Though China currently accounts for 70% of world cryptocurrency mining, authorities have made clear that it’s an industry they’d rather live without. Mining operations looking for cheap electricity and legal stability are now flocking to the Canadian province of Quebec.
In 2016 Hydro Quebec, Canada’s largest electricity company, started a campaign promoting the province as a perfect place for internet companies to build their data centres. Electricity is cheap and renewable, and the weather is cold, making it easier to cool heat-producing servers. Of course, these very characteristics also make the area ideal for mining cryptocurrencies.
With Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies becoming increasingly well established, mining companies want to be able to plan for the future and engage in proper investment. This has become increasingly difficult in countries like China where whole industries may find themselves banned overnight. Canada’s more transparent and stable legal system has made it attractive to mining operations who want to operate legally and openly.
Indeed, now Quebec is becoming such a popular mining destination that Hydro Quebec has said it does not have the long-term capacity to meet the anticipated demand. Spokesman Marc-Antoine Pouliot told Reuters that, “We are receiving dozens of demands each day. This context is prompting us to clearly define our strategy.” That may involve increasing long-term capacity.
Ideally Hydro Quebec would prefer to attract data centres rather than crypto mines as they provide more jobs. Still, the number of mining operations they supply has doubled in the last week to 70. Among the companies looking to open up a Canadian operation include Bitmain Technologies, a major player in the Chinese space.
Canada’s attractiveness as a site for crypto-mining is not limited to Quebec. Last month Hut 8 Mining Corp and BitFury announced an agreement to create North America’s largest mining farm, this time in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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