Quebec Blogger Slams Government For Dissing Crypto Mining

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The Quebec government's recent actions to detach cryptocurrency mining from the area has drawn criticism from Francois Remy, head of the electronic desk in Les Affaires, a Quebec newspaper, in a recent blog.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has stated the bitcoin miners planning to move into the region won't get inexpensive electricity from the government-owned utility Hydro-Quebec, as the utility might not have enough power to meet up with the demand. The utility has obtained an order to await instructions from the authorities.

«In recent months, we've received projects representing several thousand megawatts,» stated a recent follow-up record sent by Hydro-Québec to a blockchain contractors.

Blockchain Contractors Won't Be Served

Hydro-Quebec has advised some blockchain contractors it won't have the ability to supply them with power. The utility noted it is developing guidelines for providing projects, taking into account the needs of other customers and limiting rate increases to the level of inflation.

Projects have asked amounts of electricity which are 5,000% above that of the average home consumption, in some cases surpassing that of aluminum smelters, Remy noted.

Pierre Moreau, the Quebec Minister of Energy, stated that blockchain projects request high levels of electricity without creating many jobs — sometimes two or three jobs — whereas aluminum smelters create hundreds of jobs.

Moreau said the government wants to assure residents that it will not tell them they can't provide electricity during peak winter energy usage periods due to cryptocurrency mining.

A Change In Management

The new position diverges in the utility's previous efforts to attract companies using large amounts of electricity, such as bitcoin miners, Remy observed. The utility's goal was to double revenue to almost $30 billion by 2030 based on strategies dedicated to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

The utility's first strategy was effective, considering the coming of American cloud technology giants like Google, Amazon and Microsoft, Remy noted. For the fifth consecutive year, the utility will pay a dividend exceeding $2 billion to shareholders, according to its CEO, Eric Martel.

Quebec has succumbed to the deceptive, purely speculative and reckless impression of electronic currencies portrayed by the general media and conventional economists, Remy observed.

The creator of Academie Bitcoin, a Montreal bitcoin consultancy, is not surprised by a counterproductive political directive concerning cryptocurrencies, given the government's hostility to technological change, Remy noted.

This has been demonstrated by its effort to ban Uber and to taxation web giants.

Hamel said the players are extremely mobile, and several gas and oil producers are ready to host mining fueled by fossil resources that are hard to export elsewhere than in america.

A 'Campaign Of Fear'

Hamel called the Couillard government's actions a «campaign of fear» that contradicts what previous governments have sought to reach for 20 years — technological investments which will diversify the economy that depends on natural resources.

The Couillard government prevents investment of private capital in closed factories, said Hamel, who asserts the government's resistance is much more ideological than factual. He said bitcoin mining presents an incentive to use clean, renewable energy.

Bitfarms, which operates bitcoin farms, hopes the Couillard government considers the financial consequences in the creation of any tariffs.

Bitfarms currently employs 80 people and plans to add another 300 in 2018 on a full-time basis, based on available electricity if tariffs do not rise, according to the company's public relations manager, Bahador Zabihiyan.

Bitfarms data centers produce three jobs per MW. Positions include engineers, programmers, electricians and analysts, with an average salary of $55,163, with advantages.

Utililty Uses Alarmist Data

The crypto mining energy consumption figures published by Hydro-Quebec, from 3,000 to 10,000 MW, are alarmist and hypothetical, and might make it hard for a miner to be rewarding, said Zabihiyan, adding that it is a shame to use such numbers in the negotiations.

Auctioning energy blocks to assist players with a short-term strategy would be a worst-case scenario for Hydro-Quebec since it would help players using a short-term strategy, Zabihiyan observed. A company like Bitfarms wants to invest for a longer term and might not be able to outbid players using a short-term strategy.