Quebec poised to become bitcoin mining hub as China cracks down on energy-sapping miners

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Global News | By Rahul Kalvapalle | Jan 18, 2018

Hampered by their own government, Chinese bitcoin miners are increasingly looking to Canada to house their lucrative but energy-sapping facilities.

“Currently, there are some so-called ‘mining’ enterprises that produce ‘virtual currencies.’ They have consumed huge amounts of resources and stoked speculation of ‘virtual currencies,'” read a translation of the document, according to Quartz.

Multiple bitcoin miners also told Reuters that local authorities were taking various steps to clamp down on their operations.

That’s prompting them to consider expanding abroad, and it looks like one of their first ports of call might be Quebec.

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On Wednesday, Montreal-based blockchain consulting entrepreneur and bitcoin evangelist Francis Pouliot pitched bitcoin mining to representatives from the data storage, telecom and power industries at the Greater Montreal & Quebec Data Centre Summit.

He was there on Hydro Quebec‘s invitation.

Why Quebec?

It all comes down to cheap energy.

Hydro Quebec offers some of the lowest electricity rates in North America. The utility says the province has an energy surplus equivalent to 100 terawatt hours over 10 years. A single terawatt hour powers 60,000 homes in Quebec during a year.

“We have the energy available,” Eric Filion, customer vice-president for Hydro Quebec’s distribution division, told Reuters. “It’s a question of finding land and buildings quickly.”

Hydro Quebec wouldn’t divulge the names of miners interested in moving their facilities to the province, but said companies are eyeing operations from about 20 megawatts, the size of a data centre, to sites as large as 300 megawatts.

“Of the world’s top five largest blockchain players, we have at least three or four,” David Vincent, director of business development at Hydro Quebec distribution, told Reuters.

Last week, a spokesman for China-based Bitmain Technologies confirmed that the company was in talks with regional power authorities in Quebec, with an eye towards identifying potential bitcoin mining sites in the province.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a national non-profit actively engaged with social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, peer-to-peer (P2P), initial coin offerings (ICO), and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, networking opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, academia and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and online financing industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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