Sunday, July 14, 2024

County gives conditional OK to cryptocurrency site


The Hood County Commissioners Court has granted conditional approval for a site development plan for a cryptocurrency operation.

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that uses cryptographic technology to hide the identity of the owner as well as the transaction for which the currency is used.

Compute North hopes to contract with Wolf Hollow, an electricity generating plant off Mitchell Bend Highway, to lease space for cryptocurrency operations and to purchase “stranded energy” that would otherwise go unused.

Development Director Clint Head stated that Compute North would have nine servers for cryptocurrency mining at Wolf Hollow’s 195-acre property.

The hitch for the Commissioners Court had to do with legalities where the tax abatement granted to Wolf Hollow owner Excelon Generation is concerned.

The county judge and commissioners indicated at their regular meeting last week that they wanted further research done on that issue and whether the land used by Compute North could be carved out of the tax abatement since it has nothing to do with electricity generation.

Also, County Judge Ron Massingill expressed a desire for a signed agreement stating that the company will shut down immediately in the event of an electrical emergency such as when Winter Storm Uri hit last February.

Julia Sonnen, a representative of Compute North, indicated that the company would happily grant that request and stated that shutting down operations during an emergency would pose no harm to clients.

She said that the company selects locations where there is stranded, or excess, energy.

Sonnen also noted that the cryptocurrency operation will have a positive impact on the county by providing jobs, although she did not state how many people would be employed.

Due to a 30-day deadline for action imposed by legislation passed in 2019, the court was required to either approve, conditionally approve or deny the request.

As a courtesy to Compute North, the court granted conditional approval. However, approval can be rescinded if the tax abatement poses legal problems.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Ron Cotton made a motion to approve the site development plan pending a recommendation by the county attorney, and Massingill seconded it.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Dave Eagle voted against the motion but stated that he did so for procedural reasons.