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December 7, 2023
Ongoing discussions about crypto mining have been making their way across my desk via some of the news sources I regularly read – I’m not sure I understand all of the subtleties of Bitcoin and the blockchain system, but I try to keep up.
Crypto mining is becoming one of those hot ticket items in the Midsouth. It is the process that blockchain networks use to finalize transactions.
The facilities may not have a large footprint, some taking only six to eight mobile units to house the equipment, but they take a mind-boggling amount of energy because they need a great deal of computing power.
Because of the huge amount of energy crypto-mining facilities use, they are popping up in areas where electricity is cheap.
The New York Times has reported that 34 of the biggest crypto mines in the US are operating at 40 megawatts or higher. Each of the sites uses at least 30,000 times as much electricity as the average home in America.
The biggest of these facilities in Texas runs through as much electricity as the closest 300,000 homes combined, according to the Times.
In addition to the large amount of electricity that is needed for these facilities, there are concerns about noise and fossil fuel pollution, increased power costs due to rate hikes and the increased foreign ownership of land.
Arkansas County, Ark., found itself in a lawsuit with one of these companies when the county passed an ordinance to strengthen their noise ordinance in order to restrict the mining operation in one of its communities.
Arkansas has further inhibited the growth of these mining companies with the legislature’s ban of foreign-owned land within the state.
According to several special interest groups, there are great concerns in the Delta with the ability of the power grid to keep up with the demands of crypto-mining operations, especially after issues last winter and spring with storms that hit the area, which resulted in blackouts in many communities.
That doesn’t mean landowners need to keep away from income opportunities that arise for them, they just need to pay attention and be aware of any number of issues that may come up in the process. Do not go it alone, seek the council of those who know the playing field.
While the potential revenue source of crypto-mining facilities may be a draw for those who sell or rent land for them, the landowner must be aware of climate, energy costs, local regulations, community and stakeholder perceptions, and the viability of the block chain system – there have been several disruptions in this market.
It may be a daunting task to ask all the right questions to get the needed answers, but it is vitally important. Don’t assume anyone has your best interest at heart.
And, Delta Farm Press plans to track developments in this area as they advance.
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