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Biden Shuts Chinese-Linked Crypto Mining Facility Over National Security Concerns

President Biden has issued an executive order mandating the closure and divestment of a Wyoming-based cryptocurrency mine operated by a Chinese-affiliated company.

The move comes after investigations revealed potential risks associated with the facility’s proximity to a key Air Force base controlling nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The cryptomining operation, situated near the F.E. Warren base in Cheyenne, faced scrutiny due to its utilization of high-powered computers in a data center, raising alarms about potential surveillance and espionage threats. The president’s order, citing national security concerns, directs the immediate cessation of operations and the removal of all equipment within 90 days, followed by the sale or transfer of the property within 120 days.

The decision underscores growing apprehensions surrounding Chinese-owned cryptocurrency mines operating in the United States. These facilities, which have proliferated following regulatory crackdowns in China, have drawn attention due to their massive electricity consumption and their potential implications for national security.

In recent years, Chinese-owned cryptomining operations have expanded across various states, with facilities collectively consuming electricity equivalent to 1.5 million homes. Concerns have been raised about the ties some of these operations have to the Chinese government or Communist Party, prompting calls for tighter regulations and restrictions on foreign ownership.

Biden’s executive order reflects broader efforts to address national security risks posed by foreign-controlled critical infrastructure. It comes on the heels of bipartisan legislation targeting Chinese-owned companies, including a recent bill aimed at banning the social media app TikTok unless it undergoes a change in ownership.

The move also follows similar actions at the state level, such as Arkansas’s recent laws restricting foreign ownership of cryptomining operations. These legislative measures aim to safeguard against potential threats while addressing community concerns regarding noise pollution and property devaluation associated with cryptomining activities.

It is worth noting that the Biden Administration has previously initiated efforts to tighten regulations on the U.S. Bitcoin mining industry, citing China’s actions as a model to follow in its ongoing scrutiny of crypto.

In 2021, the Chinese government imposed stringent restrictions on crypto mining, prompting a mass migration of mining operations to the United States.

This recent directive from the White House coincides with the administration’s plans to escalate tariffs on various Chinese imports, including electric vehicles, scheduled to take effect the following day.

The BlockCointelegraphThe New York Times

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