Empower 2023 with Collin McLelland at Digital Wildcatters
Empower 2023 with Collin McLelland at Digital Wildcatters

Empower 2023 with Collin McLelland at Digital Wildcatters

by Gerrit van Sittert
07 Feb 2023

Empower 2023 with Collin McLelland at Digital Wildcatters

by Gerrit van Sittert
07 Feb 2023
Empower 2023 with Collin McLelland at Digital Wildcatters

The future of Bitcoin mining has been gravitating toward a hybrid model that embraces both renewable energy and oil and gas. Texas’ affordable power and mining-friendly legislation have made it one of the most mining-friendly states, and home to a thriving Bitcoin mining community.

Known as the energy capital of the world, the capacity for both oil and gas and renewable energy in Houston is massive, and the Bitcoin mining potential in the area is limitless. From March 7-9, Houston will be home to the 2023 edition of Empower, an event hosting extensive opportunities for energy professionals, entrepreneurs, tradesfolk, and newbies to come together and shape the future of Bitcoin mining and energy production.

Empower 2023 is presented by Digital Wildcatters —a platform and community built around innovative energy technology in Texas and beyond. Co-founder and CEO of Digital Wildcatters, Collin McLelland, recently met with the Asic Jungle team to discuss Empower 2023. McLelland shone a light on the event, offering a vision for energy solutions related to Bitcoin mining. Here is an overview of Empower 2023.

What is Empower 2023?

Empower is the only major Bitcoin mining event that has its focus directly on energy itself. Texas is already home to many of the largest mining operations across North America. Given that Houston prides itself on being a global energy leader, it’s little surprise that a vibrant community of energy innovators has formed in and around the city.

According to McLelland, Empower events “bring the market into one place for miners and energy producers.” The first Empower event in 2022 hosted more than 1200 attendees, with plans for future growth. McLelland says the Bitcoin community is collaborative by nature, “which is a stark contrast from the energy community to date.”

McLelland noticed that engagement with the Bitcoin landscape has been opening up the energy industry, paving the way for a collaborative future. In McLelland’s view, the Bitcoin mining industry is pushing renewable energy forward, benefitting both industries.

One effective way to stay abreast of developments in the Bitcoin mining landscape is through Asic Magazine, which offers insights into developments affecting the future of the industry.

Creating “an energy conference that doesn’t suck”

As someone with experience attending oil and gas trade events, McLelland knows all about how conventional industry events can be hierarchical and boring, with lots of friction preventing meaningful engagement among attendees. As McLelland puts it, Empower is about designing “an energy conference that doesn’t suck.”

“We wanted to create a dynamic space for events, conversation, and meaningful connections. We wanted to create quality branding, messaging, atmosphere, and venue.” —Collin McLelland

According to him, the seeds for the first Empower event were planted in 2017 when ideas emerged for using excess energy from gas flaring to mine bitcoin. Then, in 2020, the price of oil went to negative USD $37 per barrel, “wrecking” oil and gas energy, and opening the door to Bitcoin monetization. In 2021, there was a “massive need” to connect energy producers and miners, which was catalyzed by the mass exodus of miners from China that year.

Touring energy conferences over the years revealed to Collin a lack of focus on miners—”we saw an opportunity in the market”. Thus, the idea for Empower 2022 was born with the aim to bring together miners and energy producers. Empower 2022, despite severe weather, turned out to be hit with 85 speakers across three stages; oft reported to have been a “high signal” event.

New developments for Empower 2023

That being said, last year’s event sparked ideas for improving what Empower 2023 will offer. Empower 2023 will have fewer stages, should see a 15-20% growth in attendance, and more thought is being put into featured content. McLelland often spoke about bringing all the “energy verticals” together, implying that, “We want to bring a pro-energy mindset. We want to bring everyone together.” He divulged how Empower 2023 will feature a primer content track for newcomers, while also providing “actionable insights” for miners and energy producers.

Empower 2023 attendees can expect to see topics on mining repair, energy markets, power purchasing agreements, oil and gas asset lease structuring, and power generation, more generally. McLelland added, ”We want to ‘empower’ the bitcoin mining community.”

A setting for fun, ideas, and employment

Empower will be a site for important conversations with weighty implications, but it’s also certain to be the setting for plain old fun. Located at the 713 Music Hall in Downtown Houston, the event will feature free beer, networking parties, and live music. After all, it’s often when people let their guard down and relax that ideas are free to flow.

For tradesfolk, Empower 2023 sees an opportunity to “upscale people”. The growth of this industry means a growing talent gap needs to be filled by tradespeople who can help build out this infrastructure. “Become Bitcoin certified, build your career, and bring in the young folk”, says McLelland.

The importance of in-person community engagement

There will be a number of qualified speakers offering their perspectives to attendees. The 2022 edition saw the presence of prominent political voices capable of shaping the discussion around the future of Bitcoin mining, including Senator Ted Cruz, who shared an enlightening talk.

McLelland says the oil and gas landscape can be susceptible to grifters and scammers, making real, in-person connections invaluable. “During a time when so much work and networking is being done remotely, physical presence is important,” he says.

About Digital Wildcatters

Digital Wildcatters is a multimedia platform that facilitates conversations to help usher in a more efficient future for the oil and gas energy sectors. The platform emerged in March 2020 with a mission to work on disrupting the status quo in oil and gas technology.

Fittingly, the name Digital Wildcatters references Texas’ legacy in oil and gas. The term “wildcatter” refers to those involved in drilling exploratory wells in areas not known to be existing oil fields.

Collin McLelland developed experience working directly in oil and gas, and has first-hand knowledge about how the industry needs to adapt to survive and thrive in the future. Digital Wildcatters has emerged as a go-to platform for those engaged in energy solutions for Bitcoin mining. Collin also co-hosts the podcast, Oil and Gas Startups, with fellow Digital Wildcatters CoFounder, Jake Corley, who also co-hosts another energy podcast, Energizing Bitcoin, with Justin Ballard.

ASIC Jungle and the future of Bitcoin mining

Asic Jungle —a leading provider of Bitcoin mining hardware—sponsored the 2022 edition of Empower, and will feature in this year’s event as well. By offering customizable solutions in response to the unique needs of clients, Asic Jungle is promoting growth in the ecosystem.

To reserve your spot at what promises to be one of the year’s most important events in the Bitcoin mining landscape, click here.