The guest for this episode of Bitcoin In Asia is Alejandro De La Torre, vice president at Poolin. De La Torre and Poolin have launched taprootactivation.com to improve on the communication and transparency of the Taproot activation process. Bitcoin Magazine’s Aaron van Wirdum covered the initiative here, and in this Interview, De La Torre and host John Riggins explored additional context around it.
De La Torre has been in the Bitcoin data and mining space since 2014 when he founded SendChat, later acquired by wallet and data service Blocktrail, where he led business development until the company was acquired by Bitmain. Inside of Bitmain, De La Torre co-founded BTC.com and led its European office during the SegWit upgrade process. Now, back with former BTC.com colleagues at Poolin, De La Torre leads its global business development initiatives.
Poolin operates out of Beijing and is currently the second-largest pool in terms of Bitcoin hash power. Their services have expanded over the past year to include facilitating additional financial services products for their miner customers, and they have partnered with BlockFi and Three Arrows Capital, among others, for those expanded services.
In addition to discussing taprootactivation.com, De La Torre talked about lessons learned during the SegWit and blocksize debates, Bitcoin upgrade activations and the changing competitive landscape in the Bitcoin mining pool business.
Bitcoin mining-focused media company HASHR8 has launched the first report in its “Bitcoin Mining Index,” a planned series on the world’s prominent mining regions that offers detail on how the practice is taking shape and where opportunity lies around the globe.
“Bitcoin mining is truly a global game,” a representative of HASHR8 told Bitcoin Magazine. “Each country has its own unique pros and cons for mining. We are focused on country-level distinction because much of this information is opaque, including regulations, business practices, climate and of course, electricity prices.”
The series has launched with HASHR8’s report on Russia which, like the forthcoming reports about more regions around the world, dives into the electricity costs, energy mix, regulatory environment and capital expenditure that comes with mining bitcoin in the country.
“Russia ranks among the leading hash rate contributors worldwide,” according to a release from HASHR8 on its first report, which demonstrates the types of insight that will be offered for more regions throughout the index. “A federal law introduced in Russia this year legitimized Bitcoin mining as an official economic activity and clarified how Bitcoin miners must operate within the region. Russia’s Siberian region offers extremely competitive electricity rates to Bitcoin miners with rates equivalent to $0.02 to $0.025 per kWh commonly secured.”
The index is meant to help Bitcoin miners decide where to establish operations. While a vast majority of the network’s hash rate is concentrated in China, decentralization of the industry is an ongoing trend. And it’s more than likely that many of those within the Bitcoin community are curious about these regional specifics, even if they don’t necessarily plan to establish mining operations of their own.
“Is a region politically-stable? Are there favorable policies toward bitcoin and cryptocurrency? Is power sustainable throughout the year? What assurances are there that millions of dollars of mining equipment won’t disappear overnight or be subject to government seizures?” asks the release. “HASHR8’s Bitcoin Mining Index explores the many questions and concerns Bitcoin miners have when considering their new facility location, and presents the actionable insights necessary to inform proper decisions.”
“The State of Bitcoin Mining in Russia” is available on HASHR8’s website now. The company expects to release subsequent reports based on how extensive the mining industry is in each region that it hopes to cover.