Canada Mulls $7 Million Fine for Illegal Bitcoin-Mining Power Plant

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Setting up a Bitcoin mining operation inside a power plant has become something of a trend. In recent months, companies have started mining cryptocurrency in hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear, and even volcanic power plants. The idea has proven so popular, in fact, that Canadian authorities are reportedly considering a $7.1 million fine for a company that secretly operated a Bitcoin-mining power plant in Alberta.

CBC reported that Link Global set up four 1.25 MW generators powered by "a dormant natural gas well" at one site in 2020 "without notifying neighbours, the county, or the Alberta Utilities Commission." It then established two sites in other locations—only one of which complied with the AUC's regulations. CBC said the first site operated without approval for 364 days; a site in Kirkwall operated for 426.

Link Global doesn't seem deterred by these potential fines: The company reportedly plans to establish three 10 MW cryptocurrency mining facilities in Alberta by the end of this year. It's also said to be planning to submit a response to the AUC, presumably in a bid to reduce the fines. In addition, it is reportedly hoping to move one of the plants and resume operations at the Kirkwall facility after settling the issue.

"We have acknowledged we made some mistakes and have worked hard to rectify those; however, we have followed the orders of AUC since being notified of issues in early 2021," Link Global CEO Stephen Jenkins said in a statement to CBC. "Our business works to respect the laws, the people and the environment, and we believe that our submission to the AUC will make this apparent."

This, too, has become something of a trend among Bitcoin mining operations. A company in the Finger Lakes region of New York that was criticized for the operations' potential environmental impact announced in August that it would replace a landfill with a "significant new solar farm," for example, and a key selling point of El Salvador's volcano-powered Bitcoin projects are their use of clean energy.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • King_V
    If they are undeterred, then that's probably because the fine is laughably minuscule compared to their profits.
  • daworstplaya
    I think it's time to shut down these monopoly money miners. Ruin the environment in a get rich quick scheme.
  • JamesJones44
    daworstplaya said:
    I think it's time to shut down these monopoly money miners. Ruin the environment in a get rich quick scheme.

    I'm with you. I understand the want to decentralize, but wasting energy in the fashion that is being done to do it doesn't make sense.
  • boidsonly
    Nothing like stealing from your customers.....