Across U.S., Chinese Bitcoin Mines Draw National Security Scrutiny

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Republican officials in Texas are deeply suspicious of China and its ruling party. But their embrace of Chinese-linked Bitcoin mining companies, including the largest in the United States, speaks to the deep appeal of cryptocurrencies in conservative circles, where suspicions of central banks run high. “I want Texas to be an oasis for Bitcoin and crypto,” Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican, said at a Bitcoin conference in April, speaking broadly about the technology. “I want everyone to come to Texas.” The state has lucrative incentives that have made it the most popular destination for Bitcoin miners in the country. One program pays cryptocurrency miners for agreeing to shut off their computers when the grid is on the brink of failure, such as during the record-breaking heat wave that hit the state this past summer. Since 2020, Bitdeer has been awarded nearly $50 million from this arrangement, according to data published by the grid operator. Those payments are subsidized by Texas ratepayers. Responding to questions from The Times, a Bitdeer representative said the company was previously unaware of Ms. Wu’s family connection to the Chinese government. “Any indication that we are influenced by or connected to the Chinese government is false and wrong,” the representative said in an email. Serena Shie, the daughter of Ms. Wu and Mr. Shie, said she served as an officer at Blue Safari and had used an inactive business owned by her mother to help set up acquisition companies. In an interview, she said that her parents were not engaged in the Bitcoin deal, and that she was “not even sure” they knew about it. “I don’t get involved in anything political,” she said.

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