Global Mining: Regions with the Best Conditions for Cryptocurrency Mining
Miners have been mining Bitcoin for 14 years, and this activity significantly impacts various aspects of daily life. Let's explore which regions offer the most favorable conditions for cryptocurrency mining.
Top 6 Regions for Bitcoin Mining
Mining is the process of creating new blockchain blocks using powerful equipment that verifies transactions through complex mathematical calculations. Miners receive rewards in the form of cryptocurrency for their efforts.
Since the creation of digital assets requires substantial electricity consumption, some countries restrict mining activities, while others encourage it.
CoinMarketCap analysts have compiled a ranking of the most favorable regions for mining:
- Texas (USA) - The state accounts for 14% of the national hash rate. Experts have noted the lenient regulatory environment and favorable electricity pricing. Some of the largest data centers operate here, such as Genesis Digital Assets.
- New York (USA) comes in second place, despite representing nearly 20% of the United States' total hash rate. Analysts have highlighted the use of renewable energy sources.
- Kentucky and Georgia (USA) - The authorities in both states offer low electricity tariffs, and there is ample space for building large data centers.
- Johannesburg (South Africa) attracts miners with accessible solar energy and openness to innovation.
- Vancouver (Canada) made the list due to its efforts to maximize the benefits of mining. Local authorities are attempting to heat residential buildings through the mining of digital assets.
- El Salvador can be considered one of the main proponents of Bitcoin. In 2021, the country's authorities legalized the first cryptocurrency as a means of payment, and digital asset education is even integrated into the school curriculum.
China's Mining Ban
In 2019, China was the undisputed leader in the field of mining digital assets, representing 75% of the global hash rate. However, in 2021, Chinese authorities banned cryptocurrency mining and trading.
The ban on mining and transactions failed to eliminate the cryptocurrency industry in China. As of April 2023, approximately 30 million local residents were still using digital assets, despite associated risks.
For example, in August 2023, a Chinese court sentenced official Xiao Yi from Jiangxi province to life imprisonment for corruption in support of digital asset mining operations.
Despite the ban, China's share of the overall hash rate of the leading cryptocurrency was 21.11% as of January 2022. Thus, China remains one of the top three mining industry leaders, trailing only the United States, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.
Chinese miners have not shut down their businesses but have moved them into the illegal realm or relocated to other places, even other countries, such as Kazakhstan. Authors of the scientific journal Joule claim that China's Communist Party's ban on digital asset mining has exacerbated the climate crisis.
According to experts' estimates, after the Bitcoin mining ban in China, the use of renewable energy sources for digital asset mining dropped from approximately 42% to 25% in just one year.
Some analysts believe that Chinese miners maintain their leading positions thanks to VPNs and foreign proxy services. They also constantly change locations to avoid consuming too much energy from one place and arousing suspicion.
Journalists from Cointelegraph claim that a network of firms operates in China, tracking blockchain projects and reporting on their activities to the police. If the information is confirmed, such a company could receive millions of dollars in rewards.
The regulatory uncertainty regarding digital assets in China continues to intensify. The Chinese People's Court considers Bitcoin to be property with economic value and therefore protected by the law. At the same time, representatives of the People's Bank of China have categorized operations involving digital assets as illegal financial activities.
Mining Farms in America
The United States is a leader in Bitcoin mining, accounting for 37.8% of the global hash rate in 2022, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. Mining 1 BTC costs miners an average of around $46,280 here.
The administration of the current President, Joe Biden, has a negative stance towards mining. The White House believes that industry representatives should pay for the environmental pollution caused by cryptocurrency mining.
In March 2023, Joe Biden proposed imposing a 30% tax on miners based on the cost of electricity used. This idea faced criticism not only from the crypto community but also from the political opponents of the current president. In May, Congressman Warren Davidson stated that Biden's initiative had been blocked.
However, mining policy varies significantly in each state. For example, Texas is considered a "Mecca" for Bitcoin miners due to an abundance of cheap renewable energy, with electricity prices fluctuating throughout the day based on various factors.
In the state of New York, local authorities took a different approach. In 2022, they imposed a two-year moratorium on mining cryptocurrencies using carbon energy.
Mining Farms in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan's crypto industry made a significant leap in 2020-2021, as noted by Hashrate Index experts. Bitcoin mining not only sparked excitement among the interested population but also propelled Kazakhstan to become one of the leaders in the mining industry. According to experts, the country's global hash rate exceeded 18% in 2021.
Analysts believe that the rapid development of the mining industry was facilitated by accessible cheap electricity, investments from mining companies coinciding with the government's lenient policy on cryptocurrency control and tax incentives for IT companies. The Chinese government's ban on digital gold mining also played a significant role.
As a result, in 2021, Kazakhstan became the world's second-largest digital currency miner. However, by 2022, it had dropped to third place in the Bitcoin hash rate rankings, with a figure of around 13.22%. According to 2022 data, the industry leaders in Bitcoin mining are still the United States (37.84%) and China (21.11%), according to Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance estimates.
In 2022, Kazakhstan's average monthly hash rate was recorded at 24.8 EH/s. Additionally, one of the world's largest crypto farms operates in the country. About 50,000 devices are operational around the clock on the outskirts of the city of Ekibastuz, connected to a coal power plant.
By the end of 2021, Kazakhstan's miners consumed more than 7% of the country's electricity, leading to energy shortages. Some cities experienced temporary blackouts. This crisis exacerbated other societal problems, leading to protests.
Authorities disconnected miners from the national grid, and in early 2022, they announced taxes on cryptocurrency mining and introduced mandatory licensing for mining companies. The new measures contributed approximately 3.07 billion tenge to the state treasury by the end of 2022 (almost $7 million).
As of the time of writing, only residents of the International Financial Centre "Astana" are legally allowed to engage in digital asset mining. Starting from 2024, local laws will require miners to sell 50% of their mined digital assets on cryptocurrency exchanges registered in CIS countries, according to politician Sergey Karplyuk. This figure will increase to 75% by 2025.
Mining Farms in Uzbekistan
In Uzbekistan, mining is only allowed for legal entities that have registered their activities with the National Agency for Project Perspectives. Additionally, digital asset mining must be powered by solar energy, and in some cases, miners can connect to the unified power grid.
Furthermore, the country's authorities have banned the mining of anonymous crypto assets, explaining that it aims to reduce the risks of illicit transactions.
Mining Farms in Ukraine, How Much Does It Cost?
As of 2023, cryptocurrency mining is not regulated in Ukraine, although a bill to legalize the process was drafted by policymakers as early as 2018. Additionally, a "Virtual Assets" law has been developed, but it requires further modifications and does not yet address the aspects of mining.
According to CoinGecko analysts, mining in Ukraine is relatively cheap. Experts estimate that mining 1 BTC costs around $46,291 on average. In Ukraine, the mining of one unit of digital gold costs $10,730 at 2023 electricity rates.
The Ministry of Energy of Ukraine supports cryptocurrency mining, as reported by Kyiv Independent. The country generates half of its electricity through 15 nuclear reactors. Therefore, ministry officials consider mining an innovative and profitable way to utilize excess energy to maintain power grid stability.
The profitability of a mining farm can be estimated in advance either independently or by using online calculators. To predict earnings, it is necessary to consider the cost of equipment and its power consumption, calculate the approximate electricity consumption, and take into account energy tariffs for businesses in Ukraine.
Furthermore, in the context of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia, it is essential to consider the risks of missile attacks and drones. Expensive equipment can be destroyed, and infrastructure damage can result in blackouts.
Mining can be a profitable investment of resources; however, the profitability of the entire process depends on market cycles and the price of the leading cryptocurrency. It is also essential to consider that the complexity of creating digital assets continually sets new records, necessitating the use of powerful equipment. The policies of each country regarding digital asset mining and local electricity tariffs play a significant role in the overall process.