Bitcoin Miners Mingle With Oil Executives
A group of oil and gas executives and bitcoin miners mingled in a warehouse in Houston recently. One big topic of discussion: using stranded natural gas to power bitcoin mining rigs, which both reduces greenhouse-gas emissions and makes money for the gas providers, as well as the miners.
On a residential back street of Houston, in a 150,000-square-foot warehouse safeguarding high-end vintage cars, 200 oil and gas executives and bitcoin miners mingled, drank beer, and talked shop on a recent Wednesday night in August.
These two groups of people may seem as though they are at opposite ends of the professional and social spectrums, but their worlds are colliding—fast. As it turns out, the industries make for compatible bedfellows.
Just take Hayden Griffin Haby III, an oilman turned bitcoiner. The Texas native and father of three has spent 14 years in oil and gas, and he epitomizes what this monthly meetup is all about.
Haby started as a surface landman where he brokered land contracts, and later, ran his own oil company. But, for the last 9 months, he’s exclusively been in the business of mining bitcoin.
As Haby describes it, he was “orange pilled” in November 2020—a term used to describe the process of convincing a fiat-minded person that they are missing out by not investing in bitcoin. A month later, he cofounded Limpia Creek Technologies, which powers bitcoin mining rigs with flared, vented, and stranded natural gas assets.
“When I heard that you could make this much money per MCF, instead of just burning it up into the atmosphere, thanks to the whole bitcoin mining thing, I couldn’t look away,” Haby said. “You can’t unsee that.”
When China kicked out all its crypto miners this spring—an exodus which Haby calls the “Chexit”—that poured kerosene on the flames. “This is an opportunity we didn’t think was coming,” he said.
Haby tells CNBC they are already seeing demand rushing to Texas, and he is convinced that the state is poised to capture most of the Chinese hashrate looking for a new home on friendlier shores.
Bitcoin miners care most about finding cheap sources of electricity, so Texas, with its crypto-friendly politicians, deregulated power grid, and abundance of inexpensive power sources, is a virtually perfect fit. The union becomes even more harmonious when miners connect their rigs to otherwise stranded energy, like natural gas going to waste on oil fields across Texas.
“This is Texas, boys. We got what you need, so come on down,” Haby said. “We are sitting on the energy capital of the world.”
“I think Kevin Costner said it best: ‘If you build it, they will come,’” Haby said.