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Crypto-Friendly Quebec Discounts Electricity, Luring Bitcoin Miners into Canada

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:44 PM
Ben Brown
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:44 PM

By CCN.com: Canada aims to lure cryptocurrency miners by offering cheap electricity in Quebec. The city’s energy authority, Régie de l’énergie , has asked its largest power provider to set aside an additional 300 megawatts of discounted energy for new bitcoin mining projects.

Until now, crypto mining has been fiercely concentrated in China. But as Beijing mulls an outright ban on bitcoin mining, the industry is flocking to Canada.

Quebec: cheapest bitcoin mining rates in N. America

The leading power provider Hydro-Quebec had previously set aside 368 megawatts of discounted energy for crypto miners. Under the new regulation, Hydro-Quebec will add an extra 300 specifically to attract new projects, totalling 668 megawatts.

New miners will submit an application outlining plans for job creation and attracting new investment to the region. The projects will also be expected to offer a plan for heat recovery to offset the energy waste from mining.

Hydro-Quebec generates an energy surplus using renewable hydro energy. Source: Hydro-Quebec

Despite the strict criteria, Hydro-Quebec is confident in attracting big players:

“We don’t think we will have any trouble attracting projects” – Jonathan Cote, Hydro Quebec .

Crypto miners say goodbye to China

The new initiative comes as China debates a full ban on cryptocurrency mining. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) last month recommended that bitcoin mining be eliminated.

If the recommendation is adopted, bitcoin miners will be forced to look elsewhere. Bitmain, the biggest name in bitcoin mining, has been building a presence in Canada for a number of years. Company spokesperson Nishant Sharma confirmed in an interview with Reuters  that the company was exploring sites in Quebec specifically.

A spokesman for Hydro-Quebec confirmed the industry shift from China to Canada:

“Of the world’s top five largest blockchain players, we have at least three or four” – David Vincent, director of business development Hydro-Quebec.

Quebec’s U-turn on bitcoin mining

The latest move may come as a surprise to some crypto miners. Last year, the same Quebec authority halted new mining applications for a period. As CCN.com reported, Régie de l’énergie also approved a price hike on bitcoin miners which saw energy rates almost double.

The swift U-turn suggests the Canadian authorities now see the benefit of bitcoin mining in the region. The low energy rates grant bitcoin mining the same status as established data centers and manufacturers.

It’s a clear nod of confidence and acceptance in bitcoin as it creeps towards mainstream acceptance.