The convergence of the energy sector with the bitcoin mining industry is a topic we've been covering at the Bent for years. The oldest rag I can find on the subject comes from Issue #358, which was published on November 9th, 2018. Here's what we said then:
Fast forward three-and-a-half years and the convergence of the energy sector and the mining industry isn't a conversation that is relegated to the niche corners of bitcoin Twitter. It is now an obvious trend that is only going to accelerate from here. Today was one of those days that seems a bit surreal.
Early in the day a Bloomberg article that confirmed Exxon Mobile has entered into an agreement with Crusoe Energy to eliminate some of their flare in the Bakken by converting their gas to electricity to mine bitcoin instead of setting it on fire.
The overall size of Crusoe's operations on Exxon pads seems to be relatively small at the moment, but the fact that this news hit the market is a very strong signal; bitcoin mining has a legitimate place in the operation stack of an oil and gas company. Is Exxon holding the bitcoin mined by Crusoe? Doubtful. Will they soon announce that they are accumulating bitcoin within their company treasury? I wouldn't hold my breath. This move was more likely driven by Exxon's need to appease ESG investors than a drive to stack sats on the balance sheet. Nonetheless, it is a social signal from a prominent actor that bitcoin has utility. The beauty of this social signal, even if it's shallow, is that it forces individuals to recognize that bitcoin has utility. Not only as a distributed sound monetary system, but as an electricity buyer of last and first resort that is uniquely suited to help solve our wasted/stranded energy problem.
In a way, this is poetic justice. Bitcoin, by proxy of proof of work mining that is location agnostic and one of the only profitable interruptible compute services, is forcing the ESG types who would like to see it banished from the planet for "mUh It UsEs ToO mUcH eNeRgY" reasons admit that it is a legitimate energy efficiency mechanism. Today, Exxon gives a half ass endorsement of bitcoin. It may be half ass'd, but it provides cover for others who are bolder, more willing to hold bitcoin on their balance sheets, and are proud to day they own bitcoin to take the torch and run with it. This is a beautiful thing.
Expect more of this.
We are gonna win.