There is concern in the United States.
According to a New York Times report published on October 13, there is knowledge of possible direct tracing of Bitcoin data centers to the government of the People’s Republic of China, which has raised worry about operations near military bases and other national security areas located in the United States. Indeed, one of the mining centers monitored is located in Wyoming, close to a Microsoft data center that supported Pentagon operations. It is the company Bit Origin, which turned a pig processing facility into a cryptocurrency data center.
As Microsoft itself has said in a report on the operation, “we [have] no direct indications of malicious activity by this entity.” However,
pending further discovery, we suggest the possibility that the computing power of an industrial-level cryptomining operation, along with the presence of an unidentified number of Chinese nationals in direct proximity to Microsoft’s Data Center and one of three strategic-missile bases in the U.S., provides significant threat vectors.
Their choice of Wyoming as their headquarters is due to an agreement with local utility providers near the tech giant’s facilities. Bit Origin was located in Indiana, until they made the move in September. At that time they announced that they had 3,200 miners deployed, producing a hash rate of 320 petahash per second at September 30.
In its report, the NYT highlighted some of the ramifications for the establishment of mining operations linked to the Chinese government or some of its citizens, amid the tense climate between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Certainly, a not insignificant number of mining companies fled the Asian giant in 2021, following the government’s ban on such operations. This motivated their arrival on U.S. territory, which brought them to land in a more fertile soil and a friendlier legal environment for the development of cryptocurrency activities, as is the case of Texas and, precisely, Wyoming.
It is true that several U.S. authorities are investing efforts in tackling individuals or companies related to China. Last October 3, the Treasury Department sanctioned cryptocurrency wallets allegedly linked to fentanyl production, involving several Chinese product manufacturers based in China. A few months earlier, in July, claims that Prometheum, a cryptocurrency company, was linked to the Chinese government resulted in six members of Congress being called to an investigation.