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Bitcoin cryptocurrency mining facility debuts in West Texas

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DICKENS COUNTY — Nestled just a few miles north of the city of Dickens down a gravel county highway is a 125,000 square-foot warehouse filled with high-tech supercomputing gear that appeared to pop up almost overnight.

In 2019, Dickens County Decide Kevin Brendle obtained a random e-mail that ultimately led to this new datacenter breaking floor about eight months in the past. Now, the ability is churning out Bitcoin within the Gateway to the Rolling Plains.

The ability is Argo Blockchain’s new flagship cryptocurrency mining middle, dubbed “Helios,” which opened to a lot fanfare Thursday morning on the website between Afton and McAdoo.

Take a tour of the brand new middle: A look at Dickens County’s new crypto mining center

The festivities at Thursday’s grand opening included remarks from elected officers and firm executives, guided excursions, a catered meal and dwell music. U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Amarillo, and Lubbock Republicans state Rep. Dustin Burrows and state Sen. Charles Perry had been all readily available to congratulate the corporate and group on the achievement.

Argo is predicated in the UK and maintains workplaces in Quebec, Canada and Houston, however CEO Peter Wall says “It’s form of based mostly right here now. We’ve extra individuals employed in Dickens County than every other place. That is our flagship mining facility. This can be a big, big place for us.”

Wall says the datacenter will probably be able to mining round 25 Bitcoin per day, or about 5 instances the corporate’s present output. Based mostly on Saturday’s Bitcoin worth, that may imply the Dickens facility might generate about $900,000 in income per day for Argo, although Bitcoin values fluctuate wildly.

Photographs: Argo Blockchain cryptocurrency opens flagship in Dickens County

Mining, Wall says, is mainly the method of receiving new Bitcoin in as a reward for verifying different Bitcoin transactions via advanced mathematical computations on a pc community.

“In our present monetary system, if I’m going to ship you some cash from one place to a different, you employ a financial institution, and the financial institution is the trusted third occasion,” Wall mentioned. “Within the Bitcoin community, you employ a community of decentralized computer systems which might be unfold out all over the world. We’re a part of that community.”

Why West Texas?

Argo selected Dickens County to construct its 200-megawatt facility due to the considerable provide of low cost wind vitality, Wall mentioned, which is essential due to the corporate’s deal with sustainability as they plan to quadruple the output of the Dickens facility within the close to future.

“The principle factor that you must be a Bitcoin miner is energy, and what there’s a lot of in West Texas is energy, notably wind energy,” Wall mentioned, noting that energy in Dickens County prices lower than half of what it does on the firm’s facility in Quebec.

The county’s individuals additionally drew them in.

“Individuals in Dickens County are actually proficient and hard-working,” Wall mentioned. “We’ve bought 26 individuals employed now in Dickens County and 45 within the area. We’re now the biggest employer within the county, apart from the college techniques.”

County Decide Kevin Brendle — who jokingly referred to himself as “Bitcoin Brendle” — mentioned that Argo’s use of energy and folks is helpful not simply to the county, however to the group as effectively.

“What Argo brings to Dickens County is a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in infrastructure, which can equate to hundreds of thousands of {dollars} of tax income over the subsequent 5 years that may go into our college techniques and our county budgets,” Brendle mentioned. “It would deliver individuals in to work who will spend their cash right here, and in some unspecified time in the future in time, we hope to broaden our housing so we are able to deliver extra individuals right here, as a result of what they’re doing right here, this facility, is simply step one.”

“The affect to our group is healthier jobs with advantages, insurance coverage, retirement, trip. It will likely be a tax boon for our college districts and the county,” he added.

As well as, Brendle says that computing services like Argo’s might assist to stabilize the ERCOT grid by utilizing up present extra energy and shutting down when requested by the grid operator.

“The vitality they’re pulling is known as ‘extra vitality’. They’re not drawing on vitality that every other companies or properties are using. The substation has a congestion of vitality. There’s extra coming in than there’s an offload, so the corporate is ready to promote that extra vitality actually low cost to firms like Argo,” Brendle mentioned. “However, when the time comes that the ERCOT system wants it, they’ll ship it again onto the grid.”

A number of of the elected officers who spoke throughout Thursday’s ceremonies referred to the Argo Helios facility as “the tip of the iceberg,” and Brendle concurs with that evaluation.

“I get calls from Bitcoin miners each week that need to transfer in right here,” Brendle mentioned. “We’re not recruiting them. The recruitment was accomplished when the renewable vitality got here. They’re coming. They’re coming.”

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