Provinces exit crypto mining

Just as miners headed to Canada in 1896 to cash in on the gold rush, crypto miners found their way up north in recent years for a different kind of gold rush — one involving Bitcoin.  

But given the ongoing meltdown in the sector, the loot may be drying up.

What happened: Québec became a destination for crypto mining, a practice often criticized for its high energy use, by boasting some of North America’s cheapest energy prices. But now, Hydro-Québec has asked the province for permission to reallocate energy that had been set aside for crypto miners to other projects, per The Wall Street Journal.

  • When Québec sniffed an opportunity to become a crypto powerhouse in 2019, the province went so far as to allocate additional power to miners that met select criteria.
  • These days, Hydro-Québec would prefer to sell power to places like New York City and Massachusetts and allocate energy to meet the province’s own growing needs. 

Manitoba, another province that drew in crypto miners thanks to its cheap energy, also recently announced an 18-month moratorium on new mining projects, claiming these projects wouldn’t bring in enough good jobs to offset their burden on the electrical grid. 

Why it matters: Canada was the fourth-largest producer of Bitcoin last year, but much has changed since. As concerns pile up over the intense energy usage involved with crypto mining and the value of crypto itself, provinces may no longer see it as a viable pursuit.