ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 45

DATA CENTERS
Column
How Digital Currency
Impacts Data Centers
BY DAVID QUIRK, P.E., MEMBER ASHRAE; MICHAEL STABINSKI
Cryptocurrency stands to improve the energy efficiency (decrease energy use) of digital
currency management rather than increase energy use.1,2 Cryptocurrency (crypto),
like fiat (traditional) currency before it, is digital currency relying heavily upon digital
infrastructure (data centers, telecommunications facilities, etc.) to move money
from a buyer to a seller in exchange for physical products and services or other digital
assets, currencies, etc. The question is whether cryptocurrency or fiat digital currency
is more energy efficient to perform a given " work " product in the exchange of products
and services across the digital infrastructure. This column examines this question
and presents some challenging questions for the data center industry.
For the data center industry, cryptocurrency represents
an area of innovation and continued electrical
demand and growth within the digital currency
spectrum.
In fact, blockchain technology is estimated to reduce
IT and infrastructure costs in the financial industry and
is driving innovation in the energy industry to solve data
management challenges through automation and smart
contracts executed on the blockchain.
Inside the data centers themselves, future data center
infrastructure management (DCIM) and data center
management as a service (DMaaS) solutions could rely
on cryptocurrency and smart contracts to automate
management across many tenants and sites without
the need for disparate database systems and software to
communicate.
Smart contracts could also manage colocation service
level agreements, energy contracts with the utilities and
other services within the data center.
In all cases, the management of these systems use
cryptocurrency consensus methods that eliminate
human-induced errors and increase security through
transparency and a centralized source of " truth " on the
distributed ledger.
Computational power and energy consumption
demand for cryptocurrency is growing exponentially
due to increasing mining competition.3,4 The introduction
of application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC)
based servers and data centers strategically placed near
cheap energy sources by venue is currently an answer to
the growing power consumption problem.5
The data center industry can expect a surge in power
demands globally, followed by a consolidation to more
cryptocurrency and, hence, greater digital efficiencies
for a given work product produced by the currency
exchange.
David Quirk, P.E., is a managing principal at DLB and past chair of TC 9.9. Michael
Stabinski is department head of software at DLB.
J U LY 2 0 2 1 ash r a e . o r g ASHR A E J O U R N A L
4 5
https://www.ashrae.org/

ASHRAE Journal - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASHRAE Journal - July 2021

Contents
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Intro
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Cover1
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Cover2
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 1
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Contents
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 3
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 4
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ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Cover3
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Cover4
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