Mining is the energy-intensive process which both creates new coins and updates the digital ledger of all transactions of existing tokens. More than half of all miners are currently based in China, but a mass exodus is already underway. Where they’re going, however, isn’t yet clear.
While Suarez told CNBC he hasn’t personally received any calls from Chinese miners, the mayor is looking to patriate this mining diaspora by promoting the city’s essentially unlimited supply of cheap nuclear energy.
“We want to make sure that our city has an opportunity to compete,” he said. “We’re talking to a lot of companies and just telling them, ‘Hey, we want you to be here,’” he said.
Bitcoin miners are location agnostic; all they need is a rig and a good internet connection. What varies place to place, however, is the cost of energy. And ultimately, what miners care about most is finding the cheapest source of power out there to drive up their profit margins.
That’s why Mayor Suarez, one of the most crypto-friendly politicians in the United States, is making big promises on the cost of doing business in Miami. Suarez has been a crypto believer for years, but he took the plunge into investing in bitcoin and ethereum once he saw the federal government pass a $1.9 trillion American rescue plan, because he “realized that what was inevitable – and already happening – is inflation.”
He emphasized the city’s reliance on nuclear power as a source of clean, inexpensive energy.
“The fact that we have nuclear power means that it’s very inexpensive power,” Suarez told CNBC in an interview from a second-floor conference room in the Miami City Hall building.
Less than an hour from City Hall is the Turkey Point Nuclear Plant, which helps to power Miami, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average electricity per kilowatt hour cost of 10.7 cents in Miami, versus the national average of 13.3 cents.
Florida Power and Light workers Juan Madruga (R) and Pehter Rodriguez (L) confer at the Turkey Point Nuclear Reactor Building in Homestead, Florida May 18, 2017.
Rhona Wise | AFP | Getty Images
Across the state of Florida, nuclear energy is the second-biggest power generator, after natural gas. Suarez is already in talks with Florida Power & Light Company to figure out how to further drive down the price of energy.
“We understand how important this is…miners want to get to a certain kilowatt price per hour. And so we’re working with them on that,” Suarez told CNBC.
The mayor is also considering a mix of other incentives, like enterprise zones specifically for crypto mining. Enterprise zones are areas in which tax…