New York – Where Bitcoin Miners Never Sleep
Often, New York is known for being a rather expensive place. The real estate alone attracts only the rich and famous, while a bowl of soup in an upscale Manhattan restaurant is likely to cost $100 or more. New York may be pricier than other places, but its upstate region appears to offer some relatively cheap energy, which makes it a prime location for anyone looking to extract new cryptocurrency units.
The Finger Lake Region is home to what’s known as Greenidge Generation, a former coal-based power plant that was transformed into a natural gas facility in the year 2017 thanks to a company called Atlas Holdings. Since 2011, Greenidge had suffered due to cheap coal imports that were coming in from China, but with its conversion to natural gas, things appear to be traveling a different road.
In 2018, the CEO of Atlas Dale Irwin decided that the facility would become a bitcoin mining firm. This idea was seconded by the company’s CFO Tim Rainey, who explained in a recent interview:
Cryptocurrency mining was an idea that evolved following discussions with our board and leadership team as we explored the best way to utilize the unique assets we have at the facility. Our board approved a plan to pursue bitcoin mining.
Irwin says that the operation began on a relatively small scale. By the time 2020 came about, the company had transformed into something that neither he nor anyone on his team could have predicted. He states:
We started with a couple of S9s and some GPU rigs in early 2018 to familiarize ourselves with the economics of the machines and learn how to operate and run them. We turned that into a small test pilot of several hundred machines from many different manufacturers in May of 2019. After completion and analysis of the test pilot, we built the current data center within four months, starting our larger-scale mining operations in January of 2020.
At the time of writing, Greenidge is utilizing roughly 20 megawatts of power to mine new units of digital currency. This makes them the largest energy firm throughout the United States. However, it’s still relatively small when compared with the likes of firms in other nations, such as the U.K. and China.
Increasing Power, Increasing Money
Greenidge states that it would like to increase its energy production to roughly 104 megawatts by the end of next year, which it feels would give it a competitive edge over international operations. Rainey says that the company’s revenue has only increased since it began its bitcoin mining plans, claiming:
Without the mining operation, we would not be running most of the time, but if we ran around the clock, year-round, we would generate revenues of about $20 MWh.