United States cryptocurrency mining giant Argo Blockchain announced plans to build a new mining facility on land just purchased in West Texas.
The 320 acre-plot comes with access to 800 megawatts of electrical power, the majority of which is from renewable sources—likely wind and solar. It will also have some of the lowest electricity rates in the world, the company said in a March 8 release.
London-based Argo says that it has “one of the largest and most efficient operations powered by clean energy.”
Argo plans to establish a 200-megawatt mining facility on the Texas site within 12 months. Argo Blockchain CEO Peter Wall called the deal “a cause for celebration,” noting:
“It not only gives us greater control over our mining operations but also the ability to meaningfully expand our mining capacity on a large scale. We now have access to some of what we believe is the cheapest renewable energy worldwide, in a location where innovation in new technologies is encouraged and incentivized.”
The overwhelming and rapidly growing power demands of mining Bitcoin and other proof-of-work cryptocurrencies—currently equivalent to the needs of Argentina or The Ukraine—is becoming such a big publicity crisis that BCA Research’s chief global strategist, Peter Berezin, predicted in February that Bitcoin’s Achilles heel will start scaring off corporate investors off, beginning with environmental, social, and governance-focused funds.
“Many companies have cozied up to Bitcoin in order to associate themselves with the digital currency’s technological mystique,” he said. “As ESG funds start to flee Bitcoin, its price will begin a downward spiral.”
At the same time, the dominance of Bitcoin mining by Chinese firms—many of which use extraordinarily dirty, coal-generated power—is potentially such a threat to the main cryptocurrency’s governance that the U.S. Director of National Intelligence recently asked then-SEC Commissioner Jay Clayton to investigate the issue.
With Bitcoin dancing on the $50,000 line, crypto asset mining is seeing increasingly more attention and capital investment. Just this morning, Goldman Sachs’ head of digital assets said the investment banking giant is seeing “huge” institutional demand for Bitcoin, with 40% of its clients already invested in BTC.