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Biden Bans China-Backed Cryptocurrency Mining Company from Owning Land Near Missile Base in Wyoming

President Joe Biden recently issued an executive order preventing a Chinese-sponsored crypto-mining company from possessing land close to a nuclear missile facility in Wyoming. The order, aiming to safeguard national security, mandates the disposal of the property currently utilized as a cryptocurrency mining facility close to the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base.

MineOne Partners Ltd., partially supported by Chinese investors, along with its associates, must also dismantle specific equipment on the premises.

The order coincides with the U.S. administration’s plans to impose substantial tariffs on Chinese imports, including semiconductors, electric vehicles, medical supplies and solar products. Both Biden and his expected Republican opponent, former President Donald Trump, have pledged to take a firm stance against China, which is the second-biggest economy in the world and a rising global competitor to the United States.

The executive order, issued on May 13, 2024, was orchestrated in collaboration with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a relatively obscure yet influential governmental body tasked with scrutinizing corporate transactions for potential national security implications. Empowered to compel alterations in ownership structures or complete divestment from U.S. entities, CFIUS acquired expanded jurisdiction through a 2018 legislation enabling the review of real estate transactions near sensitive installations nationwide, such as the F.E. Warren Air Force Base.

MineOne acquired the land adjacent to the Cheyenne Air Force facility in 2022. However, according to the committee, the purchase wasn’t reported to the committee as mandated until after it received a public tip-off.

The order’s language regarding specific security concerns was ambiguous. The Treasury Department stated only that there were concerns regarding specialized equipment sourced from abroad, potentially capable of facilitating espionage and surveillance activities, posing significant national security risks.

Janet Yellen, treasury secretary and the committee’s head, emphasized the critical role that the committee plays in defending American national security against foreign investments, particularly those that put vital military sites at risk, as well as deals involving specialized technologies and machinery. CFIUS, which is comprised of officials from the departments of justice, commerce, state, and energy, among others, carries out exhaustive assessments to determine whether foreign investments in American businesses pose a threat to national security.

CFIUS has mandated the divestment of the property within 120 days, coupled with a directive for MineOne to dismantle all structures and equipment onsite within 90 days.

Other crypto companies such as Riot Blockchain Inc. (NASDAQ: RIOT) may understand how disruptive it can be to have to relocate mining equipment after it has been set up and started operating, but national security is supremely importat.

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