Clay County Judge Mike Campbell figures more cows than people roam this sparsely-populated county just south of the Red River. He was surprised to discover some folks are herding cryptocurrency on the range there.
It’s a small outfit as these things go, but Dexa Resources touts the advantages of its crypto mining operation in rural Texas.
There’s plenty of room to expand, cheaper rent and competitively priced electricity for clients interested in mining digital currency or other computing ventures, according to the company’s website.
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Crypto mining site went unnoticed near Wichita Falls
Campbell found out about the site recently from an official in a neighboring county who wanted advice about dealing with cryptocurrency mining — since Clay County already had such an operation.
“I have no clue what you’re talking about,” a surprised Campbell told him.
The county judge confirmed the site’s existence, finding it humming away off one of the country roads crisscrossing Clay County.
“It’s on a Texas-New Mexico Power line,” Campbell said.
It shouldn’t be a surprise the tech outfit went unnoticed in the over 1,000 square-miles of Clay County inhabited by about 10,456 people.
Wichita Falls-area crypto mining operation a ‘drop in the bucket’ in Texas market
The general manager of Dexa Resources is Darius Tarsio, a New Yorker turned Texan several years ago.
The crypto mining site is located in Clay County because he and others own property there, said Tarsio, an electrical engineer who leads the design and engineering company.
“We’re a drop in the bucket compared to what’s going on in the state of Texas,” he said.
Huge crypto mining projects in Texas — which is viewed as the next hotspot for cryptocurrency mining — typically choose rural locations.
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Tarsio gave his take on the Lone Star State’s crypto popularity.
“There are certain states in the country that are going to promote decentralization of currencies,” he said. “We hope Texas might be one of them.”
Tarsio views Texas as more open-minded to decentralization, chalking it up to the state’s embrace of the free market and its Republican leanings.
How does cryptocurrency work? How does cryptocurrency mining work?
Bitcoin, founded in 2009 as the first cryptocurrency, Ethereum, Dogecoin and others are not overseen by conventional banks.
They are decentralized and rely on blockchains, shared digital ledgers, to move transactions around among peers.
“In conventional banking, you go to the bank, and you move the transaction. If you’re moving Bitcoin from point A to point B . . . somebody’s got to move that transaction,” Tarsio said.
“No one’s assigned to be the middleman. Anybody can be the middleman. It’s a random thing,” Tarsio said.
Every time miners move peer-to-peer transactions, they get a reward, he said.
But it isn’t a lot unless they’re involved in speculation, mining for coins to go up in the future, or they have the best, most expensive mining equipment, Tarsio said.
Cryptocurrency mining involves using computers to solve complex algorithms, he said.
“You can’t call them much different than servers. They’re a little different, but they’re just computers,” he said.
Mining cryptocurrency requires a lot of electricity, and Texas electricity is cheap
The computers require a lot of energy, and Texas electricity prices are attractive to miners.
“Texas energy rates are pretty low compared to most of the country, so that’s why they’re kind of coming there,” Tarsio said.
Recently, prices have not been as competitive — likely because of the freeze and power crisis of February 2021 in Texas, he said.
The amount of power cryptocurrency mining draws has caused controversy, which Tarsio acknowledged.
“But if you have a power grid problem, let’s work with the mining people,” he said.
States or countries that want the technology can forge agreements limiting how much power a mining operation can draw from the grid during, for instance, cold weather, he said.
“If you’re going to shut it down, that means you don’t want it. That means you’re going to be like California, who doesn’t want this tech,” Tarsio said.
According to Dexa Resources’ website, the Clay County crypto mining site has a half megawatt of power available and is slowly scaling up to one megawatt.
Campbell said the site is currently valued at $133,000 on the tax rolls.
Other companies have much bigger projects in the works.
A Houston-based Lancium project planned for Taylor County is expected to use 200 megawatts and scale up to over 1 gigawatt, according to Abilene Reporter News reports.
The 100,000-square-foot data center on 800 acres northwest of Abilene will be fueled by renewable energy, according to the Abilene Reporter News.
The company aims to engage in Bitcoin mining and other activities and will invest $2.4 billion over 20 years, according to ARN reports.
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Dallas-based Bootstrap Energy is planning a container-mining development on over 114 acres in Corpus Christi, according to a story in the Corpus Christi Caller Times.
Bootstrap Energy’s investment includes $130.5 million in property improvements for $1 billion of computer equipment, according to the story.
If there’s a power emergency, the operation will take part in a program to curtail energy usage, avoiding impacting the grid, according to the story.
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Trish Choate, enterprise watchdog reporter for the Times Record News, covers education, courts, breaking news, politics and more. Contact Trish with news tips at [email protected] Her Twitter handle is @Trishapedia.