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Utilities strained as blockchain's energy appetite continues to grow

workers and servers at a bitcoin mining facility
Two technicians inspect bitcon mining servers at Bitfarms Quebec, Canada. Photo: Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images

Canada's largest utility, Hydro Quebec, says it is facing "unprecedented" demand from cryptocurrency mining, and has temporarily blocked servicing much of this demand until it finds a sustainable rate structure for blockchain-related processing.

Why it matters: Despite a precipitous drop in the value of many cryptocurrencies this year, the energy demands of the architecture behind such cryptocurrencies — blockchain and distributed ledger technologies — continue to grow. It is presenting challenges, but also opportunities, particularly for utilities in developed countries that are desperately searching for new sources of demand growth.