US Authorities Uncover Chinese-linked Bitcoin Mining Operations

The discovery of numerous Bitcoin mining operations with ties to China on American soil has flagged serious national security concerns among US authorities. A comprehensive report published by The New York Times on October 13 unveils a substantial presence of Bitcoin data centres in the US, traceable back to the Chinese government. The proximity of some of these operations to critical military and infrastructure sites further exacerbates the apprehensions. A notable case is a mining operation in Wyoming, situated adjacent to a Microsoft data center, pivotal in supporting various Department of Defence initiatives.

Geopolitical Undercurrents

The exploration sheds light on the potential risks emerging from growing Chinese-linked mining operations amidst the escalating political discord between the United States and China. The latter’s decision to outlaw mining activities in 2021 propelled many mining entities to migrate to crypto-receptive US states like Texas and Wyoming. The broader geopolitical implications are palpable as these revelations come at a time of heightened tension between the two superpowers, with the US continually scrutinizing cryptocurrency usage by individuals and corporations affiliated with China. Moreover, six Congress members called for a thorough investigation in July, following allegations of the cryptocurrency startup Prometheum having connections to the Chinese government.

Power Grid and Infrastructure Stress

The infrastructural stress induced by these mining operations is significant. The collective energy consumption of Chinese-owned or operated Bitcoin mining facilities across at least twelve states equates to that of 1.5 million households, posing a considerable demand on the US power grid. These mining facilities, harboring specialized computers operating ceaselessly, have the potential for targeted blackouts and cyberattacks due to their substantial energy usage and the instantaneous capability to escalate or cease operations, presenting a unique challenge among large power users.

Ownership and Equipment Supply

A commonality among these mining operations is the utilization of computing equipment produced by Bitmain, a Chinese enterprise. Following China’s ban on Bitcoin mining in May 2021, there has been a noticeable uptick in equipment shipments from Bitmain to the US. The ownership structures of these mining ventures range from transparent investments by affluent Chinese nationals seeking revenue channels outside China’s jurisdiction, to more murky setups with several traceable back to the Chinese government.

The revelation of Chinese-linked Bitcoin mining operations dispersed across the US, intertwined with substantial energy consumption and potential national security threats, has garnered the attention of both US government officials and corporations. The unfolding scenario evokes pressing inquiries concerning cybersecurity, energy sustainability, and the ongoing geopolitical strain between the US and China.

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Bitfury Floats 28MW Bitcoin Mining Farm in Canada

Amsterdam-based Bitcoin (BTC) mining company Bitfury has announced the launch of a new data centre in Sarnia, Ontario, with an initial energy generation capacity of 28 MW.


As detailed in a press release shared by the company, the new facility will commence operations by the end of February with a 16 MW capacity. The remaining 12 MW capacity will be incorporated by the end of May.

The Sarnia facility will run on hardware and software designed and produced by Bitfury, including the company’s specialized ASIC chips and other high-performance mining equipment. 

“As one of the industry’s first and most established Bitcoin miners, we are pleased to continue to expand our operations with the launch of our state-of-the-art facility in Sarnia,” said Brian Brooks, Chief Executive Officer of Bitfury and a former U.S. OCC boss. “The demand for exposure to digital assets is exceptionally high, and the combination of Bitfury’s best-in-class infrastructure and proven operational expertise uniquely positions us to serve as a partner of choice to customers and investors globally.”

According to the company’s announcement, the capacity of the Sarnia plant has to be extended up to 200 MW. The new mining outfit complements Bitfury’s hosting capacity, adding to the company’s existing active digital asset mining sites in North America, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe/Central Asia.

Strategically, the period is a good time for mining-focused companies to extend their capacity. There is a growing shift in resource allocation in the wake of the miners’ crackdown in Kazakhstan. With the likelihood to force Bitcoin miners out of Kazakhstan, most of the current operators, most of whom moved to the country from China last year, will also need a new home altogether.

The impending migration is billed to reduce the Bitcoin mining hashrate, which can favour existing miners, of which Bitfury will be a big beneficiary.

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CleanSpark Acquires Second Data Center To Increase Bitcoin Mining Capacity

The software company that recently started mining bitcoin has purchased an 87,000 square foot data center to increase its mining capacity.

CleanSpark, a software and services company that recently ventured into bitcoin mining, has announced the acquisition of an 87,000 square foot data center in Norcross, Georgia. The company plans to leverage the new facility to increase its current bitcoin mining capacity.

“This facility, with its 20 MW of power, will allow us to put over 6,000 additional S19s into operation,” said Zach Bradford, the CEO and President of CleanSpark. “It is expected to produce over 650 PH/s upon installation.”

The former Sprint/Nextel data center was purchased for $6.55 million in a deal closed on August 6, 2021, and is located 33 miles away from the current operations of CleanBlok, the company’s bitcoin mining arm, in Atlanta. It will provide an additional 20 megawatts (MW) of power to its mining operations. CleanSpark said it expects to complete the installation of the mining infrastructure and have the miners running by late 2021.

The bitcoin mining operations that will take place in the new data center are expected to be 100% net carbon-neutral. This will be made possible through Georgia’s Simple Solar program, which will allow CleanSpark to offset the location’s carbon footprint with solar energy. The company said it plans to go further and add renewables onsite, including solar and other microgrid solutions.

This purchase follows CleanSpark’s recent announcement outlining its expansion plans for 2021 as the company makes strides to increase its mining fleet. By year-end, the company’s ambitious goal is to have a 2,000 petahashes per second (PH/s) hash rate capacity.

“We have been working on a number of opportunities to increase our Bitcoin production capabilities, including energy expansion in Atlanta, our partnership with Coinmint, and now the purchase of this facility to increase the total energy capacity in our portfolio,” Bradford added. “We have over 23,500 S19 ASICS miners that will be delivered over the coming year.”


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Estonian IT company inks $26M crypto mining deal with Bitmain

Estonian technology conglomerate Burfa is turning to Bitmain to supply key cryptocurrency mining infrastructure to its Narva-based data center, offering a glimpse into the arms race underway for high-performance computing resources. 

The $26-million agreement will allow Burfa to double its data center capacity and secure a steady supply of processing equipment over the coming months. The industrial sector is facing an acute shortage of specialized GPUs and SSDs as more of these resources get gobbled up by crypto-intensive firms that have ramped up Bitcoin (BTC) mining during the bull market.

Burfa will start receiving the new equipment as early as summer, the company announced Wednesday.

“There are clear limits to hardware production and this contract places us among a dozen or so major clients in the world who could secure such a large volume of additional resources,” said Ivan Turygin, chairman of the board at Burfa. “All others will have to wait until the supply chains are restored back to normal or pay a lot more for the equipment on the secondary market.”

He also said that growing cryptocurrency adoption, as evidenced by the now $1.7 trillion digital-asset class, will serve as a boon to Burfa’s expansion plans moving forward.

Burfa was founded in 2013 as a developer of cryptocurrency mining equipment. The company pivoted to high-performance data centers in 2017 before migrating its operations to the Enefit Technology Park in Narva.

Related: Riot Blockchain purchases 42,000 Antminers from Bitmain

Du Shisheng, vice president of Bitmain’s mining division, spoke about the company’s long-standing partnership with Burfa:

“The Burfa Group companies have been our long-term and trusted customers. This is also the basis for the current contract, ensuring that Burfa gets state-of-the-art and most efficient technology for developing their high-performance data centers.”

Bitmain is one of the world’s largest makers of crypto mining equipment. The company filed for a public listing in September 2018 but didn’t follow through with its plans. At the time, a publicly listed Bitmain was earmarked to be worth up to $50 billion.