(Infosette News ) AMSTERDAM: Both tulips and bitcoin have historically been linked to financial bubbles, but in a sizable greenhouse outside of Amsterdam, the Dutch are attempting to make them coexist.
Six bitcoin miners, each emitting a loud whine and a burst of heat, are being inspected by engineer Bert de Groot while they work out complicated calculations to earn money.
The hothouse where rows of tulips are grown is now heated by that warmth, reducing the farmers’ dependency on gas, whose price has increased since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The servers are then powered by solar energy collected from the roof, lowering the normally high electricity costs for mining and minimising the environmental impact.
Despite a recent market fall, cryptocurrency is still luring investors, and in the meanwhile, the farmers and de Groot’s business, Bitcoin Brabant, are both making money.
Danielle Koning, a 37-year-old flower farmer, told AFP that she believes this method of heating her greenhouse and earning some bitcoin is a win-win.
The popularity of tulips in the Netherlands led to the first stock market crisis in the 17th century when speculation over bulb prices drove up prices, only for them to subsequently fall.
Currently, the Netherlands is the world’s largest producer of tulips and the second-largest exporter of agricultural products overall, behind the United States. Many of these crops are grown in greenhouses.
However, despite farmers’ struggles with high energy prices, the low-lying nation is acutely conscious of the impact of the agricultural sector on climate change.
In the midst of international attempts to combat climate change, mining for cryptocurrencies consumes enormous quantities of electricity to power computers.
This, according to De Groot, 35, who only started his business earlier this year and currently has 17 customers, including restaurants and warehouses.
Long-haired de Groot, wearing an orange polo shirt with his company’s insignia, claims that “this operation is truly carbon negative, as are all the operations I basically design.”
The environment is getting better thanks to us.
Through a company called Bitcoinbloem, he is also offering to sell tulips online for bitcoin.
After seeing a Twitter video de Groot had posted on bitcoin mining, Koning called him and the two began working together.
There are currently six servers at their hothouse, whose precise location Koning requested remain unknown to prevent burglars from targeting the 15,000-euro computers.
Half of them are owned by Koning’s company, which keeps the bitcoin they generate. De Groot is permitted to keep his three servers there in exchange for monthly visits to clear debris and insects from the servers’ fans.
This generates the heat required to grow the tulips and dry the bulbs that give rise to them, with an air temperature difference of 20 degrees Celsius between the air entering and leaving the machine.
The biggest benefit, according to Koning, is the natural gas savings. “Secondly, well, we operate them in the greenhouse to earn Bitcoin.”
Some Dutch agricultural companies that frequently rely on greenhouses have stopped developing this year as a result of high energy prices, while others have even gone out of business, according to Koning.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin has been compared to the “Tulipmania” that swept the Netherlands over 400 years ago by the philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who created the concept of the unpredictable yet momentous “black swan” event.
Before the bubble burst in 1637, this caused banks to fail and people to lose their life savings as costs for a single bulb increased to more than 100 times the average annual income at the time.
Bitcoin is currently worth about $16,300 per unit, down from a high of $68,000 in November 2021, as the cryptocurrency industry struggles to recover from the bankruptcy of a major exchange, but De Groot is unconcerned.
I have zero concerns about the long-term benefits of an immutable monetary system, he asserts. “Bitcoin is here to stay forever.”