“Urgent national security concerns arise as Wyoming’s Bitcoin mining operations with ties to China pose potential threats to our economic sovereignty and digital infrastructure.”
A cryptocurrency mining operation in Wyoming, with ties to China, is under scrutiny from the federal government, causing concern among lawmakers in the state. The bitcoin mine is located near a Microsoft data center and within a mile of an Air Force base that controls nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The New York Times reports that federal officials have been monitoring the Wyoming operation for months. Microsoft warned in a 2022 report that the location of the crypto operation could allow the Chinese to engage in intelligence collection operations. Measures have reportedly been taken to mitigate potential intelligence collection by the Chinese Communist Party.
U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis and Gov. Mark Gordon are both concerned about the proximity of the mining operation to military bases and are coordinating efforts to ensure national security. In May, Bison Blockchain filed a $22 million lawsuit against five companies related to its bitcoin mines in Cheyenne, alleging breach of contract.
Sean Murphy, a spokesperson for Bison Blockchain, expressed concern about the potential national security risks associated with the Chinese-owned mining facilities. He claimed that China is pushing out American miners and using their electrical energy to mine bitcoin.
The concerns about these mining facilities align with efforts by some states to ban Chinese and foreign ownership of land. Court documents reveal that the Cheyenne operation is tied to Bitmain, a Chinese company that controls a significant portion of the global market for bitcoin mining equipment. Another Chinese company involved in bitcoin mining, YZY Capital Holdings, purchased land near the Microsoft data center.
Bitcoin mines also put pressure on local power grids, and there has been a surge in Chinese-owned mines across the country. Some officials worry that these operations could strain the energy grid and potentially lead to blackouts and cyberattacks.
While there are no direct links between the owners of the Cheyenne mines and the Chinese government or Communist Party, Microsoft suggested in its report that the presence of the mining operation near its data center and a missile base poses significant threat vectors. Lawmakers in Wyoming are keeping a close eye on the situation and believe that further scrutiny is necessary.
Overall, the concerns surrounding the cryptocurrency mining operation in Wyoming highlight potential national security risks and the strain these operations can place on local energy grids. Continued monitoring and oversight are essential to ensure the protection of critical infrastructure and national security.