In one of the most interesting ironic twists yet to hit the cryptocurrency news headlines, it appears that one Texas coal mining town is planning to overhaul the city’s previous business model—and begin mining Bitcoin instead. Rockdale is a Central Texas town, and local reports suggest that the city is unironically deliberating the logistics of becoming a Bitcoin mine town.
This isn’t necessarily surprising, considering that Bitcoin is continuing to grow in popularity. Additionally, coal mining loses profitability each day as federal regulations and general public disdain for the industry cracks down on the viability of sustaining a “mine town” for coal specifically. Coal has been hit hard, as are all raw resource extraction industries, following the growth of conservationist movements.
Even more problematically for the coal mining business is the speed at which scientists are finding new ways to safely power devices. No longer is coal the go-to resource for energy that it once was in the United States. With so many eco-friendly and relatively safe options to turn to, it is often a mystery why some people choose to participate in the dangerous coal industry in order to heat their homes or businesses.
But regardless of the exact reason for the decline, Texas coal towns, once a thriving and unique American ecosystem, are in the steady decline. Texas’ top electric generating company, Luminant, is shutting down three coal plants in 2018 alone.
For cryptocurrency mining companies, this means massive opportunity. Coal mining plants are used to using a high amount of electricity and handling extreme output/input of energy. Consequently, abandoned coal mining and energy plants are perfect shells to host massive Bitcoin mining operations.
One of the most influential Bitcoin mining presences in the United States is, interestingly enough, a secretive Chinese mining company known as Bitmain. Taking notes from a Coinmint conversion of one New York plant into a mining facility, Bitmain wants to convert an old aluminum smelter in Rockdale into an effective cryptocurrency mining operation.
Bitmain wants to capitalize on the mining capabilities of the old power plant, and might be willing to use the loss of jobs as fodder to justify the expansion into the town of Rockdale. It makes sense that the officials in charge of either approving or disallowing the operation to take roots just outside their town would be interested in what Bitmain has to offer. The budding industry could likely create new jobs, and could help to jumpstart an economy that has been, in many ways, left behind.
A Long Time Coming
It appears as though Bitmain is already relatively far along in the process of securing this massive score outside of Rockdale. The biggest piece of evidence for this is found on job listing sites regarding the town of Rockdale, where Bitmain is already posting “help wanted” ads for a project manager to help to run their plant.
Additionally, the job listing on Indeed details that the position will require the project manager to deal with employees of all different skills and positions. For the hopeful cryptocurrency speculator, this likely means that the company plans to employ a fairly high amount of people in their new plant—very good news for Rockdale, indeed.