There are strong indications that Quebec has no interest in becoming a hub for bitcoin mining. Ever since the Chinese government began to take a tougher stance of cryptocurrencies, with reports of restrictions being placed on bitcoin mining activities, large-scale bitcoin miners have been looking for alternatives.
Places like Montana in the North-western United States and several places in Canada have been identified as good candidates for establishing large bitcoin mining complexes. This is due to cheap and readily available electricity as well as a naturally cold climate which helps to combat the heat expended during bitcoin mining.
Speaking at a conference in Montreal, Canada on Friday, March 2, 2018, Philippe Couillard, the Premier of Quebec said that the government of the province sees no economic merit in the activities of bitcoin mining companies.
According to the Premier, if all the bitcoin miners do is come into the provinces, set up mining facilities and carry out their bitcoin mining, then they are of no real value to Québécois.
While the Premier sees no real societal or economic merit in bitcoin mining, he did declare support for blockchain companies. In the statement at the conference, he said that he was open to the idea of having blockchain-based companies that create real economic value to come into Quebec.
He also went on further to say that these companies have the potential to cause tangible technological transformation for the benefit of Québécois. He offered no objection to the use of cryptocurrencies by these companies admitting that they might have to use cryptocurrencies to finance such projects.
In a related development, Hydro-Quebec had issued a warning that it would not offer cheap power to every company that wants to operate in the province.
The public utility company in charge of all electricity generation, transmission, and distribution in Quebec, the largest province in all of Canada has said that it will likely charge higher tariffs and fees for cryptocurrency miners.
Marc-Antoine Pouliot said that such a move is necessary considering the influx of requests being received by the province from bitcoin miners looking to establish mining facilities in Quebec. According to Pouliot, more than 100 companies are looking to come into the province to its significantly low energy prices.
Catherine Poulin, a spokesperson for Pierre Moreau, the Minister for Natural Resources in Quebec said that no formal decision has yet been made with regards to increasing the electricity tariffs for bitcoin miners. According to Catherine Poulin, the proposal is still being discussed among all the stakeholders.
Commenting on the issue, Pierre-Luc Quimper, the co-founder of Bitfarms, one of the largest bitcoin mining companies in Quebec, said that he is hopeful of reaching a mutually beneficial conclusion.
He urged the Minister to consider the innovations and job opportunities being provided by the activities of bitcoin miners. He expressed his willingness to meet with government officials in order to discuss his company’s activities.
Feature image by Dusuacangmong