Even though cryptocurrency is a truly global phenomenon, much of the real action takes place in the U.S. Cryptocurrency developments in U.S. tend to have a significant influence on the rest of the world, with both government policy and private investments having immediate impacts all over the world. There’s also a lot happening in the American cryptocurrency industry on any given day, and it can be surprisingly difficult to keep up to date.
Let’s take a look at three major U.S. cryptocurrency news items from this week that you may have missed.
1. Texas to become home to 1 Gigawatt crypto mining facility. Earlier this week, German cryptocurrency mining firm Northern Bitcoin AG announced a merger with U.S-based data center and crypto mining company Whinstone US. The merger is part of a larger plan to launch a 1 Gigawatt mining facility — easily the largest in the world — near the town of Rockdale (pop. 5,595) in a largely rural area of central Texas. With a projected cost of $150 million, the 100-acre facility is currently under construction, and is expected to be operational by Q1 of 2020.
2. Rand Corporation considers impact of cryptocurrencies in report on dark web. Yesterday, government policy think tank the Rand Corporation released a new report on the challenges faced by law enforcement investigating the so-called “Dark Web.” Not surprisingly, cryptocurrency plays a major role in the discussion. The report, titled “Identifying Law Enforcement Needs for Conducting Criminal Investigations Involving Evidence on the Dark Web,” devotes an entire section the logistics and challenges of tracking semi-anonymous cryptocurrency transactions. The report recommends substantial investment in training law enforcement, as many officers are not “trained to make the needed connections” in investigations involving cryptocurrency.
3. Federal Reserve officially “researching” central bank-issued crypto. In a letter to U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-AR) published on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell stated that while the Fed is not “currently developing” a central bank digital currency (CBDC), it is conducting research and doing “small-scale” experiments on the concept. Powell noted that biggest challenges to moving forward with a CBDC were not technical, but legal. “[In] the U.S. context, issuing a central bank digital currency for general use would raise important legal, monetary policy, payments policy, financial stability, supervision and operational questions that need to be carefully considered,” Powell wrote, adding that the Fed would “continue to analyze” the idea as other countries experiment with the technology.