Gulf region flips bullish on crypto mining, but can it be green? 


Al-Monitor Pro Members


Sebastian Castelier

Business journalist covering Gulf economies


Aug. 18, 2022

Bottom Line: 

Crypto mining is an electricity-intensive process that requires running computer servers to solve a complex set of algorithms. In other words, mining crypto converts electricity into digital coins then sold at market value. For that reason, access to cheap power is a ​​trump card. The energy-rich Gulf region is a suitable candidate. It is home to some of the world’s largest fossil fuel resources and boasts the world's lowest solar tariffs.

After a decade of hesitation, Gulf states have started to warm up to cryptocurrencies. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, in particular, are looking to attract centralized crypto exchanges — they processed more than $14 trillion worth of crypto assets in 2021 — and their interest in mining crypto is rising. “There is a push from the UAE government to make greater use of power generation capacities,” said Abdulla Al Ameri, an Emirati crypto mining entrepreneur who has been mining for about five years, including in Kazakhstan and Russia. “I expect the UAE crypto mining market to take off in the next two years,” he told Al-Monitor. The question is, how green will this be?

Simultaneously, Gulf states have warmed up to renewables, solar in particular, opening the doors for solar-powered crypto mining. “We are working on a hybrid crypto farm in Abu Dhabi powered by solar at day, grid at night,” CryptoMiners’ CEO Nasser El Agha told Al-Monitor. The Dubai-headquartered crypto mining service provider cooperates with an undisclosed British company to launch the Gulf’s “first company-scale solar-crypto farm” by December 2022. It is a proof of concept intended to be ultimately taken to the market, specifically to agricultural farms wishing to generate extra income through crypto mining.

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