Chinese Cryptocurrency Giant Breaks Ground in Washington State for New Data Center

Bitmain Technologies held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a data center near the Wenatchee, Wash., airport

One of cryptocurrency’s most influential players has established itself in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. China-based Bitmain Technologies held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in November 2018 for a data center near the Wenatchee, Wash., airport. The facility is worth $20 million. Despite the prominent changes in the virtual currency industry, the ceremony was a celebration.

The New Bitmain Complex

bitman buildingThe new Washington state Bitmain location has six buildings that contain specialized computers. The computers earn virtual funds by maintaining the virtual ledger of transactions for bitcoin. Jeff Stearns, the Bitmain director of operations for North America, was unconcerned about the drop in value. Bitcoin is down more than 70 percent from December 2017.

Stearns says that Bitmain is “really focused on the long term” and he’d estimate “in this bear market situation, and I would call it that at this point in time, that really represents an opportunity for a company such as ourselves.”

Stearns was able to adjust for the grand opening. He worked around the increasing number of neighboring cities and utilities that have placed moratoriums on new cryptocurrency operations. The operations took up a considerable amount of energy, but Bitmain found a place in Washington’s Douglas County. The county has several data centers that are currently under construction. The centers are taking advantage of the area’s mild climate to keep the computer racks cooled. These emerging companies are also setting up shop in Douglas County. The companies can use hydropower to run them. This is an economically sound idea.

What Local Officials Are Saying

Lisa Parks, the Port of Douglas County executive director, even asserted that the data center for Bitmain was a “huge get” for the region. Parks stated in an interview that “anytime there is a new industry, it is going to be something that makes people uncomfortable … It is an industry that consumes a lot of power. From our perspective, though, we were looking at it as a way in which we can complement and advance our other industries in our community.”

Parks asserted her organization was “keen” for Wenatchee Valley residents to gain more expertise in underlying cryptocurrencies and database technology. This is also known as blockchain. Parks said, “if we’re uniquely situated to appeal to that industry, then that bodes well for us to be part of the foundation of the technology and not just a consumer of it.”

Evan Wendlandt is the Washington State Department of Commerce business development manager. He said the new Bitmain location is a “big win” for the region. Wendlandt referred to Bitmain as a “very powerful company” that will make the tech footprint of Washington more diversified.

The Future of Technology in Washington

The Future of Technology in WashingtonThose who attended the Bitmain ribbon-cutting ceremony could see there are other data centers that are currently under construction. The facilities should open soon. The Bitmain location is in the middle when it comes to size and uses 12 megawatts of energy.

Salcido Enterprises is also hoping to bring a 20-megawatt cryptocurrency mine to the area in 2019. The location will use about the same amount of energy as 9,000 homes in the area. The amount of energy for Salcido Enterprises will be enough to provide electrical power to every house in East Wenatchee. While this concerns some residents, many business people believe the trade-off will be beneficial. There are also data centers that are part of the Cloud computing sector that is on the rise in Washington. These centers will serve Yahoo! Japan and clients of Sabey Corporation, including VMWare, Costco, and T-Mobile.

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