Canadian City Balances Energy Demands With World's Largest Bitcoin Mining Farm

This week, the grand opening of the largest bitcoin farm in the world was overshadowed by a statement from the city that they would be temporarily shut down in event that a heat wave overloaded capacity. BitFury and Hut 8 set up the mining farm in Medicine Hat, Canada with the expectation that they would be welcome in a region that is known as a top energy producer.

Over $100 million has been invested in the giant mining operation, with 56 shipping containers spread over a 4.5 hectare plot. The bitcoin farm consumes roughly the same amount of electricity as the entire Medicine Hat City, which is home to over 60,000 people, generating 20 bitcoins a day in the process.

Andrew Kiguel, Hut 8’s CEO made the following statement:

Medicine Hat has enough power capacity to service both Hut 8's load and the city's load through a heat wave, without any blackouts. In the event of equipment failure, the load to Hut 8 would be curtailed, as is standard for any industrial power producer.

Andrew Kiguel

Despite the heat wave caveat, Medicine Hat mayor Ted Clugston seemed generally welcome to crypto in an interview given at the mining farm on Monday. Clugson admitted that he knows very little about cryptocurrency, but said that he was happy to sell BitFury and Hut 8 electricity. Still, he feels that the industry is nonessential, and will be the first to get cut off in cases of emergency or scarcity.

Andrew Kiguel, CEO of Hut 8 said that people who have lost faith in traditional banking institutions see crypto as an extremely valuable tool. Kiguel stated:

Bitcoin was created during the financial crisis. It has really served a purpose in terms of providing the opportunity for people who don't necessarily trust their government or their central banks.

Andrew Kiguel

The mayor has received pressure from groups concerned about the amount of energy that the bitcoin farm would use. However, there are many misconceptions behind fears of cryptocurrency representing an environmental danger.

Critics argue that cryptocurrency mining operations could make better efforts to use sustainable energy sources, however, proponents of the technology insist the energy consumption is smaller than traditional banking and credit card companies. It has even been calculated that Bitcoin mining uses less electricity annually than seasonal Christmas lights.

As CryptoGlobe recently reported, Bitfury, one of the companies behind the mining farm, revealed a new ASIC chip that they touted as being, “unparalleled in performance and efficiency.”

Cryptocurrency advocates say that the temporary shutdown of even a large bitcoin mining operation such as Medicine Hat would have a minimal impact on the network, because it comprises a very small portion of the global distributed hashrate.

Tim Draper Calls Indian Government “Pathetic and Corrupt” Over Bitcoin Ban

  • Tim Draper calls the Indian government "pathetic and corrupt" over a proposed ban on cryptocurrency.
  • Unofficial drafted bill has emerged online making the use of cryptocurrency punishable with 10 years in prison.

American billionaire investor Tim Draper has called out the Indian government over its purported plan to ban bitcoin and all forms of cryptocurrency. 

Proposed Bitcoin Ban

On July 14, blockchain lawyer Varun Sethi published to Twitter an unofficial draft of a bill circulating the Indian government that would ban the use of cryptocurrency. 

In addition to prohibiting the use of bitcoin, the bill seeks to impose a 10-year prison sentence on Indian citizens who “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies.” The bill does allow one caveat for the digital rupee, which is a token issued and backed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). 

Pathetic and Corrupt

In response to the proposed ban, Tim Draper took to Twitter to vent his feelings against the Modi government. 

Draper, who is known for his massive investments in Baidu, Skype, and Tesla, has become a bitcoin bull over the years, in addition to issuing some of the more far-fetched price predictions.

The American investor has also been an active presence encouraging developing countries to consider the benefits of bitcoin and digital currencies. More recently, he advocated the utility of bitcoin to the Argentine government, a country that has been combating fiat hyperinflation for years. 

Others Weigh In

Other high profile individuals have voiced their disapproval over the Indian government considering a bitcoin ban, including Barry Silbert who predicted the decision having the opposite effect on bitcoin adoption. 

John McAfee also chimed in with his belief that governments have little control over the use of bitcoin. 

Supporters of the Ban

However, not everyone took kindly to Draper’s harsh criticism of the Modi government. Given the rise in cryptocurrency-related scams over the past two years, some Indian citizens believe banning bitcoin will be a net positive for the country. 

While Draper may be stirring national sentiment related to cryptocurrency, it’s worth noting that the Indian government has yet to impose a ban of any sort. However, given the amount of rhetoric over the last several months and the more recent emergence of the drafted bill, it appears the Modi government is indeed contemplating decisive action against bitcoin and digital currencies.