Mining exec explains how Bitcoin is converging with the oil and gas industry

Episode 15 of Season 4 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Justin Ballard, CEO & Founder at Jai Energy.

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Bitcoin is converging with one of the largest industries in the world: oil and gas.

In this episode of The Scoop, Justin Ballard, co-founder of Jai Energy, joined The Block's Frank Chaparro to discuss how his Wyoming-based firm is working with producers of oil and gas to help them put excess energy to work by mining bitcoin.

"Every single of one them that calls us, typically are calling us about a flare gas situation," Ballard, who worked for more than a decade as an attorney and operator in the oil industry prior to founding Jai, said of new entrants to bitcoin mining from the oil and gas world.

"The oil and gas industry and bitcoin mining can work together," he said.

Jai uses the excess energy or 'run-off' owned by oil companies to power bitcoin mining, which offers a new revenue stream for gas companies and energy for Jai's bitcoin mining operation. Ballard explained how the synergies between these groups will expand:

"There's a variety of areas where oil and gas companies have megawatts of excess capacity that they've so capital into building out, but they're not utilizing on a daily basis. And we've had some success showing them those areas and where it's like, look, you can go build a very nice bitcoin mine on this facility."

Ballard also explained how the business models of oil and gas firms and bitcoin mining companies are nearly identical, with the main difference being the change in difficulty built into the bitcoin network.

During this episode, Chaparro and Ballard also discuss:

  • How the firm is working with the El Salvador government on its Volcano-powered bitcoin mining operation
  • What he thinks about the climate questions that have long hungover the bitcoin space
  • How supply chain issues are making the job of being a bitcoin miner more complicated
  • The job creation stemming from bitcoin miners

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