For many people, i.e. Warren Buffett, bitcoin and cryptocurrency are two things that should be avoided at all costs. For others however, like billionaire Peter Thiel, bitcoin’s success is just getting started, and the coin represents a whole new wave of financial innovation that the world hasn’t seen yet.
Peter Thiel: The BTC Champion?
Thiel is the co-founder of PayPal. His love of crypto is ironic considering he lost former executive David Marcus to Facebook’s blockchain division. Marcus later became in charge of developing Libra, who’s Libra Association was originally comprised of 28 members. Now, several members have left the group and are looking to pursue other ventures. The company to start these exits was likely PayPal, one of Libra’s biggest supporters at one stage.
Thiel is now pledging support for a company called Layer1, an energy-conscious bitcoin mining operation based in San Francisco, CA. At press time, Theil has pledged as much as $50 million to the company, as well as $2.1 million in a separate, private seed round.
The idea of bitcoin mining has proven to be very controversial over the years, with some sources saying it takes as much energy to mine bitcoin as it does to power the city of Las Vegas. In addition, some countries, such as China, are looking to implement a ban on bitcoin mining in the future given that it allegedly poses dangers to the atmosphere.
Layer1 is supported entirely by renewable energy (i.e. solar, wind, etc.) It’s looking to establish strong competition between the U.S. and China in terms of bitcoin mining (China currently accounts for about 60 percent of the world’s bitcoin mining). It is also looking to develop several wind-powered mining rigs in Texas by early 2020.
The U.S. Can Get Ahead of China
The company’s co-founder and chief executive Alexander Liegl explains in a statement:
According to industry research, over 60 percent of bitcoin’s hash rate and 100 percent of bitcoin hardware production are based in China. Less than five percent of bitcoin’s hash rate and zero percent of hardware production are situated in the United States… The future of bitcoin mining lies in the heart of the United States: Texas. This is where world-class electricity prices, friendly regulation and an abundance of renewable energy sources meet. It is here that we are rapidly scaling our mining operations to bring as much hash rate as possible back to the U.S.
As it stands, Layer1 is buying land in West Texas like crazy and is even looking into developing its own processing chips for mining in the future. This would put it in direct competition with China. In addition, it appears that renewable energy-based bitcoin mining operations are becoming more popular around the world, with nations like Germany and Norway joining the ranks.