Bitcoin could be impacted by an election for perhaps the first time ever today as Québec voters will go to the polls in the French-Canadian province's parliamentary elections. The general elections are the province's first since the tensions arose earlier this year over how the electricity should best be allocated for bitcoin mining. The government pointed to grid the capacity and economic development concerns to publicly justify its actions. The explanation didn’t resonate well among many in the local industry who saw the move as a political crackdown which has chased away investment and innovation. The CAQ has been the frontrunners for most of the past year which holds a small advantage in preliminary polling going into Monday's elections.
Québec is aattraction for cryptocurrency miners in late 2017 and early 2018 as the outlook in places like China became hazier. The province’s surplus of cheap hydroelectricity, cold weather and political stability, which is combined with its aggressive efforts to entice large electricity consumers, such as data centers, to invest locally made it an appealing destination for those looking to set up commercial bitcoin mining operations.
The Liberal government and Hydro-Québec have insisted that their motives for clamping down on the mining industry which primarily have been over capacity concerns - namely, that if it were to give a connection to every applicant, the province’s electricity surplus would be exhausted. The utility claimed to have received requests totaling 18,000MW worth of power, roughly 40 percent of its total capacity, from some 300 interested parties.
Québec's window of opportunity
It is to be a global blockchain hub potentially closing, locals in the crypto industry are now eyeing a CAQ victory in today’s contest as a catalyst to easing restrictions and springboarding further development of the local industry. While CAQ has not taken a stance on mining in its official platform and its leader François Legault brings a pro-business, pro-growth acumen to the political arena that the province has not seen in recent decades.