Québec to Lift Moratorium on Digital Currency Mining
According to Le Journal De Montreal, the government of Québec will lift its moratorium on supplying electricity to digital currency miners. The move follows the province’s at-times shifting opinion on the currency mining landscape.
Québec won’t miss the boat on cryptocurrency mining
Reportedly, Québec’s decision to lift its current moratorium is because the government wants to “avoid missing the ship” on the popularity and profitability of digital currencies.
As a result, leaders will present a decree aimed at regulating the sale of energy to miners of bitcoins and other digital currencies, in an approach purportedly more flexible than the temporary prohibition.
Digital currency mining is a process in which users or companies allow their devices to run software that verifies the legitimacy of pending blockchain transactions. This process is intended to allow digital currencies like Bitcoin to stay decentralized, as these currencies use a network of connected devices, rather than a central party, to ensure authenticity.
To incentivize participation in the network, these digital currencies often reward users with a portion (or the entirety) of the transaction’s fee, ensuring that users have a reason to engage in digital currency mining.
As a seemingly unintended result of this practice, a new industry around digital currency mining formed over the last few years. Now, public utilities like Hydro-Québec are left to pay serious consideration to if these practices will harm or reward local economies.
Québec’s currency mining acceptance goes back and forth
Perhaps understandably, Hydro-Québec and the province’s government have changed their minds on digital currency mining several times in the past. As other political factors and the cost of electricity come into play, it seems Québec’s authorities are continuously evaluating the profitability of allowing miners in the region.
Originally, Hydro-Québec invited international digital currency mining companies to relocate to the province to take advantage of its energy surplus. With the amount of interest it received, Hydro-Québec was forced to later recant this sentiment, saying it could not accommodate the newfound demand.
In March 2018, Premier Philippe Couillard said Bitcoin mining ‘does not contribute’ anything of value. While he said he is open to companies working with blockchain technology and using digital currencies to finance their projects, he stated a belief that these projects need to add value to society.
“If you want to come settle here, plug in your servers and do Bitcoin mining, we’re not really interested,” said Couillard, at the time.
With reports of the moratorium against supplying electricity to digital currency mining set to be lifted, it will be interesting to see how Hydro-Québec addresses the demand for electricity this time around.
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