For sustainable Australian bitcoin miner Iris Energy, its move into AI services is more than just a side hustle that hedges against the volatility of bitcoin. According to co-founder Daniel Roberts, it is precisely the sort of application that its high-grade, renewable energy-powered data centres are built for. It is an important distinction to make as experts ridiculed the efforts of some bitcoin miners to repurpose some of their computer hardware – which became idle during last year’s bitcoin slump – to fresh uses. As one expert told The Wall Street Journal, without the right hardware it is like trying to move mountains with Honda Civics. Bitcoin miners play a central role in the ecosystem of the cryptocurrency, which runs on decentralised networks that track transactions. Miners verify and process these transactions which generates bitcoin as payment for them. Roberts says there is a big difference between what Iris does and low-end bitcoin miners, which use makeshift facilities – such as shipping containers literally loaded with computer servers – that will never be able to handle the intensive computing and power-density needs of services such as AI.