Texas has garnered a reputation for being very pro crypto. The state opened its borders to several miners from China about two years ago after their home country announced in the summer of 2021 that crypto mining would no longer be permitted per new rules from Beijing.
Texas Citizens Have Mining Concerns
With nowhere to turn, many reverted their sights to the Lone Star State, admiring its many open lands and its cheap electricity prices. Not wanting to miss out on the economic boosts it would likely incur, Texas allowed several crypto miners to move in and set up businesses. There would be heavy fees to pay, thus keeping the economy up to speed, and there would also likely be the creation of several new jobs.
Things seemed fine at first, and it appears the state has been giving many new miners incentives and financial rewards for setting up shops within Texas, but there are many residents that aren’t happy about this. They feel their state is causing lots of irreparable harm to the environment and local communities.
One of the big mining companies that makes its home in Texas is Riot Blockchain. It’s building two sites in the state: one in Navarro, the other in Milam. The former is set to be the largest crypto mining facility in the world and will boast a total energy capacity of 1.7 gigawatts.
For some residents like Jackie Sawicky, the company is clearly taking advantage of the state’s energy protocols. Sawicky leads a group called Concerned Citizens of Navarro County. Made up of 700 residents, the organization seeks to place serious limits on crypto mining in Texas. In an interview, Sawicky said:
If Riot wasn’t underwritten and subsidized by Texas taxpayers and those of us who pay our bills, would they even still be in business? They’re going to shut down anyway.
However, there are many other mining companies sticking up for Riot and who feel it’s contributing great things to society in both Texas and beyond. Positive sentiment comes from the CEO of Marathon Holdings Fred Thiel, who stated:
Most people don’t understand that bitcoin miners act as great load balancers and are very complementary to the grid in Texas. They provide financial incentives for more renewable energy to be developed.
Jason Cox – an energy consultant that works with Riot and other crypto mining firms – said:
You really need to look into all the demand response programs, especially certain types of demand response services.
Employment Isn’t a Big Deal
Some argue that jobs and employment opportunities stem from mining companies, but Sawicky disagrees.
For example, it’s slated at press time that the new Riot locations will create over 400 jobs, but given the size of Texas, Sawicky doesn’t see that number as anything special.