Texas Town Tries To Beat Its Postindustrial Woes With Bitcoin Mining

The Central Texas town of Rockdale used to mine coal — but now it’s turned to something high-tech to stave off a bleak economic future.

By Jill AmentJuly 24, 2018 2:09 pm|

Since the closure of a coal-powered aluminum plant in Rockdale, the town seems to be going all in on a high-tech operation called Bitcoin mining. Jeff Mosier is an energy and environment reporter for the Dallas Morning News.

“The new Bitcoin mining facility is going to be opening at the former Alcoa Aluminum smelter, and that’s next door to the coal plant that just closed,” Mosier says. “So now that that’s gone, they have a big industrial facility with lots of electricity infrastructure [capable of] Bitcoin mining, which is essentially a huge server farm.”

It’s important to stress that the type of mining Alcoa used to do is far different from Bitcoin mining.

“[The bitcoin mining] computers…run specific software that crunches through algorithms and works on specific mathematic formulas,” Mosier says. “It takes a lot of processing power, a lot of time, and a lot of electricity to do that. So more and more big companies are getting into that because they can do it on scale.”

But how many jobs can be created by running arithmetic problems on servers? Mosier says it’s not entirely clear but that perhaps as many as 500 jobs may come to Rockdale as a result of this venture.

 

Written by Josue Moreno