The province of Québec, Canada, will be electing members to the National Assembly on 1st October 2018 and its result could decide the future of Bitcoin mining in the province, according to Forbes.
This is the first time Québec is holding general elections. This is because there was discord about the distribution of electricity for Bitcoin miners in the province. Earlier this year, tension arose when Bitcoin miners from China and other places started demanding for an increase in the electricity supply from Hydro-Québec, the state-owned electric utility.
Ever since then, the Québec provincial government has increased the electricity cost. The government further restricted the supply of electricity to customers involved in mining activities.
The government justifies its stance by pointing towards the grid capacity and the economic development concerns. An economic study commission by Hydro-Québec in May finds the number of jobs per megawatt by crypto miners.
And this is significantly less in comparison to other high electricity consumers like data-centers. However, the local industries weren’t on the same page with the government. They saw this as a political crackdown, chasing away investors and innovation.
Moreover, the elections are yet to take place, and the supporters are eagerly waiting for today’s results. If the supporters of mining win, the innovators can make a cold climate, and cheap electricity. However, a defeat can mean higher charges levy on the blockchain industries. Hence pushing away future investors.
Québec became a magnetic attraction for cryptocurrency miners in late 2017 and early 2018 as the outlook in places like China became hazier.
The province’s surplus of cheap hydroelectricity, cold weather and political stability, combined with its aggressive efforts to entice large electricity consumers, such as data centers, to invest locally made it an appealing destination for those looking to set up commercial bitcoin mining operations.
Hydro-Québec was soon overwhelmed by demand from prospective miners. “The phone has been ringing off the hook,” CEO Eric Martel told Bloomberg in February. Reportedly receiving dozens of requests per day, the utility began signalling to potential customers that it would not be able to fulfill all of the connection requests.