Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I am a former enlisted U.S. Marine that started a career on Wall Street after getting out and going to college. I worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker for a couple of years, then moved to the buyside, working for nearly a decade at a number of different equity hedge funds as an investment analyst. I was invited by a former boss to join him at Fortress Investment Group where I spent nearly four years building out a new lending practice within the firm’s credit funds.
In 2019 was introduced to bitcoin mining and studied the intersection of that activity and the energy sector, initially looking at using flared gas as an energy source, and soon pivoted to using otherwise wasted power created at utility scale generation assets. My company, Digital Power Optimization, uses bitcoin mining as a tool to help the energy sector better manage its energy assets in a more profitable and flexible way.
What is a fun fact about you?
I grew up on the north shore of Maui, Hawaii.
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
Because it is of such global relevance and requires globally coordinated action to solve the challenges associated with it. No one industry can tackle this alone, nor can any single country. This makes it extremely difficult, and why so many countries have come up short on many of their climate goals. The transition from fossil fuels to green energy is far more complex and challenging than many people understand, and it takes all the tools we can possibly invent to address all of the different nuances that exist within the energy and climate puzzle. Idealism and practicality must meet, and we aim to help that meeting happen as smoothly as possible.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
Bitcoin mining will not be thought of as a separate industry but instead will be a strategy that exists wholly within the energy sector. In order to maintain competitiveness, bitcoin miners will need to seek out cheaper and cheaper sources of power, which will ultimately lead them to buying their own generation assets. They can’t buy power cheaper than it can be made, so they will start making it.
In the meanwhile, DPO is helping power producers figure this out, and instead of selling their power to a bitcoin miner, they can just build their own bitcoin mine and capture all of the economic upside. For many reasons, existing energy companies make far better bitcoin miners than anyone else on earth, so we see the lines between these industries blurring to the point that they all just look like energy companies that do (or do not) mine bitcoin.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Learn about the connection between bitcoin and energy and realize that this new technology is actually a good thing for the energy sector rather than a problem. Bitcoin’s energy consumption will come to be viewed as a positive for society and it will help the energy sector create more green energy assets and more green energy than we would have in a world without Bitcoin.
Dylan Welch is the CEO and Host of Going Green, a podcast, website, and social media brand that highlights renewable energy, cleantech, and sustainable news.