When you think of a refugee, what do you imagine? Someone whose life has been upended by war or a natural disaster. Perhaps you are thinking about the tens of thousands of Afghan refugees arriving in the United States. But what about the Chinese refugees relocating to cities across the land?
I’m talking about a new generation of miners who have no option but to flee China. These miners don’t have hardhats or pickaxes; no, they have state-of-the-art technology. They are bitcoin miners, and they are ready to make the United States their new home.
Chasing the American Dream
As the journalist Zhaoyin Feng notes in the BBC report, the Chinese regime’s attempt to shut down all things bitcoin, from mining to trading, has left some of the biggest names in crypto with no option but to relocate elsewhere. Feng discusses Kevin Pan, the CEO of Poolin, a Chinese cryptocurrency mining company and one of the biggest crypto-related companies in the world. Shortly after Beijing announced the crackdown back in May, Pan booked a ticket to the United States.
Pan and his team have no intention of ever returning to China. “[We’ll] never come back again,” he told the BBC.
Without miners, bitcoin would not exist. For those who roll their eyes at the concept of cryptocurrencies, consider the fact that El Salvador has just made bitcoin legal tender. As I have written here before, people in places like Afghanistan and Lebanon have turned to bitcoin as a means of survival. With more than 10,000 different cryptocurrencies, the vast majority are utterly useless. However, bitcoin, the king of crypto, happens to have some degree of real-world value.
Prior to the crypto crackdown, China was responsible for more than 70 percent of bitcoin mining. In other words, China largely controlled the crypto narrative. Now, though, with the biggest names in mining relocating elsewhere, the narrative has very much changed.
China’s “bitcoin refugees,” as Feng writes, are desperate to find new homes. Some have moved to neighboring countries like Kazakhstan and Russia. Others view the United States as the perfect place to continue their highly lucrative mining operations.
Without getting sidetracked, there is a valuable lesson to be learned here. The United States is still a highly attractive country, even if the naysayers tell you otherwise.
For citizens of the United States who are quick to denounce the country they call home (and there are many of them), let me ask one question: If you could relocate to another country, where would you go? The point here is that the grass is not always greener on the other side. In fact, it rarely ever is. The United States is not without problems, many of them sizable in nature—but it’s still a fantastic country. This fact is not lost on the miners fleeing China, nor is it lost on the other 1 million people who immigrate to the United States legally each year.
Unwarranted Concerns About Crypto Mining
As someone who follows the world of crypto closely, I assure you that the fears around mining’s negative impact on the planet have been blown out of proportion. Yes, at one stage, the energy used to create bitcoins matched the carbon footprint of Argentina, but things have changed. As the aforementioned Feng notes, miners, many of whom hail from China, “are now heading to the cheapest sources of energy on the planet, which more often than not are renewable.”
For those who arrive in the United States, Texas appears to be the most desirable location. As the journalist Lauren Aratani predicts, very soon, hundreds, if not thousands, of machines far “more powerful than your average computer will soon be housed in this 320-acre mining facility in Dickens county,” a small place with a little more than 2,000 residents. Soon, the county could have more computers than people. These expensive pieces of equipment “will work day and night to solve a complex series of algorithms.” For each complex puzzle completed, miners will be rewarded with one bitcoin. Considering one bitcoin is currently worth $46,000, there is money to be made, lots of it. Argo Blockchain PLC, another major player in the world of crypto, recently announced plans to open a mining facility in Dickens County. The facility, which will rely heavily on renewable energy, is expected to open early next year.
What does the future hold for the mining community? Only time will tell. However, with the U.S. government looking to regulate the crypto market, expect the next few months to be as volatile as the very thing they find themselves mining.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.