Republican Senator, Ted Cruz, was an attendee at the Texas Blockchain summit on October 8, 2021. According to a report by The Texas Tribune, Senator Cruz said “I would like to see Texas become the center of the universe for bitcoin and crypto.” He made the declaration in front of an audience of 700 attendees.
The senator added that Texas and crypto were a perfect pair. He noted that there was a natural synergy between the state’s ethos and blockchain. The Senator added that Texas “lionizes” entrepreneurs. He pointed to the state’s anti-regulatory laws, which appeal to an industry that prioritizes privacy. Senator Cruz noted that the crypto community was built on “individual freedom, individual responsibility” and a lack of government dependence.
Republican Lawmakers Support Crypto
Besides Senator Cruz, several other Republican lawmakers echoed his sentiment. They made a case for the crypto industry alongside several entrepreneurs and researchers in the industry. Besides using blockchain technology in the finance world, lawmakers discussed other possible uses. They included using the blockchain for property taxes, securing health care records, and protecting elections.
However, the industry has its skeptics. Most are worried about the massive amount of power needed to mine Bitcoin, which has led to environmental concerns. There are also worries about the impact of crypto mining on Texas’s fragile power grid.
Rockdale – The Hub Of Crypto Mining In Texas
Rockdale was on the verge of economic collapse a decade ago. The first major hit to the town was in 2008 when the Alcoa aluminum plant shut down. It provided around 1000 jobs to the town. Later, the Luminant coal power plant shut down in 2017.
However, crypto has helped to save the town of around 5300 residents. The biggest BTC mine in North America, which is operated by Whinstone US, is located a short distance from the closed aluminum plant. It has created around 145 jobs. While that is well below the number of jobs lost, the mining hub, which is owned by Riot Blockchain, has done a lot for the community. For instance, it helped to rebuild the dog shelter, install lights at the high school football, and softball fields, and bought the town a 32-foot Christmas tree.
Commenting on the plant, Mayor John King of Rockdale, said that it has brought a lot of interest in the community. According to the mayor, the international publicity generated had led to other companies considering moving there. He added that there had not been any real negative impact from the plant.
The BTC mining plant plans to double its capacity, which will make it the biggest mining farm in the world, according to its CEO Chad Everett Harris. Rockdale has become the hub of Texas’s ambitions to become a leader in crypto mining. Federal and state lawmakers have fully backed the push towards blockchain technology. Entrepreneurs in the sector say that the state’s cheap energy and lenient regulation have been a major draw for them.
It has not all been smooth sailing for the state. A good example of this was in 2018 when a Chinese firm that specialized in crypto mining rigs, promised hundreds of jobs and a $500 million investment in the shuttered aluminum plant. At the end of 2018, with the price of BTC tumbling, those plans were never fulfilled. However, Texas leaders have stood with the crypto industry and pressed forward. Governor Greg Abbot tweeted that the state would soon be “#1 for blockchain & cryptocurrency.”
Great to host the Texas Blockchain Council at the Governor’s Mansion this week.
Texas is the #1 state for:
➡️ Natural gas
➡️ Wind power
➡️ Business environment
& soon we will be #1 for blockchain & cryptocurrency.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) October 16, 2021
Texas Lawmakers Pass Laws to Grow the Industry
The Texas Legislature took several steps toward growing the industry in 2021. For instance, HB 4474 gave recognition to crypto in Texas’ Uniform Commercial Code. The state also passed HB 1576 that established a 16-member working group that will recommend policies on the blockchain sector.
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