Clay County Judge Mike Campbell estimates there are more cows than people in this sparsely populated county just south of the Red River. He was surprised to find that some people are hoarding cryptocurrency on the range there.
It’s a small business as it goes, but Dexa Resources touts the benefits of its crypto-mining operation in rural Texas.
There’s plenty of room to expand, cheaper rent, and competitively priced electricity for customers interested in digital currency mining or other IT ventures, according to the company’s website.
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Crypto mining site went unnoticed near Wichita Falls
Campbell was recently discovered the site by an official from a nearby county who wanted advice on handling cryptocurrency mining — since Clay County already had such an operation.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” a surprised Campbell told him.
The county judge confirmed the existence of the site, finding it buzzing on one of the country roads criss-crossing Clay County.
“It’s on a Texas-New Mexico power line,” Campbell said.
It should come as no surprise that the tech outfit went unnoticed in the more than 1,000 square miles of Clay County inhabited by an estimated 10,456 people.
Cryptocurrency mining in the Wichita Falls area is a “drop in the ocean” in the Texas market
The managing director of Dexa Resources is Darius Tarsio, a New Yorker who became a Texan a few years ago.
The crypto-mining site is located in Clay County because he and others own property there, said Tarsio, an electrical engineer who leads the design and engineering firm.
“We’re a drop in the ocean compared to what’s happening in the state of Texas,” he said.
Huge cryptocurrency mining projects in Texas – which is considered the next hotspot for cryptocurrency mining – usually choose rural areas.
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Tarsio gave his take on the popularity of Lone Star State crypto.
“Some states in the country will promote the decentralization of currencies,” he said. “We hope Texas could be one of them.”
Tarsio views Texas as more open to decentralization, attributing this to the state’s embrace of the free market and its Republican leanings.
How does cryptocurrency work? How does cryptocurrency mining work?
Bitcoin, founded in 2009 as the first cryptocurrency, Ethereum, Dogecoin and others are not supervised by conventional banks.
They are decentralized and rely on blockchains, shared digital ledgers, to move transactions between peers.
“In conventional banking, you go to the bank and you move the transaction. If you move Bitcoin from point A to point B… someone has to move that transaction,” Tarsio said.
“No one is designated to be the intermediary. Anyone can be the middleman. It’s a random thing,” Tarsio said.
Every time miners make peer-to-peer transactions, they get a reward, he said.
But that’s not much unless they’re involved in speculation, mining coins to increase in the future, or have the best and most expensive mining equipment, Tarsio said.
Cryptocurrency mining involves using computers to solve complex algorithms, he said.
“You can’t call them very different from waiters. They’re a little different, but they’re just computers,” he said.
Cryptocurrency mining requires a lot of electricity, and Texas electricity is cheap
Computers consume a lot of energy, and electricity prices in Texas are attractive to miners.
“Texas energy rates are pretty low compared to most countries, which is why they kind of come there,” Tarsio said.
Recently, prices haven’t been as competitive — likely due to the February 2021 freeze and power crisis in Texas, he said.
The amount of power extracted from cryptocurrency mining has sparked controversy, which Tarsio acknowledged.
“But if you have a power grid problem, let’s work with the miners,” he said.
States or countries that want the technology can enter into agreements limiting the amount of power a mining operation can draw from the grid during, for example, cold weather, he said.
“If you’re going to shut it down, that means you don’t want it. It means you’re going to be like California, which doesn’t want this technology,” Tarsio said.
According to the Dexa Resources website, the Clay County crypto mining site has half a megawatt of available power and is slowly growing up to one megawatt.
Campbell said the site is currently valued at $133,000 on tax rolls.
Other companies have much larger projects underway.
A Houston-based Lancium project planned for Taylor County is expected to use 200 megawatts and grow to more than 1 gigawatt, according to reports from Abilene Reporter News.
The 100,000 square foot data center on 800 acres northwest of Abilene will be powered by renewable energy, according to Abilene Reporter News.
The company aims to engage in Bitcoin mining and other activities and will invest $2.4 billion over 20 years, according to ARN reports.
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Dallas-based Bootstrap Energy is planning a container mining development on more than 114 acres in Corpus Christi, according to an article in the Corpus Christi Caller Times.
Bootstrap Energy’s investment includes $130.5 million in property improvements to $1 billion in IT equipment, according to the story.
In the event of an electrical emergency, the operation will participate in a program to reduce energy consumption, avoiding impacting the grid, according to the story.
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Trish Choate, business watch reporter for the Times Record News, covers education, courts, breaking news, politics and more. Contact Trish with topical advice at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her Twitter account is @Trishapedia.