturers to those who can build large-scale infrastructure businesses.