North America’s largest Bitcoin mining facility, owned and operated in part by Whinstone U.S., is located just 60 miles north of Austin, Texas.
Riot Blockchain owns Whinstone U.S. and it is quickly becoming a fixture in the community. It has helped to rebuild the local dog shelter. It also installed lights at the football and softball fields. It purchased the 32-foot-tall Christmas tree in the town.
John King, Rockdale Mayor, noted that the company provides live streaming services for high school sports events as well as fireworks for graduation.
According to Whinstone U.S. CEO Chad Everett Harris, expansion plans are underway to increase the plant’s output and make it the largest bitcoin mining facility in the globe.
Austin is now at the heart of Texas’ ambitious plans. As state and federal legislators try to prepare for a boom in blockchain technology, Texas has seen a rapid increase in cryptocurrency investments over the years. According to industry leaders, they are attracted to the state’s low energy costs and lack of regulation.
Ted Cruz, a GOP senator from Texas, said at the Texas Blockchain Summit that he “would like to see Texas become the center of the universe for bitcoin and crypto.” The event, which was attended by 700 people earlier last month, was a special gathering that featured industry experts, entrepreneurs, researchers and pro-blockchain politicians.
Advocates and lawmakers discussed the possibility of blockchain technology being used beyond finance at the summit. They said that the technology can be used to secure property taxes and even protect elections.
Texas Republicans and entrepreneurs see cryptocurrencies as a great match. Cruz stated that blockchain and the state’s philosophy have a very natural combination.
Industry experts describe a symbiotic relationship among bitcoin miners, and the state’s grid operator the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Advocates suggest that the spread of blockchain technology could help stabilize a Texas grid that was increasingly under scrutiny for its failures during a storm that saw an average of 70% of Texas’s residents without power for 42 hours.
They believe that mining could increase the demand for power, which could encourage new sources to be created. Lee Bratcher, president and CEO of the Texas Blockchain Council, stated that bitcoin mining is not continuous. When the grid is under strain, the mines can be shut down. ERCOT actually pays Bitcoin mining companies to stop their activities during these times. Bratcher explained that the grid is then fed any unused power they have from their base load demands.