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Major Bitcoin Mining CEO Explains How Proof of Work Supports the Grid

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Peter Wall – CEO of the publicly traded miner Argo Blockchain – recently broke down how Bitcoin mining is supporting the Texas power grid. He argued that miners are a form of “flexible load” that can give their power back to the grid when it’s put under stress.

  • In an interview with Yahoo Finance, the CEO explained why Argo suspended its operation in Texas on Monday. The firm was responding to a call from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to conserve energy wherever possible.
  • Texas has been experiencing a major heatwave this month, increasing demand for energy across the state. It broke an all-time energy use record of 78,206 megawatts on Friday, breaking the previous record from three days prior.
  • Nearly all industrial-scale Bitcoin miners in the state joined Argo in powering down upon request. This helped return 1000 megawatts of power to retail and commercial users.
  • “As a miner, you understand that that’s part of the deal,” said Wall., “that when there’s power that’s needed for other reasons, you can give that power back to the grid.”

  • The Texas grid has suffered from rolling blackouts during the summer and winter seasons for years now. In 2021, a fierce winter storm led to blackouts in the state which eventually left hundreds dead. Polling showed that 60% of Texans disapproved of the state’s grid management at the time.
  • Ever since, Texas governor Greg Abbott has made concentrated efforts to invite Bitcoin miners to the state, He believes they can incentivize the production of more power generation facilities, which can in turn stabilize the grid.
  • As Wall elaborated, miners are able to participate in demand-response programs, whereby they are paid to give power back to the state, when asked. “That’s why there are so many miners that are moving to Texas,” he said.
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