US bans Chinese crypto miners from nuclear base area

US bans Chinese crypto miners from nuclear base area

US President Joe Biden has ordered Chinese-owned cryptocurrency miners and their partners to sell land they own near US nuclear missile bases, citing espionage concerns.

MineOne Partners, which the White House says is majority-owned by Chinese nationals, has been given 120 days to sell the property, where it runs a crypto-mining operation.

The land is less than a mile (1.6km) from an air force base in Wyoming, where intercontinental ballistic missiles are kept.

BBC News has contacted MineOne Partners and the Chinese embassy in the US for comment.

“The proximity of foreign-owned Real Estate to strategic missile bases… and the presence of specialized equipment and foreign resources that have the potential to facilitate surveillance and espionage activities, present a national security risk,” the White House said in a statement.

Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming is home to the Minuteman III nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile.

MineOne bought land near a military base in 2022 and then installed cryptocurrency mining equipment.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), a powerful body that scrutinizes bids for national security threats, was not informed of the purchase by the company, the White House said.

The authorities were informed about the transaction after information from the public.

An interagency panel, led by the US Treasury Department, determined that the purchase had national security implications.

President Biden’s decision to force MineOne to sell the land “highlights the critical gatekeeping role that CFIUS serves to ensure that foreign investment does not jeopardize our national security,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

There is growing concern among US lawmakers about Chinese purchases of real estate near sensitive military facilities.

The latest announcement from the White House comes just a day before the Biden administration prepares to sharply raise tariffs on some Chinese imports, including electric vehicles.

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