Bitcoin mining is loud.
Anyone reading that sentence, who hasn’t visited an operational mining farm, is probably imagining a loud restaurant or a running air-conditioning unit. But in this context, “loud” is actually the almost lawless hoarseness of a spinning fan blade producing a noise level similar to that of a fighter jet. Mining gives new meaning to “sound money”.
A bitcoin mining machine produces 70 to 90 decibels (dB) of sound. Decibel levels measure logarithmically, so if a relatively quiet machine produces 75 dB, 10 identical machines produce 85 dB and 100 machines produce 95 dB. For comparison, the average nightclub maintains a noise level of 98 dB – almost deaf.
Bitcoin miners are accustomed to this noise, and responsible site operators always take the necessary precautions to protect their hearing when working inside a mining building. But the noise of a mining farm does not always remain within the walls of its buildings, and mining “noise pollution” is an increasingly popular topic in mainstream news and letters to regulators written by environmental advocacy groups.
However, these outlets often do not understand that bitcoin mining noise pollution is a solved problem. Miners have a number of options available to them for noise control, which can be effective in both large-scale industrial bitcoin farms and small home mining setups. This article explores the status quo concern with mining noise and ways bitcoin miners can reduce noise pollution.
People complain about bitcoin mining noise
Crime, carbon emissions and con artists are generally the favorite talking points for bitcoin critics. Historically, noise pollution is rarely mentioned. But now complaints about mining noise make headlines more often than the average bitcoin investor, and these criticisms have also been included in petitions to federal regulators.
Shore and other mining outsiders turned a small town in North Carolina against its local bitcoin miners. Residents of a rural Ohio community complained to their city’s planning commission about noise levels from a nearby mining facility. As did the residents of Niagara Falls. and residents of Sherbrooke, Quebec, and residents of Labrador City, near Quebec.
After becoming home to bitcoin miners, a Montana county voted unanimously to have its commissioners pass a resolution with new rules for current and future mining operations, including new zoning rules for noise requirements. Similarly, rapid, noise-related zoning changes came about in a small Colorado town that became home to a mining business. A Tennessee judge ruled that the noise from a bitcoin mining site violates local territorial laws, after months of complaints from local residents.
Even outside of North America, bitcoin mining farms are framed as tough neighbors. A Norwegian mining company faced permission issues and serious local protests due to noise from several of its sites. The animosity was so intense that the company received noisy bomb threats from its mining activities.
These headlines are rarely discussed in the bitcoin-focused circles of Twitter and Reddit, but others pay attention to them. A prime example comes from 23 congressmen who recently signed a letter addressed to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling for closer evaluation and stricter regulation of bitcoin mining facilities. The noise was mentioned in three of the eight paragraphs of the letter.
But bitcoin mining noise is a solved problem
Each mining operation – ranging from 10 online machines to 10,000 – can employ a variety of products and strategies to limit noise generation. Noise complaints about bitcoin mining farms will probably multiply before they subside. But there are many possible solutions to this particular problem. Here’s something:
Location is one of the most obvious solutions for noise. If possible, relocate to more remote areas. For example, after facing noise complaints from neighbors near some of its mining sites, Bitfarms announced its plans to select more remote locations for the new sites. The public Canadian mining company also implemented advanced noise monitoring equipment that makes operational adjustments to reduce noise levels in real time.
However, other bitcoin mining companies have opted for slightly less technical solutions to their noise. For example, a natural-gas-powered, off-grid mining site stacks rows of hay bales behind its on-site mining facilities to protect nearby residents from noise. For mining facilities without easy access to hay bales, the possibilities for alternative equipment and materials for noise reduction are nearly endless, including soundproofing tiles, various acoustic barriers, prefabricated noise-proof enclosures, noise insulation foams and more. .
Depending on how the setup is set up, home miners can annoy their nearest neighbors with mining noise – even with few machines. In these situations, tools like black boxes from upstream data are essential. This fire and weather resistant enclosure cuts the noise level of the machine in half.
Some retail-focused bitcoin mining companies are also publishing guides and educational materials on noise reduction for the benefit of their customers. For example, Kaboommax, the leading hardware resale marketplace in the bitcoin industry, produced a step-by-step video tutorial on noise reduction. Compass Mining, a bitcoin startup offering hosted mining services, also published A home mining guide that includes a section with tips for noise management.
Immersion cooling is another sure-fire technique for not only reducing noise, but eliminating it entirely. After all, a miner’s highest decibels are produced by what keeps it from overheating and melting: high-velocity fans. Remove the fan, submerge the hardware in the dielectric fluid and the noise should disappear. The analysis on immersion cooling from brain mining confirms this.
“The removal of the fans and the condensation of the fluid practically eliminates the noise,” reads a recent article from the company.
Sometimes, the key to massive noise reduction is as simple as installing a separate fan. Jesse Pelton, CTO at bitcoin mining and energy infrastructure company HODL Ranch, demonstrated this Video He shared on Twitter. Pelton shows an older generation bitcoin miner, with a factory stock fan running at 78 dB, compared to the same machine with a Noctua fan running at 53 dB – a difference of 25 dB!
It’s Not Just a Bitcoin Problem
Bitcoin mining is noisy. But mining farms aren’t the only type of computing infrastructure facilities to receive noise complaints. Noise pollution is an inherent problem even for traditional data centers. And like bitcoin miners, noise levels of 90 dB or more are common in most data centers.
the Atlantic Writer Bianca Bosker appeared on a technology podcast a few years ago to explain why data centers rarely make for good neighbors. Bitcoin was never mentioned in the conversation, but it could be. The episode had a great title: “Your ‘Cloud’ Data Is Making Noise on the Ground.” Magic Internet Money also makes a lot of noise on the ground.
The noise level of the data center also grabs headlines. According to one report, residents of Chandler, Arizona complained to local police about persistent noise from a data center near their neighborhood. republic of arizona, According to ABC News, Chicago residents complained to everyone from their building supervisors to the mayor’s office, to the health department about unbearable noise coming from the local data center.
It should also come as no surprise that traditional data centers use some of the same technologies available to bitcoin miners for noise reduction. For example, Liquid Cooling provides near-silence for both data centers and bitcoin mines. Other data centers have soundproofed acoustic tiles on their walls to reduce noise levels.
Bitcoin miners may amplify the noisy narrative
Bitcoin mining is loud, but the mining noise is easily manageable. And as for the immersion-cooling features, the noise is completely gone. How seriously regulators such as the US EPA will take public complaints about mining noise pollution is an open question, but the number of headlines about mining noise is increasing, not decreasing.
Miners can run this narrative into trouble before one or more of the many simpler solutions for better noise management is implemented. Bitcoin mining noise is a solved problem, and mining operators should treat it as such.
This is a guest post by Jack Voel. The opinions expressed are solely their own and do not necessarily represent those of BTC Inc. or . reflect the thoughts of bitcoin magazine,