From wrecking the environment to making it harder to search for alien life, cryptocurrency mining has been blamed for a multitude of sins. But to cause time itself to slow down is a fresh charge and one which, on the surface, sounds impossible. Something strange is happening in Central Europe right now: clocks are running slow, and not by fractions of a second, but entire minutes. Could large scale crypto mining be responsible or is it being made a convenient scapegoat?
Overclocked Miners May Be Slowing the Clocks
Ever since mid January, the Continental European Power System has been experiencing anomalies. This huge belt of 25 countries, running from Spain to Turkey and from Poland to the Netherlands, has been subject to “a continuous system frequency deviation from the mean value of 50 Hz” reports the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). The location of the disturbance has been identified – Kosovo and Serbia – but the cause has not.
The power deviations that have been affecting electrical frequencies have had the weird knock-on effect of delaying clocks that calculate their time based on the frequency of the power system. As a result, these are running at “a delay of close to six minutes”. It’s unclear exactly how this slowdown manifests itself, over what period, and whether these clocks can be manually adjusted to show the correct time. What is clear is that the power drain responsible for this anomaly is huge: 113 GWh, which is equivalent to the power consumption of Greenland for six months. Central heating timers and oven clocks are among the systems affected.