Utah-based Power Block Coin, LLC, intends to invest $251 million (approx. £180 million) in an industrial park located near Butte, Montana.
Formerly one of the major international centres for copper mining, Butte may become home to a new kind of mining – cryptocurrency.
The company intends to add 135MW of power to the campus, putting approximately $60 million toward building units that would then consume that power, selling capacity to miners of cryptocurrencies.
The structure of the units has not yet been determined and could vary from larger warehouse buildings to small shipping containers.
$8 to $10 million of the investment will be used to improve energy infrastructure, including building a new electric substation at the Montana Connections industrial park to enable the power consumption required for cryptocurrency mining.
Cryptocurrency mining requires an extraordinary amount of power, with some estimates equating the annual power consumption of Bitcoin miners with the annual power consumption of the entire country of Ireland. Serious miners are on the lookout for inexpensive power contracts to cut production costs, which is where data centre providers like Power Block Coin come in.
Power Block Coin intends to break ground on the new facility this summer, with the first data centre operational within 30-60 days. The company is expected to hire up to 15 new employees by the end of 2018 and create 50 new jobs once it is fully functional.
While the Council of Commissioners for Silver Bow County voted unanimously to approve the project, local citizens expressed concerns that the company would go out of business, leaving the county responsible for unnecessary infrastructure. Additionally, there has recently been a public outcry over excessive noise created by a similar bitcoin server farm located in Bonner, MT, just a few hours away.
Power Block Coin is a subsidiary of Blue Castle Holdings, an energy company currently involved in building a two-unit nuclear power plant near Green River, Utah. Power Block is a provider of energy solutions for miners of cryptocurrency, offering small organizations of less than 100 servers energy at $0.05 per KwH, in five to ten-year contracts. While it does not appear that power is available at this time, the company projects that it will offer 500MWe by the end of this year, and increase to 750-1000 MWe in 2019, doubling to 2,000 by 2021.