Bitcoin mining is what's going on in this facility operated by Toronto-based Hut Eight, located just outside Drumheller, Alberta (Dave Rae/CBC)

Bitcoin mining boom underway in Canada

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Bitcoin mining operations are opening across Canada despite the recent collapse in the soaring crypto currency.

Bitcoin was in the global spotlight as the value went from under $1000 last June to nearly $20,000 by mid-December.

After plummeting in this new year to just over $7,000 it is now hovering around $10,000.

Those who believe in the blockchain system are taking advantage of Canadian power sources that are cheap and green.

10,000 megawatts

British Columbia, Manitoba, and the French-speaking province of Quebec have been welcoming companies from within Canada and around the world.

Louis-Olivier Batty, spokesperson for Hydro Quebec, says the provincial utility has fielded over a  hundred enquiries in the last month, most from Asia and more specifically, China.

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He speaks of these projects in terms of megawatts, ten thousand megawatts approximately.

He says the block chain sector “is looking for clean energy but also a reliable source of energy.”

A look at the DMG Blockchain Solutions bitcoin mine in southern B.C. The facility is nearly complete. (DMG Blockchain Solutions Inc./CBC)

And he says along with Quebec’s low rates, the climate is favourable to industries that need to spend to cool off all the servers used to build the blockchains.

Batty says it’s a great opportunity for these companies, and he acknowledges it’s a great opportunity for Quebec, providing another revenue stream.

And while the utility and the provincial government welcome the new industry, Batty says they are exercising caution with how they implement these block chain projects as they need to guarantee the hydro supply for Quebecers particularly during the peak periods of consumption, as in the winter for example.

Hydro Quebec is currently developing guidelines to determine which projects they will accept and will be announcing the projects soon.

The utility has been rather successful in its campaign to attract data centres with all the major tech companies operating in some capacity now, according to Batty.

Meanwhile, in the central province of Manitoba, Bruce Owen of Manitoba Hydro, told CBC reporter, Erin Collins, that there are now six major digital currency mines operating there.

Together, he said, they consume as much power as 18,000 new households.

And in west-coast British Columbia, DMG Blockchain Solutions is ready to put its 27,000 square foot bitcoin mine into production.

(Wtih files from CBC)

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Posted in Economy, International, Internet, Science and Technology

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