The town of Rockdale, Texas is small and doesn’t have much of a population. It may not seem like the city has much to offer, but for bitcoin miners, the amount of open space combined with low energy costs is a dream come true, and two big companies – Bit Deer and Riot Blockchain – are duking it out for dominance over the area.
Rockdale Is the Envy of Major BTC Miners
Both companies are within proximity of each other. In fact, Bit Deer – a division of Bitmain, arguably the biggest supplier and distributor of crypto mining equipment in the world – is less than a mile away. Not much is known about the company, while Riot has been rather transparent and is one of the largest publicly traded mining firms available to traders.
The CEO of Riot’s Whinstone mine Chad Harris explained in an interview:
In this industry, everyone’s like, ‘Ooh, top secret, we have proprietary information!’ Well, you don’t. You take a cable, you plug it into a machine that somebody else built, you turn it on, you add a pool, and you mine bitcoin.
Rockdale, at one point, hosted the world’s largest aluminum plant, and it is in this plant that both mining firms have made their homes. The town is known for its high energy capacity, which ultimately began to go to waste beginning in 2008 after the plant started shutting down its operations.
John King – the mayor of Rockdale – says that the town doesn’t have much to offer other than a large Walmart supercenter, though for miners, the area is electricity heaven. Explaining how miners earn revenue, King said in an interview:
Miners are committed to buying a certain amount of power and what they do is they sell it back at market [value] and make a profit. They have a contract of two cents or three cents… and they can sell it for $9 a kilowatt hour.
In addition to the amount of electricity that’s available, the entire grid is run through what’s known as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). The grid is fully deregulated, so miners that come along looking for a place to set up their operations are privy to whichever provider they choose, and nobody is confined to a single company.
Reversing the “Adverse” Effects
Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas believes that bitcoin can potentially solve a lot of the energy problems that can be caused by bad weather in the state. Discussing the winter storm of early 2021, Cruz commented:
There were lots of things that went wrong, but I do think that bitcoin has the potential to address a lot of aspects of that. A lot of the discussion around bitcoin views bitcoin as a consumer of energy. The perspective I’m suggesting is very much the reverse, which can strengthen our energy infrastructure.
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