Just about every Texan remembers the winter storm of 2021 where many homes lost power. Then the worst was when 246 Texans died since they were without heat for days.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has assured the State that ERCOT is on top of it.
Yet, some cities were told to conserve power this summer.
Governor Abbott highlighted Texas has an independent and open power grid. According to him, this is different compared to other states that have a single utility program.
But Governor Abbott is not telling everyone another little trick he is working on and that’s Bitcoin and blockchain.
He wants to make Texas a Bitcoin state. Several Bitcoin mining firms have called Texas their home. Governor Abbott has called Texas business-friendly as many companies have opened up shop in Texas.
- Argo blockchain is located in Dickens County which is west of Dallas
- Riot blockchain is located northeast of Austin
- As of August 2022, Core Scientific, U.S. Bitcoin Corp., and Genesis Digital were planning to establish operations in Texas
This summer, several Bitcoin mining companies leased back electricity to ERCOT to help with the volatility of the power. During the heat wave, the miners pledged to not use power so Texans would not have blackouts.
Governor Abbot said:
“We will continue advancing in Bitcoin and blockchain.”
Abbott was asked what he plans to do to make Texas a Bitcoin country.
“We created a working group to make sure that we are focused on the type of legislation that will make it more inviting. We don’t want to be over-regulatory and want to be anti-regulatory.”
Here is more on the Bitcoin miners shutting off power:
Texas Hosted the Blockchain Summit Despite a Crypto Bankruptcy
Recently, Texas hosted the Texas Blockchain Summit at the University of Texas from November 17 to 18 in the AT&T Hotel and Conference Center in Austin.
But everything is not going as smoothly as planned.
If you haven’t heard, FTX, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges filed for bankruptcy. The founder Sam Bankmanfried was a billionaire listed with Forbes but is no longer as wealthy with the collapse of the company.
The president of the nonprofit trade association of the Texas Blockchain Council Lee Bratcher said:
“The obstacles we face as an industry have just expanded significantly as a result of FTX’s incompetence and potentially fraudulent activity. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
On November 6, cryptocurrency rival exchange Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted his company would liquidate its holdings of FTX’s native token. The cryptocurrency was integral to the exchange’s operations. This and other news prompted many others to cash out their investments which FTX could not handle. Then two days later, Zhao announced his company was no longer buying FTX since he thought the financial numbers of FTX were risky.
Then on November 11, FTX filed for bankruptcy. Sam Bankmanfried resigned as CEO and was replaced by John J. Ray III.
Sam Padilla said at the pre-summit gala on November 15:
“Frankly, this sucks.”
“The actions of a few at FTX do not speak for and do not represent the values of what crypto is actually about. There’s something really special about this technology, there’s something really special about this community. We’re really working to do something good.”
Over the past several years, Governor Abbott has been vocal about making Texas the number one destination for Bitcoin and blockchain.
After FTX crashed, Abbott mentioned Bankmanfried’s massive donation to his challenger Beto O’Rourke and the Democratic party.
According to Fox News, Sam Bankmanfried also made donations to the Republican party.
Bankmanfried said in a September interview with NBC News anchor Chuck Todd:
"I have a duty as a member of the industry to try and get us regulated, to try and move the industry in a more responsible direction. I think that requires engagement. I think it'd be irresponsible for me not to engage with Capitol Hill, with regulators."
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz who is a Bitcoin investor said at the summit:
“I want Texas to be an oasis for Bitcoin and crypto.”
Cruz wasn’t the only political supporter of Bitcoin. The list includes:
- Senator Angela Paxton, R-McKinney
- Senator Royce West, D-Dallas
- Representative Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake
- Representative John H. Bucy III, D-Austin
“Any conversation I’ve had in response to FTX, it’s been what do we do to make sure we’re not like them. It’s how do we have commonsense policies to protect people without stopping progress.”
“This is the oil boom of this generation.”
In Texas’ upcoming legislative session, Bratcher said the Texas Blockchain Council will talk with legislative partners if they want to enact stronger consumer protections on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
Governor Abbott wants to integrate Bitcoin to help with power outages but there are still some things that need to be worked out in the cryptocurrency industry.
Do you expect a winter power outage in Texas this year?