Biden Blocks Chinese Crypto Mining Firm Near Wyoming Nuclear Base

President Joe Biden blocked a Chinese-backed cryptocurrency mining firm from owning land near a Wyoming air force base, citing national security risks. The firm, MineOne Partners Ltd., must divest the property and remove equipment within 90 days.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Biden Blocks Chinese Crypto Mining Firm Near Wyoming Nuclear Base

Biden Blocks Chinese Crypto Mining Firm Near Wyoming Nuclear Base

President Joe Biden issued an order on Monday blocking a Chinese-backed cryptocurrency mining firm, MineOne Partners Ltd., from owning land near the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. The decision, made in coordination with the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), cited national security risks due to the proximity of the land to the nuclear missile base.

Why this matters: This move highlights the growing concern about foreign investment in sensitive areas, particularly those related to national security, and sets a precedent for stricter scrutiny of such deals in the future. As the US-China rivalry intensifies, this decision may have far-reaching implications for international relations and the flow of foreign investment into theUS.

The order forces the divestment of the property, which is operated as a crypto mining facility, and requires the removal of certain equipment on the site within 90 days. MineOne, a firm partly backed by Chinese nationals, purchased the land in 2022 but failed to report the transaction to CFIUS until after a public tip was received.

The Treasury Department stated that the facility presented a "significant national security risk" due to the presence of "specialized and foreign-sourced equipment potentially capable of facilitating surveillance and espionage activities." Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen emphasized the role of CFIUS in ensuring that foreign investment does not undermine national security, particularly in transactions involving sensitive U.S. military installations and specialized equipment.

"The role of the committee is to ensure that foreign investment does not undermine our national security, particularly as it relates to transactions that present risk to sensitive U.S. military installations as well as those involving specialized equipment and technologies," Yellen stated.

The Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, is a key strategic asset housing part of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and intercontinental ballistic missiles. A 2018 law granted CFIUS the authority to review real estate transactions near sensitive sites across the country, including this base.

The move comes as the U.S. is set to issue new tariffs on electric vehicles, semiconductors, solar equipment, and medical supplies imported from China. Both President Biden and his presumptive Republican challenger, former President Donald Trump, have emphasized their commitment to being tough on China, the world's second-largest economy and an emerging geopolitical rival.

The Biden administration's order blocking MineOne Partners Ltd. from owning land near the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base highlights the critical role of CFIUS in safeguarding U.S. national security interests. As the U.S.-China rivalry intensifies, the scrutiny of foreign investments, particularly those involving sensitive military installations and advanced technologies, is expected to remain a top priority.

Key Takeaways

  • President Biden blocks Chinese-backed crypto mining firm from owning land near Wyoming missile base.
  • Decision cites national security risks due to proximity to nuclear missile base.
  • Firm must divest property and remove equipment within 90 days.
  • Move sets precedent for stricter scrutiny of foreign investments in sensitive areas.
  • CFIUS plays critical role in safeguarding US national security interests.