Bitcoin has become big business in 2017 – and Sweden has taken its place at the forefront of the technological revolution.
The entire country is something of a hotbed for cryptocurrency innovation at the moment, with data centres being set up for mining in the north and payment solution company Plingpay establishing itself as a 'bitcoin blockchain bridge' in Malmö in the south.
“We’re seeing a lot of interest from foreign companies interested in setting up cryptocurrency operations in Sweden”, says Tomas Sokolnicki, Head of Data Centers by Sweden, a company which strives to attract foreign investors to bring their business to Sweden.
So, why all the activity in this Scandinavian country?
One reason is due to the natural conditions found in Sweden. As Bitcoin mining requires lots of processing power which, in turn generates heat, data centres tend to be located in cooler climes. Hydroelectric power generation also invokes less of a cost in Sweden, hence the eagerness for miners to set up in the country.
"Blockchain is like any software program, it needs to run on computers somewhere," says Anne Graf, who runs a colocation centre in Boden, in the north of Sweden.
"The Hydro66 data center has access to huge amounts of green electrical power at a great price, which makes it attractive for blockchain as it tends to require a lot of power."
Another reason is the Swedish government's attitude towards cryptocurrencies. While many other western governments have been reluctant to embrace Bitcoin, or even hostile towards it, lawmakers in Sweden have actively embraced new technologies – there's even talk of the country's central bank introducing an 'e-krona' in the next few years.
While this would be a complement to cash, the usage of which is declining in Sweden, it could use the same blockchain technology Bitcoin relies on.