Even before China finally wielded the ban hammer on crypto mining, Bitcoin (BTC) miners in North America had been building up their capacity amid efforts to gain a larger share of the global hash rate distribution. From building bigger data centers to acquiring hardware inventories, these establishments have been making concert efforts to balance the hash-power dichotomy between the Eastern and Western hemispheres.
North American Bitcoin miners often have to contend with energy usage concerns as well and some have been keen to partner with oil and gas firms, becoming buyers of last resort for flared gas. Indeed, American oil drillers and Bitcoin mining firms continue to collaborate over natural gas utilization, proving once again that the potential for Bitcoin’s thermodynamic capacity is set to be a net positive for the environment, despite the criticisms put forward against proof-of-work (PoW) mining.
With North American-based entities seemingly on the cusp of establishing a greater presence in the global Bitcoin mining matrix, here is a look at four of the largest Bitcoin miners in the region.
In 2020, China still controlled about 65% of the global Bitcoin hash rate, according to estimates from several data sources. However, Riot Blockchain was expanding its operations with a swathe of major hardware acquisitions from leading Bitcoin miner makers like Bitmain.
In August and December 2020 alone, Riot Blockchain spent millions of dollars to acquire thousands of Antminers from Bitmain. Indeed, as reported by Cointelegraph in April, Riot Blockchain’s hashing capacity increased by 460% in 2020.
Riot Blockchain’s expanded inventory drive has continued into 2021, with the company purchasing over 42,000 Antminers from Bitmain earlier in the year. The Nasdaq-listed company also announced a $650 million purchase of a major data center located in Texas.
By acquiring the Whinstone data center in Texas, Riot Blockchain is set to own the single largest Bitcoin mining facility in the United States. The American Bitcoin mining giant is even set to expand the original capacity of the site from 750 megawatts to over 1,000 MW.
With its upscaled capacity coinciding with sweeping crackdowns in China, it is unsurprising to see Riot Blockchain enjoying greater Bitcoin mining success, as evidenced by the figures quoted in its monthly production and operations update. In April, the company reported that it mined 187 Bitcoin (worth $11.2 million at the time) the previous month.
The March 2021 BTC production figure marked an 80% increase from its Bitcoin mining total for March 2020. In its latest report in June, the company stated it mined 243 BTC, a 406% increase from its June 2020 production figure.
The June report also put Riot Blockchain’s year-to-date Bitcoin mining total at 1,167 BTC (currently worth $36.5 million). As of June 2020, the company had only mined 508 BTC meaning that this year’s production figure represents a 130% year-on-year increase.
In total, Riot Blockchain says it holds over 2,200 BTC as of the end of June, with all of the Bitcoin coming from its mining operations. Detailing the link between its recent production successes and the situation in China, the June report stated, “The exodus of Bitcoin mining from China has resulted in a downward difficulty adjustment and lower global network hash rate. As such, Riot is currently mining more Bitcoin per day than at any time in the Company’s history,” continuing:
“While it is broadly expected that many Chinese miners will eventually relocate, the company estimates that it could be quite some time before the global Bitcoin mining hash rate returns to its previous high of 180 exahash per second (“EH/s”), last observed earlier this year.”
Marathon is arguably Riot Blockchain’s main competitor in the “North American hash wars” and, like its rival, the crypto mining giant has been expanding its hardware inventory since 2020. In October, the…
Read More: cointelegraph.com