Elon Musk’s eco worries over cryptocurrency mining may have been solved… by an entrepreneur from Bury who has invented a crypto mining machine that can be powered by cow poo.
Josh Riddett – a 30-year-old who developed a fascination with Bitcoin as a business student at Lancaster University – has invented a mining machine aimed at helping farmers tap into their on-site renewable energy.
And since Elon Musk sent the price of Bitcoin crashing with his mischievous tweets and new-found love for environmental issues, enquiries for Josh’s £18,000 units have surged. His company – Easy Crypto Hunter – has taken £5 million in global sales orders already.
Bitcoin mining often comes at the expense of using huge amounts of electricity – something Elon Musk expressed grave concerns about as he announced Tesla would no longer be accepting the flagship cryptocurrency as payment, despite gleefully announcing it would only days earlier.
Cryptocurrency markets rocketed at the first announcement, with Bitcoin hitting an all-time high above $62,000. However, the U-turn and subsequent meme-addled tweets that followed were enough to cause a serious dip that saw Bitcoin’s value halve and strip back the price of all major alt coins.
The carbon footprint issue has proved to be one of cryptocurrency’s biggest stumbling blocks since its invention more than a decade ago.
Since Musk’s mocking tweets threw a spotlight on the issue, boffins have been hell-bent on trying to find a solution. And, while many believe Elon Musk is already secretly cooking up a green scheme of his own, the answer may already be available in the form of a mining rig capable of running on cow dung.
Measuring a mere 70cm x 35cm x 40cm, Josh Riddett’s machines are designed to mine other digital currencies like Ravencoin and Ethereum and use less energy. The firm’s mining rigs have, so far, averaged approximately £30,000 each in annual profits over a three-year period, with the bulk of these gains made in 2021 as digital currencies won institutional acceptance.
Josh — who was among delegates at an EU summit on crypto last year — says the company has been experiencing huge growth in sales among the UK’s agricultural community as farmers tap into on-site renewable energy.
One green site hosts 40 mining computers which run 24/7. The site is powered using anaerobic digestion (AD) machines which turn animal waste into renewable energy.
Farmers with renewable energy sources like solar, hydro, wind or anaerobic digestion can sell their power to the National Grid for around four to seven pence per kilowatt hour — but they can earn up to ten times that running a crypto mining machine instead.
“Years ago, farmers were encouraged to develop green energy solutions, which is one of the reasons why we’ve seen solar panels appear in fields over the last 10 years, and these schemes came with good financial incentives,” Josh explained.
“More recently, those incentives have dwindled to virtually zero – but our machines are now providing those lost incentives.”
Josh is also keen to dispel the stereotypical image of farmers perhaps not being tech savvy or tuned into DeFi solutions.
“Farming is getting much harder, and that is something which will often drive a farmer to diversify in order earn a good living,” he added.
“There’s a lot of diversification going on in farming these days and, while the average age of our agricultural customers is 58, the vast majority of farmers now can talk about technology with the same confidence they talk about cows and pigs.”
The young businessman’s interest in cryptocurrency mining developed from ideas that were spawned while he was president of the Entrepreneur Society at Lancaster University.
“I’ve always been business minded, but I’m not a tech nerd” he said.
“I own the business, but I couldn’t even write a single line of code.
“I just had months and months of studying the market to learn about cryptocurrency and blockchain while having lots of late nights watching YouTube videos about it.”