Microsoft Report Raises Alarm Over Chinese Bitcoin Mining Facility in Wyoming


A Bitcoin mining facility owned by China in Cheyenne, Wyoming, has come under scrutiny as it raises concerns related to national security. This facility's operations have sparked worries about potential threats to critical military infrastructure in the United States.

The Microsoft Report 

The New York Times reported on October 13 that the Bitcoin mining facility in question has drawn the attention of U.S. officials. It is suspected that this mining facility could offer an opportunity for the Chinese government to engage in "comprehensive intelligence-gathering operations," which has understandably alarmed U.S. authorities. These concerns were brought to the forefront when a Microsoft team presented a report to the Foreign Investment Committee in August 2022.

Microsoft's team expressed unease about the facility's potential to extract sensitive information from the data center in Cheyenne, a data center that plays a vital role in supporting the operational needs of the Pentagon. Microsoft provided the following insights:

"While Microsoft does not possess direct evidence of malicious activities linked to this mining facility, the potential threat vectors presented by an industrial-scale cryptocurrency mining operation located in close proximity to Microsoft's Data Center and one of the three strategic missile bases in the U.S. cannot be dismissed. The operation also employs an undisclosed number of Chinese citizens."

The Sources of Concern 

U.S. officials have raised concerns that the Chinese-owned Bitcoin mining facility could be leveraged to deliberately disrupt power grids, instigate planned outages, or execute other cyberattacks. Such concerns have only heightened suspicions that the Chinese government may have an eye on undermining U.S. military operations.

The Wyoming-based mining facility has attracted attention due to its close proximity to the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, home to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). Intriguingly, the mining operations are associated with five companies, one of which, Bit Origin, was previously registered as a pork processing company in the Cayman Islands.

In response to these allegations, Bit Origin's president, Li Jiaming, refuted claims that the mining facility was established for intelligence-gathering purposes. He noted that his involvement was a result of collaboration between a local public utility company and the mining operation. Jiaming emphasized, "Even though we are neighbors with Microsoft and a few miles away from a U.S. base, nothing can be done without electricity."

These recent concerns come on the heels of a previous report that highlighted the discovery of Chinese malicious software capable of disrupting electricity, water, and communication systems at military bases, further intensifying fears of potential national security threats. These developments follow China's ban on all applications related to energy-intensive Bitcoin mining and similar cryptocurrencies in 2021, a move that led many crypto companies to relocate to other countries, including the United States.

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