James Bowers, Chief editor at Polytechnique Insights
On September 22nd, 2021
4 mins reading time
Mathematician and Emeritus Professor at Université de Lille
Originally worth $0, each bitcoin is now worth $43,144 (on 21st September 2021), with a capitalisation of $800bn, representing ~44% value of all crypto-currencies.
The release and circulation of bitcoins is operated by a network of computers that works without a central authority (peer-to-peer network).
In a process known as « mining », bitcoin used a proof of work, which involves a significant expenditure of electricity, where miners can win ~$270,000 (on 21st September 2021).
Jean-Paul Delahaye estimates bitcoin energy consumption at 31TWh/year, equivalent to four nuclear reactors.
To reduce this energy consumption, the network could move away from a proof-of-work protocol – such as those used by other cryptocurrencies – but it is unlikely to happen as there is little incentive for bitcoin holders.
Director of External and International Relations at Qarnot Computing
Founded in 2010, Qarnot Computing uses warmth emitted by computer servers to heat buildings.
The company now also offers a digital boiler that produces hot water at over 60°C.
They estimate that they can reduce CO2 emissions by 81% compared to conventional data centre models.
New sectors are interested in the technology, especially in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, fluid mechanics software and medical research.
Qarnot Computing also plans to sell the boiler as a stand-alone solution in the near future, meaning that a customer could buy a boiler and use it both for computing and for heating water.
Sophy Caulier has a degree in Literature (University Paris Diderot) and in Computer science (University Sorbonne Paris Nord). She began her career as an editorial journalist at 'Industrie & Technologies' and then at 01 Informatique. She is now a freelance journalist for daily newspapers (Les Echos, La Tribune), specialised and non-specialised magazines and websites. She writes about digital technology, economics, management, industry and space. Today, she writes mainly for Le Monde and The Good Life.
James Bowers has a PhD in molecular biology from the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle and an MSc in Science Media Production from Imperial College London. He has six years of experience creating engaging scientific media in digital, TV and other outlets in the UK and France. Most recently, James worked as a science communication consultant and trainer for a French agency, Agent Majeur, for three years where he co-authored the book, Sell Your Research: Public Speaking for Scientists published by Springer.