The Winklevoss twins’ family office, Winklevoss Capital, has participated in a $4.5 million seed financing round for flare mitigation provider Crusoe Energy Systems Inc. to advance its construction of data centers that can mine cryptocurrencies. The news was reported by Bloomberg on May 3.
Flare mitigation — as a Crusoe press release accompanying the seed financing round outlines — aims to reduce the environmentally noxious impact of flaring (burning off) surplus natural gas, which is in some cases used to tackle the difficulties of transporting excess gas supplies.
While flaring is restricted by regulatory restrictions and lobbying from environmentalist groups, flare mitigation solutions can help resolve the problem of excess supply by converting the natural gas into electrical power at the wellsite.
The fresh financing round for Crusoe Energy Systems— led by Bain Capital Ventures and Founders Fund Pathfinder — will aim to accelerate the construction of the firm’s mobile modular data centers. As the press release outlines:
“Technologies for flare mitigation [...] are capable of handling the large-scale gas throughputs required by today’s North American shale industry. Crusoe’s technology harnesses otherwise wasted energy for growing industries that require energy intensive computing, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.”
The systems are said to be scalable to up to millions of cubic feet per day and deployable across North America. In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, Winklevoss Capital Sterling Witzke reportedly stated:
“Crusoe Energy is in a unique position to reduce the cost of cloud computing and cryptocurrency mining. Their technology is a win-win for the environment, energy producers, and the digital economy.”
According to Bloomberg’s interview with Crusoe co-founder Chase Lochmiller, the company is working with — undisclosed — large publicly traded oil and gas companies.
As Cointelegraph has previously reported, the high energy consumption required by the mining of certain cryptocurrencies has sparked intense debate within the crypto community and beyond.
In late summer 2018, a clean energy expert hit back against the common perception that energy intensivity is in “Achilles Heel” for bitcoin (BTC), arguing that the debate needs to be reoriented to focus on the sources of electrical power, rather than consumption levels.