*Disclaimer: talking my own book here since I am a part of the Great American Mining team, a team building mobile mining operations. Austin is also a part of the GAM team.*
If Bitcoin is to be a sufficiently decentralized network in the long-run mobile mining operations are an imperative. As our good friend Austin pointed out in 2018, the lack of leverage that static on-grid miners have with their local power facility is something that should not be taken lightly. The ability for a miner to get operationally locked in to a specific plot of land puts them - and by extension, the Bitcoin network - in a precarious position.
We've seen many cases in the past of Bitcoin miners getting kicked out of a local jurisdiction because the local government doesn't like Bitcoin or because they get locked into a PPA and have had taxes unexpectedly raised on them after the fact. Most famously in Quebec a few years ago.
Even if miners are able to lock in low energy prices for an extended period of time and have their operations up and running without a hitch, the risk of a local government making whimsical decisions around their support of or disdain for Bitcoin looms large. At any moment a strike of a pen could lead to men with guns showing up to a centralized mining farm and forcing them to shut down their operations. I don't think this will happen everywhere, but it is a risk that should be taken into consideration and preemptively routed around to the best of our abilities.
This is where mobile mining comes in. Building smaller scale mining operations in shipping containers that can plug bring the extremely liquid bitcoin market to off-grid stranded illiquid energy assets presents a beautiful opportunity for miners looking to run profitable businesses and the future decentralization of the network. These stranded resources provide an opportunity to mine bitcoin cheaply and the mobile nature of the mining operations built in shipping containers gives miners leverage over the stranded energy provider.
It's much harder to raise the price of that stranded energy on the miner using it when you know they can trivially unplug and move their equipment down the road to a competitor willing to sell their energy at a competitive price in relatively short order. On top of this, the distributed nature of this model makes it harder for men with guns to show up to a centralized location and shut everything down at once. They'd have to identify the whole distributed fleet, which could operate across state and national borders, and attack them all at once. Compare this to miners in Venezuela that the Maduro regime was easily able to identify because they were able to look at on-grid energy distribution and assume where miners were based on the amount of energy being concentrated in particular areas.
It is significantly harder to identify off-grid miners because this monitoring system simply does not exist. The future of mining is mobile and it is beautiful.
Of course, there will be a blend of geographically centralized operations and mobile operations for the foreseeable future. However, it's important to highlight why mobile mining should be prioritized and how it can provide immense value to the network and individual mining companies.
Day two of the sore throat. Struggling through.