Quebec Mining Drama: Bitmain Money Muscle or Local Sour Grapes?


Tempers are flaring in Quebec, as its climate and relatively cheap electricity have made it a magnet for the burgeoning cryptocurrency mining industry. The provincial government and its energy concern, Hydro-Quebec, have been accused of playing favorites to the likes of mining giants such as Bitmain. Also read: Troll Slayer: Derek Magill Defends Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash Against Defamation Quebec Mining Drama Continues and So Does Debate About Influence Quebecers are known for their regional passion. They’ve openly fought to preserve their French roots in language, for example, and are provincial in the extreme, patriotic sense; at least that’s the dominant impression. And so when economic concerns arise, politicians and industry are expected to favor locals. Quebec has among the lowest, if not the lowest, rates on the continent. Miners have sought its favorable conditions through last year and up to the present, leaning on cheap electricity produced by Hydro-Quebec. It seemed a match made in bitcoin heaven, and for a time the province embraced the rush. Hydro-Quebec contracts fetched multi-year deals. The getting was so good, however, it became worrisome. By Spring of this year, the energy supplier hit the pause button on future deals, as applications were overwhelming in number. Some experts even suggested that, in its zeal, Hydro-Quebec actually oversold electricity packages to miners, threatening even domestic supply. It seemed mining and Quebec were about to divorce as a result.   Around the same time, Quebec Premier, Philippe Couillard, voiced snide sarcasm at mining prospects. “There needs to…
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