Even before China finally used the hammer to ban crypto mining, Bitcoin (BTC) miners in North America had built up their capacities to gain a larger share of the global hash rate distribution. From building larger data centers to purchasing hardware inventories, these institutions have collaborated in efforts to balance the hash-power dichotomy between the eastern and western hemispheres.
North American bitcoin miners also often face energy usage concerns, and some have been keen to partner with oil and gas companies and become last resort buyers of flared gas. In fact, American oil drills and Bitcoin mining companies continue to work together on natural gas use, proving once again that the potential for Bitcoin’s thermodynamic capacity will be overall positive for the environment despite criticism of the proof-of-work (PoW ) Mining.
With North American companies seemingly on the cusp of a larger presence in the global bitcoin mining matrix, here are four of the largest bitcoin miners in the region.
In 2020, China still controlled around 65% of the global Bitcoin hash rate, according to estimates from multiple data sources. However, Riot Blockchain expanded its operations with a number of major hardware acquisitions from leading Bitcoin miner manufacturers such as Bitmain.
In August and December 2020 alone, Riot Blockchain spent millions of dollars to acquire thousands of Antminers from Bitmain. As Cointelegraph reported in April, Riot Blockchain’s hashing capacity increased 460% in 2020.
Riot Blockchain’s expanded inventory continued through 2021, with the company buying over 42,000 Antminers from Bitmain earlier this year. The Nasdaq-listed company also announced the purchase of a large data center in Texas for $ 650 million.
With the acquisition of the Whinstone data center in Texas, Riot Blockchain will own the largest bitcoin mining facility in the United States. The American mining giant Bitcoin plans to expand the site’s original capacity from 750 megawatts to over 1,000 MW.
Given its increased capacity coinciding with widespread raids in China, it is not surprising that Riot Blockchain is seeing greater success in Bitcoin mining, as evidenced by the numbers in its monthly production and operations update. In April, the company reported that it had mined 187 bitcoin (then valued at $ 11.2 million) the previous month.
The March 2021 BTC production count marked an 80% increase over the total Bitcoin mining value for March 2020. In its latest report in June, the company said it mined 243 BTC, a 406% increase over the production count from June 2020.
The June report also put Riot Blockchain’s total bitcoin mining value since the start of the year at 1,167 BTC (currently valued at $ 36.5 million). By June 2020, the company had only mined 508 BTC, which means this year’s production count is up 130% year over year.
According to its own information, Riot Blockchain holds a total of over 2,200 BTC at the end of June, with all of the Bitcoin coming from its mining operation. The June report describes the connection between his recent production successes and the situation in China: “The exodus of bitcoin mining from China has resulted in a downward adjustment of the difficulty and a lower global network hash rate. As such, Riot is currently mining more Bitcoin per day than ever before in the company’s history, ”continued:
“Although it is widely expected that many Chinese miners will move at some point, the company estimates that it may take some time for the global bitcoin mining hash rate to hit its previous high of 180 exahash per second (” EH / s “) Returned earlier this year.”
Marathon is arguably the main competitor of Riot Blockchain in the “North American hash wars” and like its rival, the crypto mining giant has been expanding its hardware inventory since 2020. In October, Nevada-based Marathon Patent Group acquired 10,000 Antminer S-19 benefits from Bitmain.
The size of the order was so large that the company’s operational hash rate capacity was to be increased to 2.56 EH / s, slightly more than the 2.3 EH / s targeted for the expansion of Riot Blockchain. With the Antminer order for Marathon coming in in bulk, the company now appears to be focusing on achieving “carbon neutrality” and meeting regulatory requirements.
As early as March, the company announced plans for the first time to divert all of its current hash power into a regulatory-compliant Bitcoin mining pool by the beginning of May. At the time, Marathon stated that the new pool complied with the US Anti-Money Laundering Protocols (AML) established by the US Bureau of Foreign Control.
As Cointelegraph reported in May, Marathon is planning a climate-neutral 300 MW data center that will house 73,000 Bitcoin miners. According to the announcement at the time, using the facility will increase the company’s carbon neutrality to around 70% while increasing the hash rate to 10.37 EH / s.
According to data from BTC.com, achieving a hash rate capacity of 10.37 EH / s would put Marathon fifth on the current Bitcoin hash rate distribution protocol.
While the company’s stock is more than 50% below its 2021 high of $ 56.56, at the time of writing the stock is still up 122.34% year-to-date. With Bitcoin exchange-traded funds not yet approved in the United States, bitcoin mining stocks are considered the second best option for gaining indirect exposure to BTC.
Marathon himself is a bitcoin holder separated from his mining interests. At the beginning of the year, the company bought over 4,800 BTC, valued at around $ 150 million at the time. The New York Digital Investment Group reportedly facilitated the deal.
US companies are not the only big players in the North American bitcoin mining theater, the Canadian company Hut 8 is also a prominent name in the conversation. The Toronto-based company, which was the largest publicly traded bitcoin miner by capacity in 2018, appears to be recovering from its previous setbacks.
In 2018, the crypto market suffered a crippling bear market as coin prices plummeted from highs in December 2017 and January 2018. In May 2019, Hut 8 reported losses of over $ 136 million for the previous year, which also culminated in significant staff cuts.
After the 2018 and 2019 crypto winter, Hut 8 massively upscaled its miner hardware and announced the purchase of over 11,000 MicroBT rigs valued at around $ 44 million. Based on the capacity of the MicroBT miners, Hut 8’s hash rate capacity is expected to reach 2.5 EH / s once all machines are installed in the company’s 100MW facility currently under construction.
At 2.5 EH / s, Hut 8 predicts that its daily bitcoin production will double from 6.5 to 7.5 BTC to 14-16 BTC. Such a BTC mining rate per day can also serve to preserve Hut 8’s status as a Bitcoin miner that holds the most self-mined BTC in the world.
Back in January, the Canadian bitcoin miner estimated that its total bitcoin holdings would reach 5,000 BTC by early 2022. The company also outlined plans to increase its hash rate to six EH / s by mid-2022.
Connected: North American crypto miners are preparing to challenge China’s dominance
The east-west shift in the Bitcoin hash rate will ultimately bring about profound changes in the energy mix for BTC mining, with the focus more on “Green Bitcoin”. For the Canadian crypto miner, green energy is an important focus for its operations.
From Canada to Iceland and even Sweden, Hive Blockchain operated data centers powered by green electricity for crypto mining. As early as May, the company was reportedly forced to sell its facility in Norway amid problems with the country’s regulators.
In early July, Hive acquired 3,000 MicroBT M30S miners for its New Brunswick, Canada facility. The additional hash power will reportedly be injected into the Foundry USA Pool, which already pools the hashing potential of other large North American miners such as Hut 8, Blockcap and Bitfarms.
Hive’s additional 3,000 mining rigs will reportedly increase the company’s hashing potential by 0.264 EH / s to a total hash rate of 0.83 EH / s. The company also recently joined the ranks of publicly traded Bitcoin mining companies after securing a listing on the Nasdaq in June.
Meanwhile, Gryphon Digital Mining, another US-based miner, could soon challenge the more established names in the North American BTC mining industry. The company, which claims to operate on 100% renewable energy, recently purchased 7,200 Antminer S19J pro-mining rigs.
Based on the hashing capacity of the machines, Gryphon’s hash rate will increase by roughly about 0.72 EH / s. This new inventory will reportedly be installed in August, at which time the company will receive its ESG rating.