Biden Bans Chinese-Controlled Crypto Mining Near US Military Base

Joe Biden

United States President Joe Biden has shut down a Chinese-based cryptocurrency mining firm and banned it from acquiring land close to a Wyoming nuclear missile base.

According to Biden, the firm was built just a mile from an Air Force base with nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles, posing a “national security risk.”

MineOne Ordered to Shut Down

MineOne Partners Ltd., a crypto-mining facility close to the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, is partially backed by Chinese nationals. According to the order, the firm used specialized crypto-mining equipment that implements foreign-sourced technology, threatening national security.

Biden emphasized in the order that the foreign-sourced equipment could aid in surveillance and espionage activities. Hence, the firm has to sell the land within 120 days and vacate their machine and structures from the property within 90 days.

In June 2022, MineOne acquired the land in Cheyenne and renovated it to accommodate crypto mining. However, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) noted that the purchase was not reported as mandated until after receiving a public tip.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, as the chairperson of CFIUS, emphasized the committee’s role in safeguarding national security. She explained that the agency ensures that foreign investments do not threaten national security, especially transactions that affect U.S. military installations and those with special technology and equipment.

US Government Scrutiny Over Chinese Crypto Mining Firms

Chinese-owned cryptocurrency mining operations have skyrocketed in the U.S. since being banned in China in 2021. Despite some crypto mining returning to the Asian country, Chinese entrepreneurs in the sector are attracted to the U.S. for its relatively inexpensive electricity and well-established legal framework.

The recent action against MineOne is the second instance in which U.S. government officials have targeted Chinese-owned crypto mining ventures in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Arkansas’s Republican governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, signed two laws restricting foreign ownership of crypto mining operations within the state.

These laws prohibit ownership of crypto mines by foreign nationals from countries such as China, Iran, Cuba, and others subject to regulations outlined in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations by the State Department.

Notably, Arkansas has had a surge in Bitcoin mining operations in recent years. In October, it was disclosed that Chinese investors associated with the authoritarian government were running at least three mines in Arkansas. A former employee linked to these operations revealed efforts to survey “over 200 target mining sites” across more than ten states.

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