A Chinese crypto farm next to a nuclear missile base? Not on my watch, says Biden

White House contends MineOne's equipment could be used to for surveillance and espionage

If you're a majority Chinese-owned company looking for cheap real estate in the US, you might want to steer clear of American missile silos and military bases.

Cryptomining firm MineOne found this out the hard way after President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Monday forcing the blockchain biz to sell its facilities, located outside Cheyenne, Wyoming, within 120 days.

Why? The China-backed MineOne facility is located less than a mile from the Francis E. Warren Air Force base, where a not insignificant number of nuclear tipped Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles are housed. This, according to the White House, makes MineOne a national security risk.

"There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that MineOne Partners Limited, a British Virgin Islands company ultimate majority owned by Chinese nationals… through the acquisition of certain real estate that is located within 1 mile of Francis E. Warren Air Force base… might take action that impair the national security of the United States," the order reads.

MineOne acquired the property in 2022 with the goal of operating a crypto mining facility on the site, the order states. However, the sale wasn't registered with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) until after the government body received a tip from a member of the public about the facility.

The committee's subsequent investigation ultimately determined that at least some of the equipment housed at the datacenter is a security risk.

"The proximity of foreign-owned real estate to a strategic missile base and key element of America's Nuclear triad, and the presence of specialized and foreign sourced equipment, potentially capable of facilitating surveillance and espionage activities, presents a national security risk to the United States," the order reads.

Normally, the CFIUS would work with MineOne to negotiate a resolution to the national security concerns. But in this case it was determined that no such remedy would be adequate.

MineOne now has 120 days to sell the property and 90 days to remove the offending equipment, as well as halt any new construction and/or other improvements, barring any extensions granted by the CFIUS.

The executive order also placed limits on who MineOne could sell to, presumably in an attempt to prevent the datacenter from being transferred into another foreign firm. If MineOne fails to comply with the order, the White House has authorized the Attorney General to take any steps necessary to enforce it, which presumably includes seizing property and assets.

The Register has reached out to MineOne for comment; we'll let you know if we hear anything back. ®

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