Ever heard of Cryptocurrency mining? It’s bringing new life to rural Texas communities

KBTX First News at Four(Recurring)
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 8:51 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KBTX) - Cryptocurrency companies have been making their way to Texas, but instead of going to Austin, Houston, or Dallas, they’ve headed to rural areas. According to a Texas Tribune article, around 30 of these companies have come to the Lone Star State in the past decade, and dozens more have shown interest.

Mitchell Ferman, a reporter for the Texas Tribune, shared why these small towns are desirable to Crypto companies, and whether the feeling is mutual.

He describes Cryptocurrency mining as “a bunch of computers in large warehouses that run programs against each other to generate these new currencies,” and says it’s a way “for people to accrue wealth outside of the traditional financial system.”

Businesses are attracted to Texas’ reputation as a business-friendly environment, its cheaper cost of living, and lower taxes.

“We’ve seen major urban areas grow a lot and so these Crypto companies are seeing that there are vast amounts of land and opportunity to grow in rural Texas,” explained Ferman.

Local officials have said is that it’s important for these Crypto companies to be partners to communities and not just come in, not talk to anyone and build these new systems.

So, in Milam County, a Crypto company helped rebuild the local animal shelter and installed new lights at local sports fields. Across the state in Dickens County, a Crypto company committed to refurbishing the county-owned pool, which closed more than a decade ago.

Ferman has found that most communities are accepting of these companies, which have brought dozens of jobs and added millions to local tax bases.

There are some concerns though. Crypto mines use a lot of energy, worrying Texans who have seen the fragility of the grid in the past.

The concerns are fair says Ferman, but “energy regulators and others who pay close attention to the grid say that the grid is not just going to allow these major industrial sites to connect if there is not sufficient power supply available.”

He also noted that these companies have the ability to turn off their machines if the grid is in situations where people are being asked to conserve energy.

There was some opposition in the form of a grassroots campaign in Navarro County, with citizens concerned about pollution, but Ferman says so far there hasn’t been widespread organized opposition to Crypto production in Texas.