Texas, the second-largest state in the U.S. known for its southern hospitality, is embracing the droves of Bitcoin (BTC) miners that have recently flocked to the region. Following China’s crackdown on crypto mining that occurred in May, a number of Bitcoin mining companies have relocated to The Lone Star State to conduct business.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. Texas could very well be the ideal location for Bitcoin mining, due to obvious reasons such as its deregulated power grid, increasing renewable energy and political leaders that are publicly pro-crypto. Texas Governor Greg Abbot recently tweeted his excitement about how Texas is becoming the next “crypto leader,” with the recent addition of cryptocurrency kiosks available in grocery stores.
Yet, while all of these elements make Texas appealing to Bitcoin miners looking to set up shop, rural communities seeking economic growth have become another less discussed feature that is luring mining companies to Texas.
Texas counties welcome Bitcoin miners to boost economy
Chad Harris, chief executive officer of Whinstone Inc. — the operator of the largest crypto facility in North America — told Cointelegraph that his team came to Rockdale, Texas to build Whinstone after reading about the failure of China’s Bitmain mining facility in 2019:
“As soon as we came to Rockdale, we didn’t want to leave. We built Whinstone in 183 days. We started in January 2020 and turned on the facility in June 2020. We now have three buildings, 300 megawatts substations and are expanding 400 additional megawatts with four new buildings.”
While the abundance of wind and the deregulated power grid in Texas have helped the company grow, Harris also attributes a good deal of Whinstone’s success to Rockdale — a small city in Milam County with a population of close to 6,000 people.
And although it may not be obvious, Harris shared that the largest benefit for Whinstone, next to the cost of power in Texas, has been the state’s workforce. “Whinstone is unique from other mining companies because we have our own staff consisting of 120 employees, all with paid healthcare and 401k benefits.” He added, “We also use Texas employee incentives and send our workers to Texas’ Temple College to train and get certified in areas like construction, human resources and more.”
Overall, Texas consists of 254 counties, ranging in population from more than 4 million people to some areas with just over 100 people. While the State of Texas provides a number of local development programs to boost the economy in certain communities, the influx of crypto mining companies is making a real impact.
For example, Milam Country Judge Steve Young told Cointelegraph that Whinstone has become an integral part of Rockdale and Milam County. He explained, “Whinstone has made a concentrated effort to be a part of the community by being involved in local activities.” Young further noted that Harris and the Whinstone founding team came to Milam County with little funds, but with courage and determination, they put together the largest Bitcoin mining operation in North America.
While Whinstone may have been one of the first Bitcoin mining facilities to have accomplished this, others are following suit. Peter Wall, CEO of Argo Blockchain, told Cointelegraph that Argo has broken ground on a highly anticipated renewable energy-focused 200-megawatt cryptocurrency mining facility in Dickens County, Texas.
Wall noted that Argo has initially been interested in mining crypto in West Texas due to the abundant nearby renewables, allowing Argo to have the ability to host renewable generation at the site. “As there is no local load, we’re improving the economics for renewable generators in the area and allowing for even more renewable development,” Wall commented.
Equally as important, Wall explained that Dickens County is a “Qualified Opportunity Zone,” meaning that the region is a distressed…
Read More: cointelegraph.com