ROCKDALE, Texas — Texas has been called the energy capital of the world by many politicians, and that energy is exactly what cryptocurrency companies are trying to tap into, but they're not setting up shop where you might imagine.
"A lot of rural communities, we have a lot of excess power that they can just tie onto at a substation or some of the existing infrastructure," Rockdale Economic Development Director Jim Gibson said. "They build a building and they're ready to go, and they don't have that available in a bigger community."
Instead of moving to the Lone Star State's large metropolitan areas, which have the infrastructure and large workforce, cryptocurrency companies are doing the opposite and are setting up their operations in rural areas, with some companies already established in the Brazos Valley.
"In terms of county government we like Whinstone, we like Bitdeer, which is another cryptocurrency thing and we liked those people," Milam county judge, Steve Young said. We get along with them great as I mentioned, they're big supporters of the community. So we like to do business with them."
Whinstone U.S. and Bitdeer have called Rockdale home since 2016 and 2020 respectively, with each company helping the community in significant ways. Both companies have added $60 million to the tax base and added hundreds of new jobs when the county needed it most.
"Alcoa was the largest producer of employment in this county for 60 years. In addition to that, in 2018, we lost ALUMINA, which was the power generating company that Alcoa left behind and we lost 450 Something jobs when they left," Young said.
With local job growth and increased tax base to use on rod improvements and the school district, economic developers couldn't be happier to have these companies in town.
"Crypto mines like this are a great addition to the tax base there," Gibson said. "They don't impose a tremendous burden upon the community. They're not big water customers."