Saudi Aramco denies plans to mine Bitcoin

Some countries, including China and Iran, have cracked down on practice, prompting miners to look for new places to mint cryptocurrency

Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil-exporting company, has denied reports that it is interested in Bitcoin mining.

"With reference to recent reports claiming that the company will embark on Bitcoin mining activities, Aramco confirms that these claims are completely false and inaccurate," the company said on Monday.

Aramco was responding to reports, including claims made by a Brazilian Bitcoin miner, that the world's third-most valuable company was interested in cryptocurrency mining.

Bitcoin mining refers to the process required to create a digital currency, enabling new Bitcoin to enter into circulation. It requires sophisticated, high-powered computers that solve complex problems to create a single Bitcoin.

The mining of Bitcoin has become controversial despite the rise in popularity of digital currencies, as the process is highly energy-intensive and polluting to the environment.

Several countries have cracked down on Bitcoin mining, most notably China and Iran, prompting miners to look for new places to mint their digital currency.

In June, China said it was shutting down 90 per cent of its Bitcoin mines amid wider regulatory scrutiny of the digital currency.

Iran banned Bitcoin mining in June, blaming the cryptocurrency for four months of continuous power cuts in the country.

The UK has also increased pressure on cryptocurrency mining, shutting down an operation that was stealing thousands of pounds worth of electricity. Around 100 computers were illegally connected to electrical mains and were believed to have siphoned off power.

Last month, authorities in Malaysia arrested the owners of a cryptocurrency mining farm for stealing energy, shut down the unit, and steamrollered 1,069 of its mining machines worth 5.3 million Malaysian ringgit ($1.25m).

Researchers at Cambridge University, in April, estimated that the electricity consumption of the Bitcoin network is almost 120 terawatt-hours per year. That is more than the UAE's energy consumption at 119.45 terawatt-hours, and on course to overtake Pakistan.

The largest cryptocurrency touched its highest level since May on July 31, trading up to $42,390.

Updated: August 2nd 2021, 10:27 AM