HomeCryptoUS bans Chinese mining farm near nuclear base

US bans Chinese mining farm near nuclear base

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The White House bans the operation of a mining farm in Wyoming because it is right next to an air force base with nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. There is a suspicion that espionage for China is being carried out on the farm. Ironically, there is no one behind the operator MineOne Less than Bitmain, the largest ASIC manufacturer in the world.

On May 13th, Bitcoin mining became a top priority in the USA: The White House published a decreesigned by President Joe Biden himself, which prohibits the operation of a mining farm.

The president invokes, among other things, national security laws. The mining farm near Cheyenne, the capital of the state of Wyoming, poses a danger to them.

Photo from Wyoming’s capital city of Cheyenne. Image by dconvertini via flickr.com. License: Creative Commons

The reason: The mining farm is located less than a mile from the US Air Force base.Francis E. Warren Air Force“. This is where the intercontinental ballistic missiles come in LGM-30 Minuteman stationed, an essential part of the US nuclear deterrent.

The purchase of the property should actually have been approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the USA (CFIUS). But they only became aware of this after a public notice. During an audit, she identified national security risks. These consist of the farm being operated by Chinese nationals and placing specialized foreign-sourced computer equipment in close proximity to Warren Airforce Base. These are “potentially capable of carrying out surveillance and espionage activities”.

After internal consultation, the CFIUS does not recognize any possibility of sufficiently limiting these risks. The White House therefore ruled that the purchase of the property was illegal. MineOne has 120 days to sell the site and 90 days to completely vacate it. With immediate effect, employees are only allowed to enter the premises to carry out the evacuation.

CFIUS employees may inspect the work and examine all of the company’s account books and documents, interview employees and business partners and carry out other necessary checks.

Over MineOne itself there isn’t much to say. According to his own statement, the miner operates several farms in the USA with a total of 350 petahash, which is half a thousandth of the entire network. What will be exciting, however, is what a short research reveals about the collaboration between MineOne and its partner, Bison Blockchain.

A Article in the “Wyoming News” which has since been deleted, reported on how Bison Blockchain, a startup from Wymoning’s capital Cheyenne, negotiated a contract with the local energy supplier Black Hills Energy for MineOne. MineOne would initially take on up to 45 megawatts – about a fifth of Cheyenne’s total consumption – and later up to 75 megawatts. The mines were to be operated by Bison Blockchain, which promised to create 20 well-paying jobs in Cheyenne.

However, the collaboration between the two companies was not exactly happy. Bison Blockchain filed a lawsuit back in March 2023. In one open letter to stakeholders At the end of May, the startup explained: “As we prepared to connect power and begin Bitcoin mining at North Range Farm, we became increasingly concerned about MineOne’s behavior. They acted less like partners we can trust and more like adversaries acting against us with an agenda to take over the North Range and Campstool projects.”

North Range is a business park in northern Cheyenne, about three miles from the Air Force Base west of the city. Campstool is a town a few miles west of Cheyenne. So far there is nothing to suggest that MineOne is operating in the immediate vicinity of the nuclear base.

It’s about five miles from the North Range Business Park to the Air Force Base according to Google Maps.

At the end of 2022, Bison Blockchain was replaced as operator of the two farms by Chinese nationals without explanation. The open letter speaks of deep disappointment at being betrayed and cheated and not being able to fulfill the promise of creating 20 jobs in Wyoming. From now on, only Chinese citizens and temporary workers from other states had access to the mining farms.

However, the story becomes explosive in October 2023. Bison Blockchain has expanded its lawsuit and A second company is now complaining – Bitmain, the largest Asic manufacturer in the world. The Beijing-based company continues to dominate the market with its Antminers and controls, directly or indirectly, large parts of the global hashrate.

“As we reviewed the evidence and initial revelations of the case, it became increasingly clear to us that Bitmain was behind the takeover of the farms by a Chinese conglomerate and the removal of Bison Blockchain as their operator.” The Statement of Claim describes the takeover in minute, sometimes tiring detail. It began with MineOne implementing small changes following instructions from Bitmain, such as allowing the North Range Farm to not only mine with its own devices but also host third-party devices, and ended with a “subversive and sophisticated takeover” involving personnel from Bitmain was directly involved.

The lawsuit also states that Bison Blockchain initiated the purchase of a property at 635 Logistic Drive for the “North Range Site”. This gives us an address – right next to Warren Air Force Base, next to a Wall Mart and the Wymoning Supercomputer Center. You can even still see the warehouses for the mining farms on Google Maps (see cover photo).

In another brief update, Bison Blockchain reports that the lawsuit continues and that “Chinese miners are using Wyoming’s energy resources to mine Bitcoins, dividing the Bitcoin community, and their operations and personnel near Warren Air Force Base and Wyoming’s critical infrastructure.” That’s on top of what a lawsuit has been filed against. There are now 16 lawyers employed.

Since this is where the air base comes into play for the first time, one can assume that the “public notice” mentioned by the White House came from Bison Blockchain itself.


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