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These U.S. States Want Your Bitcoin Mining Business

Several U.S. states, including Texas, Wyoming and Illinois, are actively vying to attract bitcoin mining businesses.

While China seems serious about shutting down its bitcoin mining sector, Iran’s government is closing down some mines and India is not sure what its policy is, the U.S. is clearly open for bitcoin mining business.

U.S. states are actively seeking out mining businesses, looking for markets for stranded or unused energy (overbuilt from a past with a more active manufacturing economy). In addition, there is interest in job creation benefits, particularly in the initial setup phase of a mining operation.

For instance, senators from New York State were recently forced to withdraw a version of a proposed law which would have put a moratorium on new and expanding mining operations as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers reportedly lobbied on behalf of their members against the potential ban.

Meanwhile, Texas is vying to become a new global epicenter for Bitcoin and its associated industries. And three other states — Wyoming, Nebraska and Illinois — have all introduced digital charters to allow financial institutions to transact in bitcoin, indicating that they are also open.

Texas

Bitcoin mining companies Bitmain, Blockcap, Argo Blockchain, BIT, Layer1 and Compute North have all chosen to set up shop in Texas, where energy is cheap and the government is friendly.

“I just signed a law that puts virtual currency under the Texas Uniform Commercial Code to be a secured transaction,” as Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has signaled his support for new cryptocurrency laws, tweeted on June 14. “It defines virtual currency, establishes when a person acquires a right in it, and when a person has control of it.”

And former governor Rick Perry has made favorable statements about the Bitcoin industry as well.

Compared to many U.S. states, Texas energy rates are inexpensive and there is abundant access to renewable sources, drawing many bitcoin miners there.

“We chose West Texas … because it offers us some of the lowest electricity rates in the world and the majority is from renewable sources, namely wind and solar,” Argo Blockchain CEO Peter Wall recently told Bitcoin Magazine.

Other miners may find an advantage in oil and gas vent capture technology that’s being pioneered by Upstream Data. Mining companies that use gas-vented capture technology are in a good position in Texas, with its many oil and gas producers.

In a recent podcast, bitcoin investor and champion Max Keiser talked about both Austin, Texas and Miami, Florida as growing hubs of bitcoin-friendly businesses and legislators. According to Keiser, Austin is more likely to be a hub for mining, specifically.

Wyoming

U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, along with Wall Street veteran and lobbyist Caitlin Long, are leading the charge to make Wyoming a national bitcoin mining center.

In 2018, Wyoming lawmakers brought in two cryptocurrency-friendly bills to signal their interest in embracing Bitcoin companies ahead of any other state. To date, the state has passed 13 blockchain-related laws.

If cheap energy is the key to successful mining, then Wyoming is in a great position. It produces 14-times more energy than it consumes, making it the biggest net supplier of energy in the country.

And the state is moving toward more green energy sources, a trend that the Bitcoin mining industry at large is following as well.

Recently, Wyoming signed an agreement with Bill Gates’ TerraPower to build a small modular nuclear reactor in a retiring coal plant.

“The reactor would be built within one of four retiring coal power plants, signaling a greener energy future for a Wyoming economy that has long relied on fossil fuels,” according to one report.

The state also installed the third-largest amount of wind power generating capacity in 2020, after Texas and Iowa, according to a government report.

Illinois

Following Wyoming and Nebraska, Illinois has a new digital asset charter rule which was passed earlier this year to allow any financial service companies using cryptocurrency to apply for a banking charter.

“On March 23, 2021, the Illinois House committee on Financial Institutions unanimously passed a bill to create a banking charter for a Special Purpose Trust company,” according to a recent report. “Illinois will be the third state … to explore emerging financial technologies.”

And, further enticing Bitcoin mining operations, the state has a growing focus on renewable energy.

“As of March 2019, the state’s net electricity generation by source was 7% natural gas, 30% coal-fired, 54% nuclear (most in the nation) and 10% renewables,” according to the Illinois Environmental Council.

With eleven commercial nuclear power reactors at six sites, generating half of the state’s electricity, Illinois can guarantee emissions-free “green” power for the foreseeable future.

Other states are also coming up fast and hoping to take advantage of a growing demand for energy, particularly renewable energy, by bitcoin miners, including Nebraska, Kentucky and Tennessee. It seems only a matter of time before much more of the network’s overall hash rate migrates to the U.S.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Crypto News Updates

New York’s Misguided Legislation To Pause Bitcoin Mining Won’t Stop The Industry

Legislation under consideration in New York to stop Bitcoin mining over environmental concerns won’t stop an increasingly-green industry.

A bill currently in committee at the New York State Senate is calling for a ban on bitcoin mining for three years while an environmental assessment is conducted to measure greenhouse gas emissions and effects on wildlife of all mining operations in the state.

New York Senate Bill S-6486, introduced by democratic State Senator Kevin Parker and co-sponsored by democratic State Senator Rachel May, is currently under review by the senate’s Environmental Conservation Committee.

One report about the bill called bitcoin miners “bitcoin-hungry profiteers” and noted that “Upstate New York has recently become a hotbed of mining activity, and there could be more mines in the works.”

Foundry Digital, a subsidiary of DCG, has mining operations near Rochester, New York and helps finance other New York-based mining ventures.

“Decentralized infrastructure is the way of the future; bitcoin and bitcoin mining are not going away,” Foundry CEO Mike Colyer recently told Bitcoin Magazine. “The communities, countries and states that understand and grasp the advantages of this infrastructure first will have a long-term competitive advantage. States such as Texas and Kentucky are encouraging the growth of this industry. Given that bitcoin mining is very mobile, miners will move to where there are.”

Factual Inaccuracies With The Bill

Bill S-6486, referred to committee on May 3, 2021, claims to be acting in accordance with New York’s “Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act,” reading:

“A single cryptocurrency transaction uses the same amount of energy that an average American household uses in one month, with an estimated level of global energy usage equivalent to that of the country of Sweden.”

And:

“It is reasonable to believe the associated greenhouse gas emissions will irreparably harm compliance with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in contravention of state law.”

But Magdalena Gronowska, a mining consultant with metamesh.com, told Bitcoin Magazine that these assertions are not based in fact.

“This flawed legislation includes erroneous assumptions regarding energy use and transactions (e.g., it states one bitcoin transaction consumes as much energy as a U.S. household each month),” she said. “While the bill is not surprising, it does a disservice to the mining industry if it’s based on misinformation about how Bitcoin works. The perception that all Bitcoin mining is environmentally ‘bad’ needs to shift.”

We’ll Take It From Here, New York

Francis Suarez, Mayor of Miami, described the bill as “a step in the wrong direction,” saying that “Miami can mine Bitcoin with clean nuclear energy, we want to be the crypto mining capital of the world.”

Meanwhile, more jurisdictions like Kentucky are seeing a growing market for their “stranded” energy and are offering incentives like tax deductions and subsidized energy costs.

“Savvy jurisdictions see that the world is shifting,” noted Gronowska. “Wyoming, Texas, Kentucky and Miami see the potential for economic development and are putting in supportive policy frameworks to attract Bitcoin companies, including miners.”

Bitcoin Miners Will Continue To Operate In New York

Greenidge Power, based in Dresden, New York, which sells power to the grid and also mines bitcoin, recently converted a coal-fired power plant to natural gas to reduce emissions.

According to a recent report, Greenidge Power is planning to expand its facilities, a renovation that has already been approved by the New York government. In addition, Greenidge is exempt from New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which was passed in 2019, because its energy sources are considered to be “behind the meter.”

And it’s clear from other recent developments that bitcoin miners in general are going to move forward with their industry in ways that promote green energy. For instance, Ninepoint recently announced plans to offset the carbon footprint of its bitcoin exchange-traded fund, and Square has released a white paper explaining how bitcoin mining can drive widespread adoption of renewables.

Brad Yassar, a bitcoin miner based in California, has said that he is fully in favor of green mining, but thinks there’s a double standard when it comes to judging which industries are environmentally harmful.

“I think where I may differ in opinion and approach is let’s look at other industries and other activities that are consuming industrial level and scales of electricity and energy and see if we can have a global and across-board approach, as opposed to saying Bitcoin is horrible for humanity and should be destroyed,” he said.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Bit Digital, Compute North Partner To Drive Sustainable Bitcoin Mining

Bit Digital will be colocating in Compute North facilities to leverage its renewable-energy-focused design for bitcoin mining.

Bit Digital, one of the largest bitcoin mining companies in North America by hash rate, is expanding its operations by colocating in Compute North facilities, adding an additional 40 megawatts of hashing power with 13,000 new ASIC miners to its arsenal, according to a press release.

Nasdaq-listed Bit Digital (BTBT), headquartered in New York, positioned the partnership as one that ups its ability to meet increasing demand from investors for sustainable bitcoin mining.

“The move accelerates Bit Digital’s expansion strategy in North America, and highlights its focus on sustainability,” per the release.

Compute North, a data center and bitcoin mining giant headquartered in Minnesota, with operations in Texas, South Dakota, and Nebraska, recently expanded with the help of Foundry Digital. It uses a data center design that lets it throttle power demand at each of its facilities as needed so it can offer better stability as local power grids onboard more renewable energy sources.

“Compute North serves an important role in providing low-cost computing for customers like Bit Digital, while filling an important need for our energy partners,” said Compute North founder and chairman PJ Lee in the release.

Compute North’s (and now Bit Digital’s) approach is to establish a facility that serves as a counterpart to renewable energy use. If wind or solar are not available, the company can switch to other power sources.During the recent ice storms in Texas, for instance, some miners were able to send energy directly to the grid to compensate for damage to wind and solar installations.

Bit Digital is seeing a sea change coming to the mining industry as investment firms set up committees to vet for sustainability and companies like Square promote and support miners in integrating green energy technologies.

“On the energy supply side, we are evaluating new renewable sources to complement our existing renewables-based mining,” Bit Digital CEO Bryan Bullett said in the release. “On the demand side, we are embracing demand response programs like Compute North’s. We refer to this as ‘Mining 2.0’ – a multi-pronged strategy to activate our ability to dynamically manage power usage, both to manage costs, and to accelerate adoption of renewable energy sources for mining, and for the grid generally.”

The amalgamation of Bit Digital and Compute North’s mining equipment is expected to be completed this summer.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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As Bitcoin Mining Hits All-Time Highs, Access To ASICs Is Key

As bitcoin propels its mining industry to new heights, the challenge of obtaining new equipment is critical.

Like many providers in the space, international bitcoin mining services company Compass Mining is on a roll. With the success of BTC and rising mining revenues — now at an all-time high of $60 million per day — this rapidly-growing startup finds itself squarely in the middle of a bull run.

Founded in October 2020, Compass has been able to capitalize on a growing demand for mining services, particularly through access to new ASICs in a very tight mining equipment market. In a news release from early March, Compass described itself as “the first two-sided bitcoin hosting marketplace,” meaning that it works with both prospective miners helping them get established and with existing hosting facilities to find the best fit to fill their vacancies.

The release also announced that Compass had secured $1.7 million in seed funding in a round led by Galaxy Digital, with participation from other stalwarts in the space, including CoinShares and CoinGecko.

“March was the best month yet for miners @compass_mining!” Compass CEO Whit Gibbs recently tweeted. “13.964 #btc mined, up 114% from February. 112 [petahashes] contributed to Bitcoin’s network security.”

Echoing the enthusiasm and adding some detail to what is driving this growth in the bitcoin mining industry through an April 4 newsletter, Upstream Data’s Steve Barbour noted how lucrative bitcoin mining has become:

“…the bitcoin price started appreciating and it has since increased approximately 600% (since Oct 2020) and the difficulty has not even doubled. The result is a marked increase in revenue for bitcoin miners everywhere,” he wrote. “..I am a bit surprised at how slow the difficulty and hash rate has been to react to the price, but this is likely due to the significant shortage in the semiconductor industry combined with existing mining hardware failure (hardware breaking). With no relief in the semiconductor supply chain in sight, I would guess bitcoin mining will continue to be extremely profitable for quite some time to come.”

The Fight For New Mining Equipment

Bitcoin mining has become so competitive and profitable that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people wanting to mine BTC to access the ASICs needed to power a profitable mining operation.

As a “two-sided marketplace,” one of Compass’s secrets to success is its ability to acquire new ASICs for clients in such a challenging market. It’s easier for a larger provider like Compass to deal with ASIC suppliers like Bitmain, Whatsminer and Canaan, which are likely to prioritize bigger customers like Compass, rather than smaller mining operations.

Compass has been able to secure new ASICs, even as the demand for silicon-based chips has become a problem affecting manufacturing enterprises around the globe. A Compass team on the ground in Southeast Asia, including CBO Thomas Heller, negotiates directly with manufacturers.

In a direct message on Twitter, Gibbs told Bitcoin Magazine that its work with ASIC manufacturers is “very relationship based” and it is fortunate that Heller “has great ties to Chinese distributors from his time working in China”.

In the year to date, Compass has sold $40 million worth of mining equipment, according to Heller.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Bitcoin Mining Heat Capture Startup MintGreen Closes Seed Financing Round

The Canadian startup MintGreen develops technology to capture heat produced by bitcoin mining and utilize it for industrial and municipal operations.

Today, Canadian clean technology company MintGreen announced the close of a seed financing round as it prepares to deploy a large-scale commercial project to harvest heat from bitcoin mining, according to a press release shared with Bitcoin Magazine. The round was led by CoinShares Ventures, the investment arm of major digital asset firm CoinShares.

MintGreen’s focus is on shifting one of the main criticisms of Bitcoin — that the mining process consumes a lot of energy — into a positive, by recapturing this energy to heat and cool future cities.

“Bitcoin fixes many things, but we find ourselves with the unique opportunity to fix one of Bitcoin’s biggest problems without changing a line of code,” said Sullivan in the release.

MintGreen is pioneering the reuse of heat generated by computers while mining bitcoin to sell to industrial clients. It utilizes “immersion” systems to mine bitcoin with clean-sourced energy, then produce heat from that process. The release indicated that it is partnering with district energy operations to deliver hot water to entire city blocks’ worth of buildings.

The Vancouver-based startup is also running two pilot projects. One involves selling bitcoin mining heat waste to a sea salt company, which uses it to literally boil the ocean (water from the Pacific Ocean, to be exact) so it can distill salt flakes in the process. The other sells bitcoin mining heat to a Canadian whiskey company so that it can boil mash as part of its process.

“Colin and the MintGreen team are doing some really innovative work around heat recovery and redistribution,” Samson Mow, CSO of Blockstream and a special advisor to MintGreen, told Bitcoin Magazine. “It’s great to see them expanding their operations and opening up new opportunities for the mining industry to grow.”

As the bitcoin price continues to hit new all-time highs and miners revenues are higher than ever, pressure is building on bitcoin mining companies to use more sustainable energy sources as the number of miners increase to meet an increasing international demand for bitcoin.

The announcement also indicated a growing interest in funding green mining solutions from CoinShares.

“At CoinShares, we believe Bitcoin will drive fundamental changes in the energy and infrastructure sectors,” Meltem Demirors, CSO of CoinShares, said, per the release. “As the North American bitcoin mining ecosystem grows, innovative companies like MintGreen will bridge the gap between bitcoin mining, industrial power generation and sustainability mandates.”

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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A Hitchhiker’s Guide To Bitcoin Mining In North America Part Two: Seeking Stranded Energy

North America’s bitcoin mining industry is changing the way we use energy. But where exactly are these operations drawing their power from?

In his introduction to Michael Saylor’s recent conference “Bitcoin For Corporations,” Ross Stevens, founder and CEO of Stone Ridge and NYDIG, spoke about the importance of energy to bitcoin, and how bitcoin mining will create new economic hubs in areas where stranded energy exists.

Until now, human settlements have been located near transportation hubs, he noted, not energy hubs. But the need for cheap, abundant energy like hydropower makes bitcoin mining a natural pioneer in those areas where industries like forestry and pulp and paper have exhausted resources and moved on, leaving energy infrastructure behind.

In “A Hitchhiker’s Guide To Bitcoin Mining In North America,” we attempted to sketch out the rough outlines of the emerging bitcoin mining ecosystem on the continent where much of this energy pioneering is and will be taking place. We listed mining pools, mining companies, financial services firms and firmware companies.

In this second part, Bitcoin Magazine is continuing this journey of discovery to shed more light on what this new mining ecosystem looks like and, more specifically, what sources of energy are available and being used.

But this is no easy task. In digital asset firm CoinShares’s report on bitcoin mining from December 2019, the researchers expressed the difficulty of trying to pin down an accurate picture of where miners work and what energy they’re using:

“…while we do our utmost to accurately pinpoint the location of global mining centres, the Bitcoin mining industry remains a highly private and secretive industry,” they wrote. “As a result, our estimates may be subject to significant potential uncertainty.”

The North American Energy Landscape

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that North America is experiencing a new gold rush as mining companies stake claims, form partnerships and order large inventories of the latest ASIC technology.

North America is a new mining mecca, primarily because there’s lots of cheap, “stranded” energy in the region, making it a new frontier for mining companies and investors, according to Marty Bent of Great American Mining and Harry Sudock of Griid, who discussed the matter on a recent podcast about mining and energy.

For example, British Columbia and Quebec, two of Canada’s largest economies, were built on resource extraction, mainly forestry and traditional mining. But many of the region’s lumber and pulp and paper mills powered by hydroelectric dams have moved on or closed, leaving power sources and infrastructure behind.

Areas of Washington State and Upper New York State have similar advantages — lots of cheap stranded energy from a time when manufacturing dominated the region and factories needed to be near power sources to be economical.

In light of the ongoing debate about the environmental impact of the energy that bitcoin miners use, it is helpful to know the terrain.

On this front, China presents a relatively clear picture — mostly hydropower in the rainy season and coal and natural gas in the dry season.

But many U.S. states have a mix of power sources on the local grid, often including coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydro power. This makes it difficult to pin down power sources used by individual companies.

But despite the difficulty of pinpointing precise energy allocations, it’s clear that this region is attracting a significant proportion of bitcoin mining operations, particularly from Asia.

“The migration of hash out of China over time by existing players is very, very rapid and they’re very motivated,” said Bent on the recent podcast. “So, if you’re operating on any of those hydro facilities in China, there’s significant seasonality. You’re already moving cash in between locations. And so they’re incentivized to avoid those switching costs to migrate to regions where there is stable access to power.”

It’s the nature of bitcoin mining that miners “seek out extremely cheap sources of energy which tend to be stranded renewables or fossil fuels like natural gas and oil via flaring or venting that would otherwise be wasted,” added Bent.

And it’s not just Chinese miners that are looking for a new frontier. A growing interest in mining from institutions like investment funds is spurring growth in the U.S. and Canada as established investors look for areas with not only cheap, abundant energy but a degree of political and regulatory certainty.

Underscoring the types of uncertainty these investors hope to avoid in China, there are reports that China’s government will be regulating miners working in Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang in an attempt to curtail the use of coal.

https://twitter.com/nic__carter/status/1366381727866892288

This may help make North America a more attractive location for Chinese mining companies.

Shifting The Energy Paradigm

Cambridge University’s Centre for Alternative Finance is studying the use of energy in bitcoin mining and has developed its “Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index” to try and gauge the amount of power consumed by the bitcoin network, broken down by individual regions.

The center calls its results “an educated guess” due to the many variables, including location, that are still largely unknown. Researchers used aggregate data from three mining pools that are based in China — BTC.com, Poolin and ViaBTC — as samples for its projections.

The resulting “Bitcoin Mining Map” shows the average monthly hash rate (power usage) broken down by country. At the time of this writing, China leads the world at more than 65 percent of total energy use, while the U.S. contributes 7.24 percent and Canada 0.82 percent.

The Cambridge Centre is also studying the kind of energy used in different parts of the Bitcoin network. In a September 2020 report, it found that 76 percent of surveyed mining operations used renewable energy as part of their energy mix. Hydroelectric power was found to be the most used source of energy, with 62 percent of respondents indicating that this source powered their mining operations.

Coal was the next-most-used energy source, with 38 percent of respondents indicating that it powered their operations, and natural gas came in third with 36 percent of respondents indicating that it powered their operations.

CoinShares has also studied the use of energy on the network and has estimated how much energy use is derived from renewables. It noted the mining industry is “notoriously opaque” making it difficult to analyze with certainty.

In its December 2019 report, it pegged the use of renewables at 73 percent, making bitcoin mining one of the cleanest industries in the world:

“…we calculate an estimate of the renewables penetration in the energy mix powering the Bitcoin mining network at 73 percent, making Bitcoin mining more renewables-driven than almost every other large-scale industry in the world,” according to the report.

The future development of bitcoin mining in North America is the future development of stranded energy.

In his remarks at “Bitcoin For Corporations,” Stevens called bitcoin the “most profitable use of energy in human history that doesn’t need to be located near human settlements,” saying that bitcoin will change the economics of energy.

Though the exact energy sources are difficult to parse, it’s clear that the story of bitcoin mining in North America is the story of bitcoin finding this game-changing economic use case for the energy industry. As Austin Storms, the director of product and engineering for Great American Mining put it on Twitter recently, this is a paradigm shift on par with the advent of the internet itself.

https://twitter.com/austorms/status/1366023459625648132

Appendix: Bitcoin Mining Companies in North America

Below is a partial list of Bitcoin mining companies based in North America, along with their specific regions of operation:

Canada

Alberta:

  • Hut 8 Mining
    • Drumheller
    • Medicine Hat
  • Upstream Data
    • Calgary

British Columbia:

  • DMG Blockchain Solutions
    • Christina Lake
  • Iris Energy
    • Canal Flats
  • MaaS Blockchain
    • Lower Mainland
  • Ocean Falls Blockchain
    • Ocean Falls

Quebec:

  • BitFarms
    • Brossard
    • Cowansville
    • Farnham
    • Magog
    • Sherbrooke
    • St. Hyacinthe
  • Blockstream Mining
    • Montreal
  • HIVE Blockchain Technologies
    • Lachute

U.S.

California:

  • Plouton Mining
    • Mojave

Colorado:

  • Frontier Mining

Georgia:

  • Blockcap
  • Blockstream Mining
    • Adel
  • Core Scientific

Idaho:

  • XTRA Bitcoin
    • Fruitland

Illinois:

  • Blockware Solutions
    • Chicago

Iowa:

  • Vortex Blockchain Technologies
    • Des Moines

Kentucky:

  • Blockcap
  • Core Scientific

Maine:

  • Northern Data Systems
    • Falmouth

Minnesota:

  • Compute North
    • Eden Prairie

Montana:

  • Marathon Patent Group
    • Big Horn

Nebraska:

  • Barefoot Mining
    • Omaha
  • Compute North
    • Kearney

New York State:

  • Coinmint
    • Massena
  • Greenidge Generation
    • Dresden

North Carolina:

  • Core Scientific
    • Marble

North Dakota:

  • Crusoe Energy Systems
    • Bakken Oil Fields
  • Equinor
    • Bakken Oil Fields
  • Marathon Patent Group

Ohio:

  • Bit5ive

Oklahoma:

  • Riot Blockchain
    • Oklahoma City

Pennsylvania:

  • Bit5ive

South Carolina:

  • Treis Mining
    • Greer

South Dakota:

  • Barefoot Mining
    • North Sioux City
  • BitMOR Mining
    • Canton
  • Compute North
    • Sioux City

Texas:

  • Bitmain
    • Rockdale
  • Compute North
    • Big Spring
  • Layer1
  • Whinstone
    • Rockdale

Utah:

  • Orem Mining

Virginia:

  • BitFrontier
    • Fredericksburg

Washington State:

  • Bitmain Mining
  • Elite Mining
  • SCATE Ventures
  • Soluna

West Virginia:

  • BOTS

Wyoming:

  • Wyoming Mining
    • Afton 

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Crypto News Updates

Compute North Raises $25 Million To Expand Bitcoin Mining Operations

Compute North, one of the fastest-growing bitcoin mining companies in North America, has announced the close of a growth capital round that netted $25 million in debt financing and equity, which it will use to expand its operations in light of ongoing demand for its data and colocation services.

The debt capital was raised as a senior secured loan via investment firm Post Road Group, according to a press release shared with Bitcoin Magazine. With this new capital funding, the company hopes to double its current 920 peta hashes per second (PH/s) hash rate to 1,840 PH/s, per the release.

Last month, through its partnership with Foundry Digital, Compute North secured the chance to add 47 megawatts of computing power to its mining operations with the acquisition of 14,000 new Whatsminer M30S rigs from MicroBT. 

“We started Compute North because we saw a unique opportunity to bring together our data center and power expertise and offer our customers a better alternative,” CEO Dave Perrill said in the release. “This injection of capital allows the company to meet customer demand, innovate our services and expand our great team.”

Based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Compute North has data and mining facilities in Big Spring, Texas; Kearney, Nebraska; and North Sioux City, South Dakota. It represents one of the primary ventures that is bringing more bitcoin mining capacity out of its geographical center of China.

The company helped pioneer the TIER 0 data center model, the release noted, which allows for data to be moved at the fastest speed and most efficient rate, outdistancing other tiers of data processing.

Stabilizing The Energy Grid

In addition to decentralizing the share of bitcoin mining hash rate to a new region of the world, Compute North sees itself as helping to solve local energy challenges in the areas where it operates.

Compute North uses a variety of energy sources in its three locations, mostly through what’s available on the local grid. The majority of electricity produced in South Dakota comes from hydroelectric power, while Nebraska and Texas use a mix of wind power, natural gas and coal.

“Most of our facilities are connected to the power grid… the nature of our power usage (load) on the grid allows us to serve as a strategic partner to grid operators with our ability to curtail our power use in order to help stabilize the grid,” Perrill told Bitcoin Magazine in a followup interview. “With the increase in renewable energy as a percentage of overall power production, these intermittent power sources are creating additional challenges to the overall grid infrastructure. We serve an important role in providing a low-cost compute environment for our customers, while also filling a very important need for grid operators.”

Ongoing Demand

With the accelerating interest in the bitcoin mining space — particularly among institutional investors — showing no signs of slowing down, Compute North will be continuing to raise capital for the foreseeable future.

“With Biden winning the election and his economic team assembled, the Federal Reserve will continue to print even more money to stimulate the economy and keep his campaign promise,” Perrill told Bitcoin Magazine recently. “Increased inflation will continue the acceleration of the dollar decline, encouraging smart money to move to digital currencies.”

The post Compute North Raises $25 Million To Expand Bitcoin Mining Operations appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Chinese Mining Pool Poolin Acquires North American Competitor NovaBlock

China-based mining pool Poolin, which contributes the second-largest amount of hash rate of any single entity on the Bitcoin network, has acquired NovaBlock, a North American pool with offices in St. Jose, California and Calgary, Canada. The takeover will net Poolin an additional 1,681.83  petahashes per second (PH/s) in mining capacity, per data from BTC.com, further increasing its hash power dominance.

In a recent announcement, NovaBlock, which launched in 2019, outlined the planned hash migration, which will take place today. According to BTC.com, Poolin manages a hash rate of 21,909.37 PH/s, so the addition could bring it up to around 23,591.2 PH/s. The world’s largest bitcoin mining pool would still be China-based F2Pool, which has a hash rate of 27,918.42 PH/s.

Poolin is headquartered in Hong Kong and has offices in Beijing, Chengdu and Changsha, China, as well as in Singapore and Berlin.

“I’m guessing Poolin forecasts there will be significant hash rate growth here in North America, and they want to position themselves to have exposure to it,” said Ryan Porter, BitOoda’s head of business development, in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine. “Prior to the acquisition, NovaBlock controlled 1 percent of the Bitcoin network hash rate. There is now a growing field of competitors entering the North American mining pool space, and a number of global mining pools that are expanding their product offering, so the acquisition puts NovaBlock into an incumbent that could keep them competitive and bring stability.”

In its announcement, NovaBlock noted that “Poolin is looking to expand their reach into growing regions like North America.”

As the bitcoin mining industry in North America continues to grow (the number of North American mining pools has more than doubled in the last year, growing from three to seven), it’s possible that more major pools in China will follow Poolin’s lead and look to acquire mining participants based in the U.S. and Canada.

There is growing recognition that U.S. regulators may be increasingly turning their attention to the mining space and the role of Chinese pools. Ethan Vera, co-founder and CFO of Seattle-based mining pool Luxor, told Bitcoin Magazine that miners may be looking for more accountability and stability than Asian pools have to offer.

“North American miners will increasingly want to sell their hash rate to a counterparty that is based in the same legal jurisdiction,” Vera said. “Service license agreements, legal recourse, high profitability and good data and stats are top of mind for institutional miners in 2021.”

In a comment on Bitcointalk.org, a member called Newbie expressed a preference for working with a pool closer to home:

“I was going to try NovaBlock out later this year to see what the profit was going to be but now maybe not,” Newbie wrote on February 6, 2021. “I was mainly drawn to the concept of a North American pool with ownership and control centered in North America.”

With bitcoin reaching new all-time price highs, interest in mining is only bound to increase.

The post Chinese Mining Pool Poolin Acquires North American Competitor NovaBlock appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Hut 8 Partners With Foundry Digital To Secure 475 PH/s In Bitcoin Mining Capacity

Hut 8 Mining Corp. has announced a partnership with financial services firm Foundry Digital to secure $11.8 million in financing, which it will put toward 5,400 new MicroBT Whatsminer M30S mining rigs, adding 475 petahashes per second (PH/s) to its mining capacity over the next six months. 

The financing is structured as a 12-month term with an annual interest rate of 16.5 percent.

In the recently-published announcement, Hut 8 CEO Jaime Leverton acknowledged that securing new mining equipment is a big challenge for everyone in the business right now.

“This partnership builds on Hut 8’s ongoing commitment to shareholders by mitigating supply constraints and reducing our capital expenditure with a proactive fleet management strategy,” said Leverton.

Once the new equipment is installed, the total hash power coming from Hut 8 (named after Hut 8 in London’s Bletchley Park, where Alan Turing broke the Nazi’s enigma code) is expected to rise from 825 PH/s before the agreement  to 1,300 PH/s. Hut 8 has two mining farms in Alberta, Canada, in Medicine Hat and Drumheller. Most of its energy supply comes from natural gas, which is often vented as a byproduct of oil production.

New York State-based Foundry Digital, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, partnered with MicroBT in September 2020 to secure access to its mining equipment. As a result, despite a worldwide shortage in new mining equipment that can include months-long waiting times, the parties involved are hopeful that the first of Hut 8’s new machines will arrive by the end of January.

North American Listing Is Good For Business

Hut 8 is one of only two Bitcoin companies and the only bitcoin mining company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) “senior board.” (Financial services firm Galaxy Digital is also listed on the TSX senior board).

Bitcoin mining company Bitfarms is listed on the Canadtian Venture Exchange (CVE), while NASDAQ lists Riot Blockchain, Marathon Patent Group and HIVE Blockchain Technologies.

Hut 8 cofounder and former CEO Andrew Kiguel told Bitcoin Magazine in a phone interview that going public had helped the company in securing capital funding, such as this recent partnership with Foundry.

“Hut 8 is well positioned to attract new investors as a result of its listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Canada’s largest senior exchange and that it has cleared the ability to file a prospectus with the Ontario Securities Commission,” Kiguel said. “Hut 8 was the first blockchain entity to obtain a listing on the senior exchange and to use a short-form prospectus to raise capital.”

CoinDesk reported that Hut 8 shares have gained over 190 percent in the past year, but are currently down over 40 percent from their peak near $8.50 in early January.  Foundry Digital also recently partnered with another mining leader, Compute North, to help them secure 14,000 new M30Ss through its partnership with MicroBT.

The post Hut 8 Partners With Foundry Digital To Secure 475 PH/s In Bitcoin Mining Capacity appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Crypto News Updates

A Hitchhiker’s Guide To Bitcoin Mining In North America

Like a hitchhiker taking to the American highways for the first time, anyone hoping to get a clear picture of the universe of bitcoin mining today might be perplexed at the seeming opaqueness, yet sheer size of the North American mining ecosystem.

As a miner recently advised new entrants into the space on Twitter:

Distinct from China, which leads the world’s mining hash rate with an estimated 65 percent of the total coming from pools headquartered there, the North American mining environment is evolving its own culture.

As the North American bitcoin mining scene heats up with a higher hash rate, and an increase in mining revenues, more investors and interested mining companies are looking for a guide to the new mining Wild West that is the U.S. and Canada.

There are four basic parts that make up the North American bitcoin mining ecosystem: Mining pools, mining companies (collocation and self hosting), financial services firms and firmware (software) providers.

However, sometimes a financial services firm can also be a mining company (as with Galaxy Digital), and sometimes an energy provider can also be a mining company (Greenridge Generation). It’s complicated.

The Rise Of The (Demand For) Machines

Mining equipment shortages, not just in North America but around the world, including in China, is currently a big issue in the industry.

As the price of bitcoin continues to reach all-time highs, there is pressure on ASIC foundries and equipment manufacturers to try and meet the demand from both newly-interested customers and older mining companies that need to upgrade to remain competitive. 

Estimated wait times for new mining equipment are at least six months, with leading manufacturers like Bitmain sold out until September 2021. There has also been a significant price increase in the secondary market for used ASICs.

We asked Samson Mow, CSO for Blockstream and Blockstream Mining, how things look for bitcoin miners going forward into 2021. Mow told Bitcoin Magazine that the defining issue going into 2021 is the lack of ASIC-based mining equipment:

“Bitcoin hash rate growth for the next year is likely to be constrained by ASIC chip production,” he said. “This could lead to some very interesting new financial products related to mining… With a shortage of equipment and a booming bitcoin price, a lot of older mining rigs are now profitable to run again for miners that have access to low-cost power.”

Mow confirmed what most experts say about mining equipment — at this point in time, there’s no new technology anywhere in sight to beat the mining power of an ASIC chip.

This is positive news for some established miners with access to cheap power, as the difficulty rate is more favorable without intense competition. There are some of these in North America, even though the region is also attracting new entrants.

“Mining profitability rose this year because the rate that new hardware is being deployed has significantly lagged the price increase of Bitcoin, which means that there has not been an increase in hashpower competition coinciding with the price rise,” Ryan Porter, head of business development for financial services firm BitOoda told Bitcoin Magazine.

Time For Your Own Pool, Kids

Most miners, including North American miners, use mining pools based in China. But this is changing as new mining pools are setting up in the U.S. and Canada to offer miners more regulatory-compliant options.

There are at least seven North American mining pools today, up from only three a year ago.

In the last six months, Luxor, Blockstream and Novablock have been joined by Titan, Blockware, DMG Blockseer and a Marathon/DMG co-op pool. 

Luxor Pool is publicly listed and DMG Blockseer is in the process of going public, as is the Marathon/DMG co-op pool (more on this later).

Big Institutions And Energy Companies Are Getting Involved

As with investment into bitcoin the asset — which has enjoyed a price rise widely credited to involvement from major institutions like Square, MicroStrategy and Grayscale — mining has come into the sights of institutions looking to augment their portfolios with some financial hash power.

According to research conducted by Fidelity Digital Assets and Greenwich Associates, nearly 80 percent of institutional investors find something appealing about digital assets, and more than six in 10 institutions believe that digital assets have a place in their investment portfolios. 

BitOoda, like other financial services firms in North America, is working with investment companies to help them get set up in mining ventures. Some prefer being directly involved with a specific mining operation while others are only looking for an investment stake for their portfolios.

There are also power providers in the region that are putting the extra power they have in off-peak hours to use in mining bitcoin. Greenridge Generation in New York State is putting its extra power to work through the night and in other off-peak hours mining bitcoin. Crusoe Energy, a Denver-based power company captures waste gas from flaring to create power — much of which is used for mining bitcoin.

North American Mining Companies Want To Go Public

Like bitcoin miners globally, North American miners have preferred to remain relatively anonymous, but there’s a new breed of mining companies and mining pools that are trying to get out into the open, ahead of any government attempts to regulate the industry.

Some of the motivation for getting ahead of the regulators is to become qualified for a public listing on a stock exchange, an effective tool for raising capital.

The appetite for mining firms to go public has never been greater, as publicly-traded mining companies Riot Blockchain, Marathon Patent Group and HIVE Blockchain have all passed a $1 billion valuation,” Porter said.

And a few regional players are already publicly listed. Canadian mining company Hut8 was one of the first mining companies to be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, NASDAQ lists Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT), Marathon Patent Group (NASDAQ:MARA) and HIVE Blockchain Technologies (OTC:HVBTF).

Regulators Enter The Room

Until recently, bitcoin mining was not an issue for government regulators, but increasing attention to regulating cryptocurrencies from government agencies like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and Commodity Futures Trading Commission may soon change that.

It seems inevitable that at some point, a regulatory eye will be cast over mining.

“We feel that companies will be willing to pay standard mining pool fees (i.e., 2 percent) for full transparency and ensuring their servers/miners are not involved in adding North Korean or Iranian or other blacklisted wallets from OFAC in moving Bitcoin,” Sheldon Bennett, the COO of DMG Blockchain Solutions, told Bitcoin Magazine recently.

When DMG teamed up with Marathon to form DCMNA, it pledged to only process transactions that complied with U.S. laws.

In its announcement, DCMNA said it will be audited by a third-party financial firm and will be using “clean block mining” that adheres to the Office of Foreign Asset Control’s (OFAC’s) compliance standards and reduces the risk of mining blocks that include transactions linked to questionable activities.

Profits from the DCMNA pool will go toward pro-miner lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. and all of the miners participating in DCMNA will need to submit KYC information, including smaller companies renting space in DMG’s warehouses. 

The post A Hitchhiker’s Guide To Bitcoin Mining In North America appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine