Québec Lifts Electricity Ban on Cryptocurrency Miners with New Mandate

The Canadian Province of Québec’s ban on the sale of electricity to cryptocurrency miners has been lifted, with a new decree expected to be put into place to monitor the sale of electricity to miners, according to sources.

Hydro-Québec’s Mandate

In a report from the Le Journal De Montreal, sources suggest the move to lift the moratorium is because the Québec government wants to ‘avoid missing the ship’ on cryptocurrencies and therefore ‘can not wait’ any longer. This comes after a March 2018 ban the government put in place to prevent supplying electricity to crypto mining companies.

This step will likely prove to be doubly beneficial for Québec because it ensures that mining doesn’t come at the expense of homes and other businesses and could also could help push the city to the epicenter of the nascent cryptocurrency mining industry.

The regulation not only lifts the ban, but also contains plans to work with companies. The only problem is that crypto miners will be supplied with electricity with the caveat that Hydro-Québec will do ‘forced load shedding’ during peak times. This means that when the power grid is stretched to capacity, power to miners will be cut off, which will lead to a loss of power for between 100 to 300 hours per year.

Other than the forced load shedding, the decree will also set different rates for electricity supplied to the miners. Marc-Antoine Pouliot, spokesperson for Hydro-Québec, describes the plan as follows:

“Having interruptible customers during these critical periods makes it possible to connect more. [Hydro-Québec’s mandate] is to ensure the implementation of cryptocurrencies in Québec by maximizing economic benefits and ensuring the stability of our electricity supply.”

Pouliot continues: “To ensure the implementation of cryptocurrencies in Québec by maximizing economic benefits and ensuring the stability of our electricity supply… We’ve been waiting a long time.”

Hydro-Québec offers some of the lowest electricity rates in North America, charging an industrial rate of $0.0248 per kilowatt hour (2.48 U.S. cents) for data centers and $0.0394 per kilowatt hour (3.94 U.S. cents) for cryptocurrency customers.

Large Cryptocurrency Mining Pools Grow More Powerful

Cryptocurrency mining is increasingly becoming an activity for big business, as the complex calculations needed to generate the coins require industrial-scale capabilities. As the mining industry matures, the expected consolidation is likely to oust ‘regular folks’ that use their personal computers.

In fact, Bill Tai, the chairman of Hut 8 Mining Corp., the North American arm for crypto-mining equipment provider Bitfury Group Ltd., expects only five to 10 of the largest miners to survive and be profitable.

“It’s totally different this year than last year. The bitcoin mining industry was this mysterious dark cottage industry, and it’s about to grow up and about to have elements of institutional scalability at all levels,” Tai said.

Featured image from Shutterstock.