Josh Wolfe @wolfejosh VC, entrepreneur, fund manager @Lux_Capital; Chair @CiPrep Coney Island Prep; Trustee @SfiScience Santa Fe Inst; CoFounder of Carson, Quinn & Bodhi w/ @ltwolfe Aug. 30, 2018 1 min read


(an observation amidst a flurry of friends also visiting in recent weeks):

This is a land turning the REAL into the ETHEREAL.

Here is a story of fish, melting glaciers, electricity, aluminum, data centers, crypto + the future of high-powered computer simulation

2/ In the US server farms drove up hydropower prices.

There were 30 aluminium smelters in the US, now only 5.

They didnt go to China...Iceland.

Iceland has world's highest electricity usage per person: ~50600 kWh per year

Most for heavy industry exploiting cheap electricity.

3/ One of Iceland’s biggest exports was FISH, until it became ELECTRICITY.

About 80% is HYDRO (vs 6% in US)
via rivers + dams that capture PHYSICAL melting glaciers, the rest mostly geothermal.

Iceland built 5 huge dams to capture it to turn turbines to make electrons.

4/ The electrons are used in a form of ALCHEMY: turning bauxite into aluminum.

Iceland will make more aluminum than the US.

Alcoa + Century Aluminum closed factories in the US, opened them in Iceland because electricity is super cheap in Iceland (1/3 cheaper)

5/ If you took 500,000 people and all the businesesses in Colorado Springs—it would use the same amount of electricity as just one Aloca smelter in Iceland.

Now—they are also turning electrons into BITS of ethereal cryptocurrencies (now) and supercomputer simulations (future).

6/ Iceland is balancing environmental preservation w/ industrializing + going upstream into value-add aluminum products—

—and NOW server farms for crypto currency
(combo of cheap power + cool air)

Next I predict high-powered computing for simulation in healthcare + engineering.

7/ All in a country of Iceland with singular stunning surreal beauty, landscapes terraformed NATURALLY by entropy of earthquakes, chaos of clashing climates, tectonic plates, volcanoes, hot springs, geysers.

and transformed again by forces of capitalism, computation, electricity

8/ Also:
2010: Iceland tourism was around 200,000
2018: 2,500,000 + growing (!)


-Post financial crisis things got very cheap
-Volcanic eruption that disrupted Europe brought a LOT of attention
-Oh and...(not joke) Instagram + Justin Bieber fueled viral tourist interest.

You can follow @wolfejosh.


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