Large-scale Bitcoin miners in the U.S. are looking to Scandinavia, the Middle East and other regions to expand their energy-intensive and lightly regulated industry.
“We are geographically diversified in the U.S. … but we are also looking outside the U.S.,” Mike Levitt, chief executive of Austin, Texas-based mining company Core Scientific, said at the Bitcoin Conference 2022 in Miami on Thursday. The most logical regions are Scandinavia and the Middle East, where some nations have suitable power sources and capital, he said.
Bitcoin miners also are searching for regions with fewer policy risks since the U.S. dethroned China as the world’s Bitcoin mining hub after Beijing’s crypto ban last May. Then just last month, the Texas state energy operator instituted a review process that could delay crypto miners for a few months from connecting to the power grid.
Bitcoin miners had been flocking to Texas for its low electricity prices and liberal regulations on crypto mining. New York and Washington have put forward strict regulations on crypto miners due to their large demand on local grids and environmental concerns.
Miners say the regulatory efforts are a reason to look elsewhere.
“The middle east is a very interesting place because they have asymmetry in power and energy,” Fred Thiel, chief executive of Marathon Digital, said at the conference. “In the UAE in the summertime, they generate four gigawatts of power to run their air conditioners, the other nine months of the year they only use one gigawatt and three gigawatts sitting idle.”
As for Europe, Thiel said, “The political winds in Europe are very anti.”