Argentina investigates link between Bitcoin mining and power cuts
by: Dynasty GI2022-01-05
The Argentinian government is looking into whether power consumption by Bitcoin miners is behind a number of power cuts faced by parts of the country towards the end of last year.
It announced that the state-owned power wholesaler, Cammesa, is checking with big power consumers whether they are mining cryptocurrencies. Once identified, they may be asked to pay more for the energy consumed and to help invest in power infrastructure to continue mining. According to some local reports, some companies have started offering their space to host cryptocurrency mining operations, with more than 200 mining sites in operation, half of them in the Buenos Aires area. Argentina has been a target for Bitcoin mining operators due to its favourable power costs. Since China’s crackdown on crypto mining activities there from 2021, operations have moved to countries where conditions are believed to be more favourable. However, concerns remain regarding mining’s high energy demands and environmental impact where they use non-renewable sources of energy. This has led high profile businesses like Tesla to stop accepting Bitcoin as payment due to concerns over the cryptocurrency’s carbon footprint. Despite these concerns, coin miners continue to bet on the sector’s growth, with Marathon Digital Holdings recently ordering 78,000 new mining machines worth nearly US$ 900 million. Marathon is a Nasdaq-listed Bitcoin mining business based in Las Vegas and the order will take its total of machines to nearly 200,000 units, with a hash rate of 23.3 exahashes per second. As one of the largest public Bitcoin mining businesses in the world, Marathon is believed to have produced over 3,000 Bitcoins in 2021, currently valued at around US$ 140 million.