Two Bitcoin mining giants are battling it out in Texas for cheap electricity.
Bitdeer, a Bitcoin mining company that was spun out of Chinese giant Bitmain, as well as Riot Blockchain (one of the most prominent publicly traded Bitcoin mining companies in the United States) are both operating data centers at an old aluminium smelting plant in Rockdale, Texas.
Alcoa, the company that owned the town’s aluminum smelting facility, ended its operations in 2008, making it the largest worldwide. President of Texas Blockchain Council Lee Bratcher stated that the facility’s energy potential was lost from Alcoa’s departure to the time the miners arrived.
Rockdale is a small rural community of 5,600 residents. However, it offers all the benefits that industrial-scale miners seek — crypto-friendly politicians and large parcels of land that house abandoned industrial infrastructure.
John King, Rockdale Mayor, describes the mutually beneficial relationship between the local grid operator, Electric Reliability Council of Texas and miners. He stressed that miners often use electricity that would otherwise be lost and that they can shut down operations immediately if power is needed elsewhere. He said:
“Miners have a commitment to buy a certain amount power, and they sell it back at market value and make a profit. They can sell it at $9 per kilowatt hour for a contract that is two or three cents.
Cointelegraph reported that Riot has more then tripled its Bitcoin production in 2018, as it was reported by Cointelegraph.
According to the firm, it is now producing over 500 bitcoin per month from Rockdale. The monthly production of mined coins amounts to $30 million at current prices. Riot claims that the site is home to 100,000 mining rigs.
Related: Crypto cowboys welcome Bitcoin miners in Texas
Texan legislators are calling for an expansion of the state’s Bitcoin mining embrace. Senator Ted Cruz described mining as a way to capture the natural gas the state is currently burning.
Cruz spoke at the Texas Blockchain Summit on Oct. 10, where he argued that natural gases are being flared in West Texas right now because there isn’t the transmission equipment necessary to transport it the way natural gas would normally be used.
You can use that power to mine Bitcoin. That’s part of what’s so beautiful about it. Instead of burning natural gas, you put it to productive use.
Eileen Wilson –Technology and Energy
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