Operators looking to move their Bitcoin mining business to Quebec may be out of luck as the Canadian province is giving a cold shoulder to many of them.
The fact that a number of countries, such as China, are cracking down on cryptocurrency mining has led to many operators looking for greener pastures elsewhere. One such pasture is located in Canada, the province of Quebec to be precise, which features cheap power for crypto mining. However, the region is giving a cold shoulder to many looking to relocate their Bitcoin mining operations there.
An Initial Virtual Gold Rush
Interest by Bitcoin miners moving their operations to Quebec was white hot just a few weeks ago. The largest utility company in the province, Hydro-Quebec, said it had received “hundreds of applications” from those looking to set up shop.
The Chief Executive Officer of Hydro-Quebec, Eric Martel, said:
There’s a real craze for Quebec. I’ve got new LinkedIn friends from Russia, China and many other places. The phone has been ringing off the hook.
The reason for this interest is that the area boasts the lowest power costs in North America due to the massive amounts of energy from nearby dams. The power company has excess energy which it needs to sell off, so it has been flirting with Bitcoin mining companies for a time.
However, there is a major fly in the ointment. The requests from crypto miners surpass 9,000 megawatts of energy. This is almost a full quarter of the company’s total capacity of 37,000 megawatts. This means that Hydro-Quebec cannot cover the needs of all the Bitcoin miners looking to move to Quebec and the current population and industry, and it has no plans to build new hydropower plants.
The owner of Hydro-Quebec, the government, has weighed in as well. In a recent speech, Premier Philippe Couillard, really threw cold water at Bitcoin miners, saying:
If you want to come settle here, plug in your servers and do Bitcoin mining, we’re not really interested. There needs to be added value for our society; just having servers to do transaction mining and acquire new bitcoins, I don’t see the added value.
Of course, Couillard threw out the usual political rhetoric that he’s more than happy if blockchain-based companies that create “a real eco-system or a real technological transformation” choose to relocate to Quebec.
As history has shown us, Quebec’s loss will be some other area’s gain. There are a number of places that are quite willing to have Bitcoin mining companies show up and help boost local revenue, even small towns in places like Washington state.
Do you think Quebec is doing the right thing by giving the cold shoulder to many Bitcoin mining outfits? Or should they have worked to boost their overall power capacity, which could have led to luring in more businesses? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Pxhere and Bitcoinist archives.