It takes a lot of energy for miners to verify transactions and mint new blocks on the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain. According to Statistica, one Bitcoin transaction consumes as much electricity as over 1 million VISA transactions. Moreover, the cryptocurrency's environmental burden increases even more if the energy used for mining stems from fossil fuels.
But SAITech, a Eurasia-based Bitcoin mining operator with headquarters in Singapore, seeks to recycle the waste energy from mining for use in residential, agricultural and industrial applications. The company is also undergoing a $228 million special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, merger with TradeUP Global Corp for its stock to list on the NASDAQ exchange. In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, SAITech's CEO Arthur Lee discussed the company's heat capture technology, its efficiency, energy use of mining rigs and the road ahead after its SPAC merger:
.@knutsvanholm we @SAI2TECH make your vision come true. Our plug-and-play #bitcoin mining centers can get close to where idle energy is and convert it into #digital assets. #BTC #SAI #SAITECH https://t.co/QouvjgpAoy— SAI (@SAI2TECH) November 19, 2021
Cointelegraph: Would you mind describing your liquid cooling and waste heat recovery technology in simple terms?
Arthur Lee: SAI is a clean energy crypto mining operator. We offer to host services with leading energy-saving solutions to computing power and heating. You can regard us as a horizontally integrated clean energy company; we provide services for the computing, electricity and heating industries. But for now, we mainly focus on the Bitcoin mining industry because it consumes so much energy. We want to find solutions for the whole industry and make it better, decrease the carbon emissions and enhance the efficiency for the entire industry. For now, we just provide a liquid cooling system, saying we reuse the heat from the miners and provide heating services for our customers, by which we can just save the electricity used to be used for two parts: one is for heating, one is for computing.
But for now, we can just use only [the] part for electricity. After we finish the computing test, we will provide a heating service. Based on that, we released our carbon footprint and ESG report this year. Through our method, we can prove that we can save more electricity and decrease carbon emissions. We also joined many NGOs, like the U.N. Framework Conversation on Climate Change. We signed a U.N. commitment to reducing the cost with clean computing power in the digital asset industry. We aim to provide more services for global customers, not only in Asia but also in Europe and America.
CT: How efficient is your technology in terms of recycling heat? Are there any kind of metrics you that are able to share?
AL: I can simplify it as that you use one part of electricity; we can reuse about 90% of it to provide heating services. For the whole system — it’s an integrated system, not just a heating system. We have four parts of technologies. The first one is SAIHEAT, [in which] we use the heat from the chip. Second is SAIWATT; we find more clean-energy resources like hydropower, solar power, wind and other clean energy. We will become a better battery for them to solve the energy-saving and energy storage problem. The third one is SAIBYTE technology. Based on this technology, we provide integrated systems — you know, the mining pool, wallet and blockchain browser.
We just integrated the functions together and provided the services for customers and the industry providers. The fourth technology we will use is SAICHIP. You know, we have better liquid technologies, which can reuse the heat and a better cooling system, so we cooperate with manufacturers like BITMAIN and other miners. We will provide our liquid cooling technology to make the miners more efficient, by which we can enhance the efficiency of the whole system. For us, the liquid cooling and heating services is just a start, but we will reuse them and have a more efficient system.
CT: Why did you guys choose countries in Eurasia, like Kazakhstan, to set up the majority of your mining operations?
AL: You know that, before the regulation of China, most of the miners around the world were based in China; they use 20% of the whole hash rate in China. After the regulation, many miners want to go overseas like North America, Eurasia, South Asia and maybe Europe. For us, the whole of Eurasia is a better place for the miners because, on one side, the miners who go to America will pay more in penalty taxes. The Eurasia market — it’s near China, so many miners from China can go there faster, and thirdly, the energy supply is very efficient. In Eurasia, especially in Europe and middle Asia, the energy is cheap and sufficient so that you can use more power and cheap power. Fourthly, the construction fee and construction costs are cheaper in Eurasia because the labor is cheap and the efficiency is high. We think Eurasia is like the Middle East in the oil industry so that Eurasia will be another Middle ast in the mining industry.
CT: Do you have any data on the total hash rate of all your mining machines, all combined?
AL: Currently, we operate about 4,500 units of mining rigs for our customers in Eurasia, and we will expand our self-mining rigs in the next year and provide more hosting services for our customers.
CT: What does the road ahead look like after your SPAC merger? For example, you will expand to countries outside of Eurasia? etc.
AL: After the merger, we plan to go in two directions; the first one is R&D. We will enhance our efficiency. At the same time, we will provide a new product, which is more efficient and more cost-effective. Second, we will expand our market from Eurasia to North America and other places. We will provide more hosting services and enhance the percentage of SAIHEAT used to provide heating services. And we will provide more heating services to agriculture, residents and industry. We will buy more mining devices, maybe next year, at a proper time, build our own self-mining system, find more partners around the world, like those who have more clean energy and who have heating needs, and provide services for them.
SAITech's mining operations worldwide | Source: SAITech Investor Presentation
CT: Are you guys taking on any of those [green] initiatives? For example, to help build the local economy in countries like Kazakhstan, anything like that?
AL: I think for the Bitcoin industry, just like the mining and trading companies, they just provide services for the customers. I think mining is more like investment and buying Bitcoin is like saving. For investment, the miners are regarded as a bank to provide institute and settlement services. Suppose the mining company becomes the problem of clean energy. In that case, they will face more problems in the future. More people will concentrate on ESG and carbon emission problems, so the whole industry, not only for us but for the whole industry, will concentrate on how we could use more clean energy, even save energy. Suppose we can provide more services with our products. In that case, we reuse the heat. For the Bitcoin industry, we provide more products for the customers. For the whole industry, that means that we can save more electricity consumed, and we will decrease the whole carbon emissions for the industry. No one will worry about more carbon emissions and more energy wastage in this industry.
CT: Would you like to add any other statement about the vision of the company, especially regarding sustainable mining?
AL: Yes, you know our name SAI, S means Sustainable, A means Available, and I means Innovative, so we want to find more technologies which can provide sustainable, available and innovative services for the customers, the whole market and the industry. For us, the whole industry is just like the energy industry. So the energy is the main cost for the mining services. Maybe the chip is the second part, so the electricity is the main part. We are the first company in this industry to release the carbon footprint and ESG report. We just said we have better solutions like SAIHEAT, SAIWATT and SAIBYTE. We have better solutions to help us to promote carbon emissions and efficiencies. We want to become a large-scale company that provides services for the mining industry. We are not only doing mining ourselves but also want to cooperate with other mining companies. We use our technology, open-source for them, and we can use the technology together. We will help them reduce carbon emissions and help ourselves find more electricity. For the whole industry, we will make it better and more efficient.