Digital Wildcatters are popping up all over Texas.

A first-of-its-kind event hosted in the energy capital of the world, some 1,500 attendees took to downtown Houston for Empower: Energizing Bitcoin's conversations and panels on the future of energy and Bitcoin.

Here are 5 things you missed.

Giga Energy tour

Giga (Chad) Matt Lohstroh explaining machine re-manufacture.

Giga Energy, a natural gas Bitcoin mining operation out of East Texas, sponsored a trip to their re-manufacturing center. Giga showed how they source, strip and re-build natural gas engines to pair with mining containers.

The engines – often used at hospitals or nursing homes as back up generators – run at up to 750 kilowatts, enough to power dozens to hundreds of miners in the most remote of locations.

HODL'ing Bitcoin on the balance sheet

Unchained Capital’s Parker Lewis, Marathon Digital’s Fred Thiel, and Gilded’s Raina Casbon-Celts made the case for holding Bitcoin on your balance sheet.

Parker Lewis spoke from a collaborative custody business perspective, arguing for the use of "Bitcoin as working capital.”

Theil, CEO of Marathon Digital which hodls some 8,000 BTC, said that Marathon’s “goal is [to] generate enough yield that it will [cover] all operating expenses.” Marathon also keeps as little debt as possible on their balance sheet.

“If you are overextended on debt, you are giving up optionality,” Theil said.

JA Energy - Documentary Premiere

Compass took to the stage with stranded gas Bitcoin mining firm JAI Energy to debut a documentary about Wyoming and Bitcoin mining.

Deep Dive Into Mining Pools

Luxor Technologies' Ethan Vera, Slushpool’s Ed Evenson and Rhodium’s Marshall Long took the stage to talk about the importance of mining pools within the Bitcoin ecosystem.

For miners – particularly smaller operations like oil and gas Bitcoin miners – pools can act as a vehicle for financializing hashrate. Vera and Evenson discussed how miners can take advantage of hashrate derivatives to smooth mining revenue curves by stomping out periods of uncertainty. While pools do not yet offer such services, the financialization of pools is bound to occur, they said.

Senator Ted Cruz

Texas Senator Ted Cruz capped the event, speaking on the importance of energy production in Texas and its relation to Bitcoin mining. Cruz emphasized the relevance of Bitcoin mining on three fronts:

  1. Bitcoin monetizes wasted natural gas by pointing energy at bitcoin mines to create cash flows.
  2. It provides an incentive for stranded renewables.
  3. Bitcoin strengthens grid resiliency by creating a reservoir of excess energy (also known as load balancing).

Photo by Adrian N on Unsplash