Oil Land Buyer LandBridge Targets Crypto Miners as New Revenue Stream

LandBridge plans to court the crypto mining industry to take advantage of its extensive landholdings in Texas and New Mexico to generate more revenue.

LandBridge, a firm that buys land for oil and gas production, is diversifying into crypto mining by taking advantage of its extensive land holdings in Texas and New Mexico. LandBridge plans to attract crypto miners and data centers to use its infrastructure so it can generate revenue from surface use payments. Meanwhile, CleanSpark is expanding its Bitcoin mining operations by buying five new sites in Georgia, and T-Mobile Deutsche Telekom is entering Bitcoin mining. Concurrently, Nvidia has become the world's most valuable company, driven by the demand for its GPUs in AI and crypto mining.

LandBridge Eyes Crypto Mining Revenue

LandBridge, a U.S. firm that buys large pieces of land for oil and gas production, is diversifying its strategy a bit, and now plans to court crypto miners. This move coincides with the launch of its initial public offering (IPO) on Monday.

The company announced on Jun. 17 that it is offering 14.5 million shares, which it expects to be priced between $19 and $22, potentially valuing the firm at up to $1.6 billion. LandBridge plans to be listed on the NYSE under the ticker “LB.”

Regulatory filings reveal that LandBridge owns around 220,000 surface acres in the oil and natural gas-rich Delaware subbasin in the Permian Basin area of Texas and New Mexico. LandBridge indicated that its land could benefit more than just oil and gas producers, suggesting that crypto miners and data centers could also utilize its resources, including water, roads, fiber optic infrastructure, and power.

The firm expects to generate a lot of revenue from billing these entities. It has identified opportunities to receive surface use payments from cryptocurrency mining, data centers, power storage facilities, and commercial fueling stations. The company currently hosts one cryptocurrency facility on its land and reported $52.1 million in non-oil and gas-related royalty revenue in 2023, which is a 56% increase from the previous year.

LandBridge also clarified that it will not own or operate these projects nor incur large capital expenditures related to them. Instead, it expects to receive surface use fees and other payments for the use of its land, including fees for water supplied to crypto miners for cooling their rigs.

The company’s land is very strategically positioned to attract crypto miners who favor Texas for its more affordable power and favorable regulatory environment. However, Texas lawmakers are beginning to scrutinize the impact of power-hungry crypto miners and artificial intelligence data centers on the state’s power grid.

The head of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Pablo Vegas, has raised some concerns about the strain these industries place on the grid. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick also recently commented on social media that these industries produce very few jobs compared to the demands they place on the state’s power infrastructure.

CleanSpark Seals Deal for Five New Mining Sites

CleanSpark, an American Bitcoin mining company focused on clean energy, also recently announced that it will acquire five mining facilities in Georgia. The $25.8 million deal was announced on Jun. 18, and is expected to close immediately.

The five facilities are predicted to exceed 3.7 exahashes per second (EH/s) in processing power, with operational capacities ranging from 8 to 15 megawatts of power for a combined 60 MW. CleanSpark anticipates that its total hashrate will increase to over 20 EH/s by the end of June.

The newly acquired facilities include interruptible-load designated power purchase agreements to provide load-balancing services to the local electrical grid. CleanSpark CEO Zach Bradford emphasized the beneficial relationship between Bitcoin mining operators and regional energy infrastructure, noting that the sites enhance load balancing capabilities and help achieve the company's mid-year target of 20 EH/s operating hashrate.

The Bitcoin mining industry in the United States has gained a lot of attention after former President Donald Trump's declaration that Bitcoin should be “made in the USA” and his private meeting with industry leaders from Riot Platforms, CleanSpark, and TeraWulf. In a Jun. 12 social media post, Trump argued that Bitcoin might be America's “last line of defense” against a central bank digital currency (CBDC) and suggested that Bitcoin could help the U.S. achieve energy dominance.

Trump's comments drew mixed reactions from the crypto community. Some argue that Trump is pandering for votes, while others, like Shapeshift founder Erik Voorhees, see Trump’s comments as a very positive gesture.

After Trump's meeting where he pledged his support for the crypto industry, executives from Marathon Digital Holdings, CleanSpark, and Riot Platforms launched “The Bitcoin Voter Project.” This 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization is a non-partisan voter education initiative that is aimed at raising awareness about the digital asset market and blockchain industry without supporting any specific candidates or parties.

T-Mobile Deutsche Telekom to Begin Bitcoin Mining

Meanwhile, T-Mobile Deutsche Telekom announced its plans to start mining Bitcoin. The telecommunications firm has been operating a Bitcoin node since 2023 and is currently running Bitcoin Lightning Network nodes.

At BTC Prague, Dirk Röder, the head of Web3 infrastructure and solutions at Deutsche Telekom, mentioned the firm's upcoming engagement in "digital monetary photosynthesis," but he did not elaborate about any finer details.

Deutsche Telekom has been actively involved in Web3 as a Polygon validator since June of 2023. As one of 100 validators, the firm has provided staking and validation services on Polygon for over a year, supporting the platform’s proof-of-stake consensus mechanism.

Additionally, since February, Deutsche Telekom has been a validator on the Fetch.ai blockchain. This partnership helps support Fetch.ai’s AI-driven autonomous agents, which provide services in healthcare, automotive, supply chain management, and digital identities by managing resources, conducting transactions, and analyzing traffic flows.

Nvidia Becomes World's Most Valuable Company

Nvidia's GPUs provide the computational processing power and energy efficiency required to swiftly process transactions and solve cryptographic challenges in crypto mining operations. Nvidia has surpassed both Microsoft and Apple to become the world’s most valuable publicly listed company, with a market capitalization of around $3.34 trillion.

This places it slightly ahead of Microsoft’s $3.32 trillion and Apple’s $3.29 trillion valuations. Nvidia's shares are currently trading at around $135 following a 10-for-1 stock split earlier in June to make its stock more attractive for inclusion in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Nvidia share price (Source: Google)

Nvidia was founded in 1991 as a gaming company producing graphics cards for high-performance video games, but has shifted its focus to the technological foundations for artificial intelligence. The company saw a lot of interest and demand for its graphics processors during the GPU-mining era of cryptocurrencies, which began around 2010 and ended with the introduction of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for cryptocurrency mining.

Nvidia’s graphics processors have essentially become essential for industry giants like OpenAI, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft when it comes to developing their AI systems and infrastructure.

The company reported very strong Q1 results, netting $26 billion in revenues, with $22.6 billion coming from its data center revenue. This performance prompted Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang to announce that the company will release new AI chipsets annually. Previously, Nvidia released new high-end microprocessors every two years, with Ampere debuting in 2020, Hopper in 2022, and the Blackwell architecture in 2024.