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Crypto-currency Mining in TX Brings Opportunity and Risk

Todd Carney's picture
Writer, Freelance

Todd Carney is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Communications. He writes on many different aspects of energy, in particular how it...

  • Member since 2021
  • 147 items added with 33,316 views
  • Feb 15, 2022

Energy will always be a major part of Texas. The oil industry has long been a major employment hub for the state. In TX’s modern history, it has moved beyond relying on solely energy, to include other industries, particularly tech. Austin is practically known as a second Silicon Valley. With the prevalence of tech and energy in TX, it is only natural that the state become involved in crypto-mining. However, the opportunities of crypto-currency come with some risks.

TX Governor Greg Abbott is looking to take the bitcoin mining activity that China has pushed away by leveraging TX’s energy capabilities to pick up the slack that China could not keep up with. TX Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn have praised the opportunities from crypto-currency mining.

TX politicians are not the only ones promoting crypto-currency mining. Many tech companies are excited by TX’s energy capabilities. Many major international companies are looking to become dominant in utilizing TX’s infrastructure. There were even two 23-year-olds who made millions in TX through crypto-currency mining.

A constant controversy around crypto-currency mining is the amount of energy it uses. On paper, TX might seem like the perfect state to overcome this risk. However, TX famously had major issues with its energy grid last year in the winter. Many are concerned that if TX was already pushed to the brink in the winter last year, if in the future TX faces similar weather conditions and now has crypto-currency mining putting further strain on the industry, that could make the situation even worse.

Leading politicians in TX claim that the grid is in much better shape, but that is not stopping skeptics from raising concern, include politicians from other states, because energy troubles in TX could impact the whole US. As a result, the debate will continue over crypto-currency mining in the US, as it rolls-out in TX.

Jeff Nottingham's picture
Jeff Nottingham on Feb 15, 2022

Todd, you make no mention of the usefulness crypto miners provide the grid, and the economic benefits to them.  TX has superb demand response programs and very cheap power 98% of the time.  When the grid is stressed, miners can drop offline either voluntarily (to avoid high spot prices) or as part of a demand-response program operated by ERCOT or the local distribution utilities.  Rather than put a strain on resources, miners actually help the grid (and themselves) with such operational flexibility.

Todd Carney's picture
Thank Todd for the Post!
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