In Texas, the huge power consumption of the bitcoin miner Whinstone

China having more or less banned the mining of cryptocurrencies on its territory, other countries have taken over. Among them, the United States, and especially Texas, which has become the Eldorado of bitcoin miners. It was in this state that Whinstone, the largest American factory of its kind, was established.

At the beginning of 2020, the small town of Rockdale in Texas saw the Whinstone factory, which produces bitcoin, emerge from the ground. A lot: last February, the company’s 38,300 computers that mine crypto generated 16 bitcoins a day, or $640,000 with a price of $40,000 per token. Since its start-up, Whinstone has mined 5,783 bitcoins, or $230 million according to The world who was able to visit the facilities.

$230 million in bitcoin

This unique infrastructure in the United States (it is quite simply the largest of its kind in the country) was installed on the former site of the industry giant Alcoa. This has a decisive advantage: an electricity exchanger which was previously used to export the surplus produced by the lignite power station of the aluminum plant. It is now used in the opposite direction, to exploit the electricity produced elsewhere in Texas, in particular via gas and renewable energies which are abundant in this State.

But even though Texas has plenty of natural resources to generate its electricity, that didn’t prevent a severe shortage in February 2021, during which a cold snap crippled the state’s energy grid. Fortunately, Whinstone was able to turn off his computers very quickly, which saved him from suffering the consequences of this crisis.

Despite everything, the miner needs electricity to run his computers: 300 megawatts currently, and up to 700 megawatts once all the production lines are started. This is almost the equivalent of what a half-nuclear reactor generates… Additional pressure on the Texas electricity grid which is not infallible, and also an anomaly in a context of ecological transition.

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