​Cryptocurrency mining booming in Canada: NEB

The National Energy Board (NEB) says that cheap electricity, cold weather and a light regulatory environment are encouraging cryptocurrency miners to flock to Canada, mostly to Quebec.

According to Hydro-Quebec, the province received requests for about 9 GW of energy in 2018 from crypto-currency miners (about 24 percent of Hydro-Quebec’s total generating capacity of 37 GW).

“The computers of cryptocurrency miners generate a significant amount of heat and require cooling to prevent overheating. Locating in a relatively cool climate like Quebec helps to reduce the costs of cooling the computers,” the NEB says.

“The Bank of Canada regulates currency in Canada. However, it doesn’t consider cryptocurrencies a form of money. Therefore, cryptocurrencies are still unregulated in Canada. Other countries have adopted or are considering adopting regulations to oversee the activity of crypto-currency miners.”

Additionally, “Power rates in Quebec are among the lowest in North America. For industrial consumers, rates are around 5 cents/kW.h. Energy consumption is the main cost of cryptocurrency miners.

“Although Quebec has seen the highest number of requests for electricity to supply mining projects, Manitoba is also, to a lesser extent, receiving significant amounts of requests.”

The NEB adds that in July 2018, following an increasing number of applications for electricity from miners, Hydro-Quebec tripled the price of electricity for new crypto-currency miners. This price increase is temporary, because Hydro-Quebec is currently proposing a new selection process to the Régie de l’énergie for future crypto-mining operations.