What Are the World’s 10 Best Global Crypto Mining Hubs?
Bitcoin

What Are the World’s 10 Best Global Crypto Mining Hubs?

Created 6mo ago, last updated 6mo ago

From Texas to Kazakhstan, the Bitcoin mining industry is booming after China’s ban forced many to move to friendlier destinations. Here are the world’s hottest mining destinations.

What Are the World’s 10 Best Global Crypto Mining Hubs?

Table of Contents

Introduction

The 2022/2021 crypto bull run has proven that we are  living in the middle of a digital gold rush. Investors, tech innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world are packing their proverbial covered wagons and heading west (after the China ban, in more ways than one!), ready to stake their claim and mine Bitcoin. Unlike the rush of 1849, this is not inspired by prospectors in a river— but by desirable conditions for the mining of crypto.

In this article, we will examine the hottest spots for mining crypto, and discuss how certain factors — including regulations, energy prices, sustainability and infrastructure — make or break a lucrative Bitcoin mining hotspot.

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What Is Bitcoin Mining?

Bitcoin leverages a distributed digital ledger and a rather archaic proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism to record and verify transactions. By using application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) — think souped-up, purpose-built mining computer rigs — miners manage Bitcoin transactions and create new blocks for the blockchain. This process, called hashing, involves solving complex mathematical problems via ASICs. Hashing requires ever larger computing power, necessitating the building of crypto mines — imagine racks of computers in a warehouse. Like traditional mining, this process is highly energy intensive and arguably environmentally destructive. 

Bitcoin Hash Distribution Rates

Crypto mining hubs are often places that handle a larger portion of Bitcoin’s hash rate. For example, China was responsible for just over 75% of Bitcoin’s hash rate in September 2019. Therefore, crypto markets regularly bled when China FUD inevitably rolled out. 

However, the great China FUD of 2021 — the banning of mining in the PRC — proved to be a blessing in disguise for BTC as it forced its miners to relocate to more democratic locales with less government intervention. As of April 2021, China represented just 46% of Bitcoin mining, and by December 2021, this number is now 0%. 

In July 2021, the U.S. picked up the ball dropped by the PRC and worked hard to catch up and represent 35% of Bitcoin's hash rate

China Bans Crypto

Let’s quickly recap the great China FUD of 2021, as the year’s on its last legs. 

In both May and September of 2021, China announced policies aimed at cracking down on the use and mining of cryptocurrencies in the communist state. Whether designed to clear the way for its own CBDC (projected to be announced during the 2021 Winter Olympics — if you’re American, you’re not invited) or to maintain authoritarian control over its own centralized financial system, these policies resulted in an exodus of money, innovation and business from the country.

Despite causing a temporary drop in the price of Bitcoin (and other altcoins), the move has largely yielded positive results for crypto enthusiasts outside of China, where it is stimulating economies and driving innovation.

Indeed, the environmental impact of Bitcoin is a definite shortcoming of the technology, something that everyone from Elon Musk to Liz Warren have repeatedly pointed out this year. The world should rejoice that its production is moving to locations that do not rely on polluting coal, but rather embraces sustainable green energy to stay profitable (Cough… Bitcoin volcano…)

What Factors Make a Location Ideal for Crypto Mining?

Several factors can make a particular location desirable for mining.

These are:

  • Energy prices;

  • Sustainability;

  • Pre-existing infrastructure;

  • Stable, consistent and favorable government policies;

  • A capacity for innovation and a willingness to embrace the future/

Energy Prices

This is a no-brainer. Bitcoin (and other crypto) mining is incredibly energy intensive. Therefore, the most profitable mining takes place in places with the lowest energy costs. 
  •  Coin mining is a low-margin enterprise with energy as the primary variable ;

  • Comparatively cheap energy sources incentivize crypto mining.

Sustainability

Bitcoin’s energy usage has attracted a lot of negative press recently. Indeed, processing Bitcoin may use as much energy in a single year as the Czech Republic does. This fact has not gone unnoticed by miners, who seek to turn profits without destroying the environment. Therefore, Bitcoin miners often seek places with access to clean, renewable energy resources and favorable energy infrastructure.
  • Many locations on this list have reliable, stable power grids;

  • Many of these locations leverage/provide wind turbines, solar and hydroelectric resources/

Pre-Existing Infrastructure

Bitcoin mining requires stable power supplies and ventilated spaces that can support ASICs racks.

  • Locations with vacant and affordable industrial spaces — like those found in the American Rust Belt — are perfect.

Reasonable Government Policies

Political stability facilitates investment. Smart business people are more likely to invest in locations with favorable policies and outlooks towards their industry.

  •  Politically stable regions;

  •  Locations with reasonable, consistent government policies towards crypto mining and FDI.

A Willingness to Embrace Innovation

Innovators populate the crypto ecosystem. These innovators are attracted to spots that embrace change. Locations with a willingness to entertain seemingly wild ideas — be it the national adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender or energy generation via the recycling of mining’s excess heat — often see a growth in mining enterprises.

What Are the World’s Top 10 Crypto Mining Hubs?

Before we wade into this “mine-field,” a quick disclaimer: Bitcoin mining is constantly changing around the world and we’d be here until the next Bitcoin halving trying to compare BTC apples with mining oranges, so if your city isn’t listed here, yes, yes, we know. 
And we love that you know as well. We’re not just looking at size, but also innovation and more. We’ll also have clearer figures when the Cambridge Bitcoin Mining Map is next updated again. 

Without further adieu, let's dive in. Here are some of the best crypto and Bitcoin mining hubs right now.  

Texas, USA

Everything’s bigger in Texas — including the mining industry. Texas has struck digital oil. Metaphors abound!

The Lone Star State ranks fourth in some hash rate distribution data sets — handling 14% of the U.S. hash rate — but is an easy choice as the hottest spot for Bitcoin mining. Illustratively, many Bitcoin miners have been sinking roots into West Texas soil — including the Chinese miner Bitdeer, and the American enterprise Riot Blockchain, who’ve acquired a 100-acre site in Rockdale, TX.

Likewise, tens of thousands of ASICs, a technology used to mint new Bitcoin, are being delivered in massive quantities to the region.

This is because Texas ticks almost every box on the list of attributes desirable for crypto mining.

  • Texas boasts a crypto-friendly regulatory environment and is located in a politically stable country;

  • While not ideal during blizzards, Texas has a deregulated power grid with real-time spot pricing;
  • Texas has access to several sources of affordable energy — including significant renewable resources and stranded/flared natural gas.

The regulatory environment in Texas lends a level of predictability to mining previously unachievable in China. Tellingly, there are numerous land deals and purchase agreements related to crypto being processed by the state.

Likewise, flexible energy policies enable miners to plug directly into the grid. In addition, cheap energy prices — at just USD$2.8 cents per kW-hour! — draw from sustainable solar sources. Similarly, many natural gas facilities in Texas leverage flaring technology, which produces far fewer emissions.

Texas' deregulated grid also enables miners to benefit from spot pricing schemes that allow them to quit purchasing electricity if prices get too high.

If things keep moving in the direction they are presently heading, Texas will soon be responsible for up to 1/3 of global Bitcoin production.

New York, USA

Despite famously high land and human resource prices, New York State is a global leader in mining, handling 19.9% of the US Bitcoin’s hash rate. The largest crypto mining facility in the U.S. is located in New York, and illustrates the state's advantages. 

Operated by Coinmint and powered by wind turbines and dams on the St. Lawrence River, the Massena mining facility is built into a former disused aluminum smelter.

Like Texas, New York is ripe for crypto mining:

  • New York has (at present at least!) relatively friendly policies towards cryptocurrency;

  • New York’s cold climate and plethora of empty factory spaces are ideal for mining crypto;

  •  Renewable (if slightly expensive) energy resources.

Energy prices in the Empire State are more expensive than those in Texas, but nearly a third of this energy comes from renewable energy sources. Likewise, seeking carbon neutrality, New York leans into nuclear power and generates more hydroelectric power than any state east of the Rocky Mountains.

At present, the regulatory situation in the state is favorable toward crypto enterprises. Despite this, the state is mulling a three-year ban on crypto mining while it assesses the potential environmental consequences of the industry. This is unlikely to come to fruition, as much of the energy used comes from renewable resources.

Kentucky, USA

Kentucky, a state formerly famous for mining coal, is another up and comer in the American crypto mining game. Indeed, it handles a whopping 18.7% of America’s total hashrate. 

  • Kentucky’s present governor is a friend to the industry and has passed laws granting tax exemptions to mining operations
  • The region is known for its sustainable energy resources — generated via hydroelectric dams and wind turbines 

  • The region boasts low energy prices, abundant human resources, and unused industrial spaces

Georgia, USA

Similar to its neighbor Kentucky, Georgia is dominating the U.S. mining ecosystem, representing 17.3% of the nation's hash rate. Miners are drawn to the US state of Georgia by low energy prices and a favorable regulatory environment. 

Elements of the state’s government even mulled allowing citizens to pay taxes in crypto. 

Siberia, Russia

Russia is now the world’s third-biggest Bitcoin mining nation after the United States and Kazakhstan, and has absorbed a fair share of China’s exodus of miners this year. 

As a generally cold destination (especially in freezing Siberia), it makes for favorably cost-effective conditions for the mining of cryptocurrencies. Moreover, the Russian government is also looking to cash in the income and taxes generated by mining, with the Duma (Russian assembly) last month proposing new plans to create entrepreneur-friendly legislation to draw in more BTC miners. 
Not everyone is convinced though, and there has been some pushback by the central bank as well as calls to charge miners a higher electricity tariff. However, the future  overall for Russia-produced Bitcoin is quite bright, especially after crypto received a veiled endorsement from the main guy himself.

Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africa’s economic hub, Johannesburg — also referred to as Egoli, the place of gold, for its gold rush heydays, business sector and access to Africa — is adding crypto mining to its list of industries. Interestingly, Joburg does not meet the typical qualification for a crypto mining hub.

  • South Africa has a famously unreliable power grid that endures regular blackouts;

  • A well-documented history of recent political instability and labor union issues.

Despite this, it makes the list for its innovative approaches to crypto. For example, a mine run by Libertas produces 30 coins a day using solar power, making it one of the most profitable mines in the world.. SA has no shortage of UV rays, and business at this off-the-grid crypto enterprise is thriving and producing a compelling roadmap for other sunsoaked countries.

Vancouver, Canada

Like Joburg, this beautiful coastal city makes the list because of its attitudes toward innovation. 

Indeed, North Vancouver recently announced that it would attempt to become the first city heated by cryptocurrency mining. This kills several birds with one stone. By converting the heat generated by Bitcoin, it further reduces energy costs and while attracting business to the city. It tackles climate change, creates heat energy and mines crypto simultaneously.

The city energy authority is teaming up with MintGreen, a cleantech miner to build “digital-boilers” designed to recover up to 96% of the electricity used in mining.

El Salvador

El Salvador has tried hard to snatch 2021’s crypto PR awards away from Jack Dorsey and Dogefather Elon Musk this year (and refueled markets for another bull run) when it announced in May that it would be the first country on earth to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. This was one of several crypto related projects announced by controversial President Nayib Bukele. Others include giving every citizen $30 in BTC and creating a volcano-powered city called “Bitcoin City” (reminder to self: check in to see how Akon City is doing)

Many of Bukele’s projects are still in their early stages and stand a good chance of failure. However, should he deliver on his promises, El Salvador will become a world leader in the crypto sphere, and check numerous boxes on our checklist — with sustainably, geothermally powered mining, favorable policies and the mass adoption of Bitcoin wallets.

Citing a recent series of protests, critics warn that Bukele’s experiment could cause severe economic damage and political instability in the central-American country. Likewise, despite claiming to be “the world’s coolest dictator,” the 40-year-old, leather jacket sporting, backwards hat-wearing politician remains a democratically elected official and is feted by Bitcoin maxi’s for BTFD (together with Michael Saylor) every time BTC’s price sneezes. As Bukele is the main personality behind El Salvador’s Bitcoin endeavor, a change in leadership could quickly result in a change in Bitcoin policy.

Despite this, El Salvador is included on this list for its willingness to innovate, take risks and embrace the future.

Kazakhstan

Following the Chinese ban, many Chinese mining firms moved their operations to Kazakhstan. Tellingly, the Central Asia state had an 18.1% share of Bitcoin’s hashrate in August 2021. The country boasts cheap energy prices, but has several disadvantages that gets it a spot on this list as a cautionary tale of how not to mine Bitcoin.

  • The country’s mining boom has caused power outages, which have created political instability;
  •  Almost all of the Kazakhstan’s energy is made from extremely dirty coal plants/

Iceland*

So what about all those cool Nordic countries? Well, BTC mining is still carrying on, but it’s not quite business as usual. The support in countries like Iceland to create environmentally-friendly Bitcoin mining in recent years has been a huge crypto bonus for the decentralization of Bitcoin and company, with the Icelandic Blockchain Foundation claiming that 8% of all Bitcoins were mined there with the help of geothermal and hydroelectric energy.  
However, those glory days appear to be coming to an end, with the country facing maximum electricity capacity and shortages that have forced it to punish heavy users and turn away new Bitcoin miners.

But with cheap and sustainable energy set to become an increasingly precious commodity, we cannot discount a possible surge back to the top for Iceland and other Scandinavian nations, especially if Bitcoin’s price takes a cooling that disincentivizes mining elsewhere. 

Conclusion 

After surveying this list, it would be easy to declare New York as the hottest Bitcoin hub on earth. Despite this, lessons from China have taught us that oppressive regulatory policies drive innovation away, and New York's environmental policies may come back to bite them. While not the leader in hashrate, Texas has established the best footing for a Bitcoin boom. Indeed, they check every box. 

The clear winner is this modern gold rush is the consumer and the environment. Bitcoin’s exodus from China and migration towards environmentally sustainable energy sources lends credibility to Bitcoin, protects the consumer and will continue to make a lot of Americans, Canadians, Russians and South Africans (and yes, those miners in your country) a lot of money. 

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