A startup in The Netherlands is using the heat generated by Bitcoin mining rigs to grow tulips, Agence France-Press reports — and the sheer irony, given the historical context, is absolutely mind-numbing.
In the 17th century, demand for tulips — yes, the flower — spiked so sharply in Amsterdam that prices rose to staggeringly high levels, in a massive deviation between perceived and actual value that resulted in what is widely considered to be the first recorded economic bubble and subsequent collapse.
The term "tulip mania" still refers to the concept of a speculative bubble to this very day, forever enshrining it in the vocabulary of modern economics.
Fast forward over 300 years, and we've got the next potential bubble in the form of cryptocurrency, a speculative and infamously unstable digital asset that's already gone through its own fair share of dramatic boom and bust cycles.
The similarities between tulip mania and Bitcoin, though, have seemingly gone over the head of Dutch engineer Bert de Groot, who is using the heat generated by Bitcoin mining rigs to grow tulips inside a greenhouse.
To de Groot, it's a way to reduce his company's reliance on natural gas, prices of which have soared ever since Russia invaded Ukraine.
In fact, his company Bitcoin Brabant is going as far as selling tulips online in exchange for Bitcoin, according to AFP. So either this is an absolutely next-level performance in deadpan, or the most incredible example of unintentional comedy in the history of crypto.
In de Groot's defense, the company isn't basing all of its operations on the value of Bitcoin. Instead, Bitcoin mining servers are releasing tons of heat that are helping the tulips grow over the winter.
And to be fair, the company is using energy generated from solar panels on its roofs to power the mining rigs, making the operation "carbon negative," as de Groot told AFP.
According to de Groot, the mining rigs heat up the air by about 34 degrees Fahrenheit.
"We're actually improving the environment instead of the other way around," de Groot told AFP.
That, however, leaves the rather obvious question: aren't there plenty of more efficient methods of turning solar energy into heat for a greenhouse?
Things have gotten so out of hand, in fact, that the European Central Bank warned earlier this month that Bitcoin is on its "last gasp."
Despite the crash, de Groot is hellbent on powering his tulip business with the aid of Bitcoin servers.
"I have absolutely no worries about the long-term value proposition of an immutable monetary system," he told AFP. "Bitcoin will last for ever."
READ MORE: Cash crops: Dutch use bitcoin mining to grow tulips [AFP]
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