As One City in Quebec Bans Digital Currency Mining, Others Welcome It
Brome-Missisquoi, in Montérégie, Quebec, recently banned the creation and expansion of digital currency mining operations for a 90-day period.
Quebec has seen an influx of digital mining operations open, expand in, and move to the province. HydroQuebec began a campaign in January 2018 to encourage digital currency miners to move to the area, but later had to reconsider their policies due to an influx in interest and demand from home and abroad.
The three month ban in Brome-Missisquoi
On Tuesday, March 20th, 2018, mayors of the Brome-Missisquoi MRC Council voted unanimously in favour of the digital currency mining ban.
“During that time, the council will think about adopting a rule to better formulate construction permits for these types of businesses in our territory,” said Robert Desmarais, director general of the MRC, to Radio-Canada.
Desmarais went on to express his concerns about the social, economic and environmental benefits of digital currency mining operations.
“These centres occupy quite large spaces, create few jobs, have an extremely high demand for electricity and cause noise pollution because it takes extremely strong fans to remove the heat that is generated by the computers in the warehouses,” said Desmarais.
Canadian digital currency miner Bitfarms committed $250M, creating over 250 jobs in the area prior to ban
Coinsquare News reached out to one of the largest digital currency mining companies in Canada, Bitfarms, to talk about the impact this change may have. The Quebec-owned mining operation has locations across its home province including in Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge, Cowansville, and Farnham in the Brome-Missisquoi region.
Bitfarms confirmed the ban has not affected its current operations or any plans for Brome-Missisquoi. Prior to the Brome-Missisquoi ban, Bitfarms committed a $250 million investment to build a facility in Sherbrooke, Quebec, that will create 250 jobs for the region.
Bitfarms in Sherbrooke:=>250 jobs=>An investment of 250 millions dollars=>More than 30 million dollars paid to the city annually for the electricity provided by Hydro-Sherbrooke
Posted by Bitfarms on Sunday, March 11, 2018
“Our most important project this year is in the city of Sherbrooke. Hydro-Sherbrooke, which is the municipal electricity company, gave us access to 98MW of clean hydroelectricity,” explained Bahador Zabihayan, Director of Public and Government Relations, Bitfarms, in a comment to Coinsquare News . “We have the full support of the mayor of Sherbrooke, Steve Lussier.”
Mayor of Sherbrooke, Quebec says blockchain will “revolutionize” society
“Quebec will have an energy surplus equivalent to 100 terawatt hours over the next 10 years,” continues Zabihayan, “Bitfarms can help Hydro-Quebec to reduce the surplus, which will benefit all Quebecers. In Sherbrooke, for example, we only consume electricity surplus. It will bring around $40 million dollars to Hydro-Sherbrooke every year.”
In contrast to the Brome-Missisquoi council, the mayor of Sherbrooke welcomes a company he notes “became a leader in Canada, a few months after its creation”.
“We’re very pleased that Bitfarms is coming to Sherbrooke,” said Steve Lussier, Mayor of Sherbrooke, “The entire population will benefit from this innovative, growing tech company because of its positive economic impact on Sherbrooke. I would like to thank the company’s management team for their confidence and assure them of our collaboration in their success.”
Lussier spoke extensively in March at a joint event with Bitfarms and is an obvious proponent of digital currencies and blockchain technology.
“The new blockchain technology will revolutionize our society,” said Lussier.
As the digital currency and blockchain industry grows, regulators and governments are challenged with an entirely new sector to accommodate and regulate, and very little in the way of precedent or operational frameworks.
For digital currency mining, geographic and political stakeholders will need to weigh the economic opportunity with any implications for energy prices and sustainable consumption.
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