Hydro-Québec will not participate in bitcoin heaven

The candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), Pierre Poilievre, dreams of creating here the capital of bitcoins and cryptocurrency. But his great ambitions risk hitting a wall in Quebec.

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This is one of the most important axes of his campaign. Recently, he was seen paying for a shawarma with bitcoins, before sitting down and smoking shisha.

In recent weeks, Mr. Poilievre has also been an advocate of cryptocurrency, a way he believes to circumvent the galloping inflation in the country.

“I want to take control of money away from politicians and bankers and give it back to the people,” he said. He also wants to facilitate the establishment in Canada of cryptocurrency mining companies.

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre.

File photo, CPAC

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre.

But this operation is extremely energy-intensive and the industry must imperatively obtain a preferential rate to operate. Mr. Poilievre will therefore have to have discussions with players like Hydro-Quebec to put his plan into action.

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Hydro doesn’t want it anymore

But the project may not find takers in Quebec. The crown corporation has no appetite for this industry.

“We are really not in a logic of attracting cryptocurrency players,” said the spokesperson for the state corporation, Cendrix Bouchard, during an interview with The newspaper.

Currently, Hydro supplies electricity to 80 mining companies for a total of 98 MW, which represents the consumption of 7000 residences. If the number of projects still seems limited, it is because Hydro-Québec has dampened the enthusiasm of the industry.

In just three months, between December 2017 and February 2018, no less than 300 projects had been received at Hydro for a total of 18,000 MW, which represents more than half of the power of the state company.

To manage the pressure of demand, the Régie de l’énergie ruled on a block of 300 MW for players in this industry. So far, 22 MW have been allocated. “Our approach is cautious, it was the right one to have, because we sensed great volatility in this industry,” said Mr. Bouchard.

Charest critical of crypto

The boss of Hydro-Québec would even like to abandon the block that remains to be allocated. “We, what we say, is that this block, we should erase it, we should no longer welcome this type of consumption there”, underlined Sophie Brochu during an interview with host Bernard Drainville.

For his part, the main opponent of Mr. Poilievre, the former Premier of Quebec Jean Charest, is far from seeing cryptocurrency as a panacea.

“Cryptocurrency is good, but let’s not pretend it’s a magic solution to inflation. Its huge price fluctuations make it a risky asset and investors should be aware of this,” Mr. Charest’s team wrote in an email sent to the Newspaper.

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