Quebec’s Bitfarms rallies as Bitcoin soars, but concerns grow over cryptominers’ massive electricity needs


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“The vast majority of (the $20 million) is going to go for growth,� Morphy said in an interview with the Financial Post. “We’ve got this incredible opportunity with Bitcoin prices being up… to continue to grow our company.� That will include the addition of more than 3,000 miners in the first quarter of this year, an expansion that might require a sixth data centre. The company now houses more than 24,000 computers.

Bitfarms is headquartered in Toronto, but Morphy says he is the only employee there. Everyone else in the 80-person company — electricians, engineers and business executives — are in Quebec.

According to Morphy, the argument that cryptocurrency mining is a massive energy user and paltry job creator isn’t “a fair assessment.� The average age of Bitfarms’ 80 workers is 32, he says. “We are training and developing a lot of young people and we’re a nice viable business in Quebec. I think we’re a good corporate citizen.�

A technician works on miners at the Bitfarms bitcoin mine in Magog, Que., on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.
A technician works on miners at the Bitfarms bitcoin mine in Magog, Que., on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. Photo by Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press files

Bitfarms is also looking for areas outside Quebec to set up new data centres, including an undisclosed South American country where Morphy says the average cost of a kilowatt-hour is US$0.02, half of what it is in Quebec. “If we’re going to be long-term players we need to continue to endeavour to find locations that are safe and secure and have low-cost power.�

All Bitcoin transactions are verified and recorded on a giant ledger known as the blockchain, a global computer network of which Bitfarms is a part. Roughly every ten minutes a new block, containing all transactions since the last block, is added to the blockchain by the Bitcoin network. Then the mining computers around the globe furiously attempt to mine the new block by solving complex algorithms, with the entire network making 130 trillion guesses per second.



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