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Canada Could Become World’s Bitcoin Mining Capital, With China Eyeing Cheap Energy in Quebec

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According to a report from Reuters, China’s Bitmain Technologies is eyeing bitcoin mining sites in Quebec.

The news comes as China is expected to crackdown on cryptocurrency mining, and the energy-rich Canadian province of Quebec is turning out to be a very attractive alternative.

China has grown into one of the world’s biggest sources for cryptocurrency mining, but there are signs that Beijing is increasing scrutiny and may ask local authorities to regulate their energy use. Bitman Technologies is one of several companies that are looking to expand their operations overseas.

In an email sent on Friday, Bitmain spokesman Nishant Sharma said that the company was looking at sites in Quebec and is currently in talks with regional power authorities in the province. The company notes that they are also looking to expand to Switzerland.

Mining for bitcoin consumes large quantities of energy. While Beijing has not issued any official edict on the bitcoin mines, two Chinese miners told Reuters that local authorities had grown more unwilling to allow expansion and had started to shut down some mines in late 2017.

In a statement, chief executive of ZQMiner Li Wei said:

“We, and from what I understand many of our peers, are already making plans to go overseas.”

Globally, regulators are increasingly voicing concerns about cryptocurrencies because of their volatility and worries about risks to investors. China is also worried that cryptocurrencies could facilitate illegal fund flows and breed financial risks.

In Canada, Hydro Quebec described a potential sales pipeline of around 30 large cryptocurrency miners after a campaign by the public utility to attract bitcoin miners in 2017. In a statement, director of business development at Hydro Quebec distribution David Vincent said:

“Of the world’s top five largest blockchain players, we have at least three or four.”

According to Hydro Quebec, the province has an energy surplus equivalent to 100 terawatt hours over 10 years. To give some context, one terawatt hour powers 60,000 homes in Quebec for one year.

The challenge for miners is finding existing facilities in Quebec that already have buildings and other infrastructure in place to use the large energy supply required for cryptocurrency mining.

Hydro Quebec offers some of the lowest electricity rates in North America, charging an industrial rate of $0.0248 per kilowatt hour (Kwh) (2.48 U.S. cents) for data centers and $0.0394/kwh (3.94 U.S. cents) for cryptocurrency customers.

[via Business Insider]

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  • Olivier

    thats good news

  • Joe Kerr

    How is this good news? Why would letting other companies use surplus energy to mine cryptocurrencies be good for anyone but the companies? Not flaming, honest question.

  • Sam

    Why is this good news?

  • Brenda

    It means IT jobs in Quebec, probably not in huge numbers but these jobs will create other jobs as those hired will spend some of their earnings locally. It will help the landlords of the buildings, mean more profits for Hydro Quebec which is owned by the provincial government’s , and possibly generate interest from other businesses looking to set up data centres in a place where power is cheap. Hydro power isn’t a perfect environmental solution but it’s better than burning fossil fuels.

  • Sam

    All those are good points and makes a lot of sense to me. However I rather Hydro Quebec make money by selling those surpluses to other Canadian provinces like Ontario where electricity is very expensive. If Ontarians have more affordable electricity they may spending their money on other things, which in turn may help our economy. – The government may not have to bail them out as much. I think that would be a better way. Enriching international companies in the hope that they will recycle *some* of their profits back into our economy is not the route I like.

  • Brenda

    I agree. Hydro Quebec and BC Hydro sell surplus power to the US. Depending on the contract the selling price is sometimes low. And there’s the bad deal Newfoundland/Labrador made with Quebec. Canada should have a national energy policy of selling to the nearest provincial neighbour, but it’s probably impossible with provinces having control over the resources that generate the energy. It would require a constitutional change that most, if not all, of the provinces would agree to.

  • El Cockblock

    Hi Nick, just a comment: It’s not Bitman, it’s Bitmain.

  • Olivier

    Attracting forein investors is good news, no?

  • George

    Ontario also has a surplus of energy. Thanks in part to the awesome Wind/Solar contracts the Liberal government has made with all of the generators, the cost is very high for the consumers

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