Bitcoin miner Argo breaks ground in Texas, kicking off green energy rush

UK-based Bitcoin miner Argo Blockchain has started construction on the new renewable energy Texas mining facility that it says will “transform” its operation.

Bitcoin mining stock Argo Blockchain says construction is underway on its renewable energy-powered facility in Texas.

Argo purchased the 320-acre Dickens County plot for $5 million in March (with potential to pay an additional $12.5 million), complete with generation rights for up to 800 megawatts (MW) of power.

Press materials claim the majority of the energy that Argo’s Helios will consume is to come from renewable sources.

To begin with, Argo wants to harness 200MW of that power with Helios. The upstate New York station feeding the Bitcoin mine near Seneca Lake currently provides 19MW for scale, but one day could output over 100MW.

Argo has three other (much smaller) plants in Quebec.

  • Mirabel wields 5MW — Argo’s first large-scale Bitcoin mining operation.
  • Baie Comeau boasts 15MW, managed by data center crew GPUOne (which Argo bought in May).
  • Gatineau is a research and development op for mining infrastructure.

Argo’s Texas plant was partly funded with a $20 million Bitcoin-backed loan from Mike Novogratz’ Galaxy Digital, and will create 20 new full-time jobs, says the company.

Not just Argo

Last month, Argo reported delays in receiving ASICs from an unnamed manufacturer. So, Argo cancelled its order and bought S19 and S19J rigs from Hong Kong’s Bitmain instead (via US company Core Scientific).

The first machines are expected this month and totally delivered by October. Once operational, Argo reckons the move will boost its overall Bitcoin hashrate by 60% (from 1.07 to 1.68 exahashes).

The greater Bitcoin network currently runs on around 100 exahashes, so Argo represents a little over 1% of the total network.

Five-year Bitcoin hashrate chart courtesy of YCharts.

[Read more: Bitcoin mine causes glacial lake to ‘boil’ — that claim is lukewarm at best]

Argo is one of many Bitcoin firms heading for Texas. Displaced miners fleeing China are reportedly looking to take advantage of the state’s plentiful green power and deregulated grid.

Among them is Shenzhen-headquartered Bit Mining. In May, the company announced plans for a $26 million, 57MW facility in Texas — shortly after Beijing clamped down on mining across Sichuan, where Bit Mining previously sourced most of its power.

‘Green’ Bitcoin, so hot right now

London-listed Argo’s share price jumped earlier this month amid speculation of a secondary listing in the US to fund its wanton thirst for hash.

Argo has since filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on the NASDAQ. The entire operation has mined roughly 165 BTC ($5.3 million) per month so far this year.

But Argo has competition in North America, and not just out of China. Bitcoin mining startup TeraWulf also peddles a “green mining” shtick to capitalize on wider market interest in Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) projects that prioritize sustainability.

TeraWulf says it mines with 90% renewable energy, mostly out of upstate New York and with hydropower. The goal is to one day produce “zero-carbon” Bitcoin.

The company recently placed an order for 30,000 Antminer S19j Pros from Bitmain, which will increase output by 3 exahashes.

Argo stock is underperforming compared to competitors Marathon and Riot.

[Read more: Bitcoin mining stocks are doing better than Bitcoin in 2021]

TeraWulf hasn’t made public how much Bitcoin it can mine presently, but its website says it will one day control 100MW by April 2022 — roughly half Argo’s present capacity.

Outside the US, Toronto-based Hut 8 sunk $44 million into of 12,000 MicroBT miners to potentially gain 2.5 exahashes, almost doubling its current stats.

Like Argo and TeraWulf, Hut 8 regularly flags its ESG initiatives.

Not to mention, Australian hippies Iris Energy — also all about green Bitcoin — wants to raise $200 million and pursue a direct listing to fund catapulting its meagre 0.7 exahashes to 4.5 by the end of the year.

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