While it may be known locally and domestically as a tourist hotspot and home to many Hollywood A-list celebrities, Australia’s coastal town of Byron Bay is set to become host to Australia’s biggest Bitcoin mining site— and it’s going to be powered by 100% renewable energy.
- According to a company press release, local digital infrastructure company Mawson Infrastructure Group has struck a deal with leading renewable energy firm Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners to build crypto mines across the country. The first mine, in Byron Bay, is set to come online this week and expected to add 0.4 exahashes to the global mining pool.
- Mawson will operate the mining operation within the existing Byron Bay Quinbrook facility, which Mawson tells Forkast.News generates its renewable power from biomass sources, though also owns subsidiaries that generate power through solar and wind sources. “It’s a great first site for us to start the relationship with, before we jointly assess the larger opportunities within the Quinbrook renewable energy portfolio,” said Nick Hughes-Jones, chief commercial officer of Mawson. “They’re [Quinbrook] very forward-thinking when it comes to digital assets. They understand the space really, really well. They’re a big business, so they’ve done a lot of homework before they’ve selected us as their partner.”
- Last week the Australian Senate released a sweeping report that included 12 recommendations for cryptocurrency regulation in the country. In what proved to be fortunate timing for the joint venture, one of those recommendations was to grant a 10% tax break to crypto mining operations that use 100% renewable energy in a way to encourage the transition to green energy in the industry and country.
- “That makes a huge difference and will help justify building much larger projects in Australia,” James Manning, chief executive of Mawson Infrastructure told the Financial Review. “We have a lot more infrastructure available to us now, and we’d love to build more in Australia and the tax incentive helps us redirect some of that to Australia.”
- Manning added that the company had recently purchased 4,000 more ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) Bitcoin miners that he hopes will increase mining capacity by 11.7% by the Q2 2022.
- As China continues to enforce its crackdown on crypto mining and trading, many miners are moving their operations to more welcoming jurisdictions. This has led to the U.S. recently overtaking China’s position as the leading country for crypto mining according to the latest data from the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index compiled by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.
- According to this data, Australia currently only accounts for 0.19% of current global hashrate, but this may be set to increase as many of the recommendations in the recent Senate sought to boost the local cryptocurrency industry.