The New Mining Center – Oregon
Oregon’s cheap and reliable hydropower is becoming a new magnet for crypto miners in and around the United States. The biggest mining operation in Oregon called ‘Oregonmines’ is currently operating out of Dalles. “We may well become the center of crypto-mining in the world,” Portland General Electric (PGE) consultant, Robert MacCullough commented. He is not thrilled with this prospect as he believes mining is a waste of energy and computing power in solving non-consequential puzzles. Also, according to him, this added activity doesn’t come with employment opportunities either.
It’s the Future
The Oregonmines, operated by Terrence Thurber, has over 2,730 mining rigs in a windowless warehouse. He was attracted to the significantly cheaper hydropower from the Coulubia River hydropower system, which costs 2-4 cents per KWh. He believes that cryptocurrency mining will continue to be a beneficial endeavour. He asserts that digital currencies is that future, a bandwagon that no one should miss on. According to him “..it’s a ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ situation.” His take on cryptocurrencies is fairly idealistic, where digital currencies represent financial freedom.
New Money. New Economy.
Another miner, Jeffrey Henry, who was a Time Warner Cable engineer, operates a facility in Bend called Cascade Divide. He provides space for other miners in the warehouse. He says, he rents it both to traditional miners and government agencies. Interestingly, his warehouse is strengthened by 18-inch thick concrete walls to mitigate against earthquakes and tsunamis which can result in significant downtimes. He believes this as important because, in his own words, “Literally, the whole world outside could shut down, and we could keep running for four days like nothing happened — That’s what’s important for state and local governments and companies.”
The Bitter Pill
However, not everyone is thrilled with the prospect of miners flocking to Oregon. The PGE consultant believes these mines add little benefit to the economy, unlike traditional data centers like that of Google.
He further adds that the mining activity will grow as hydropower prices dip further, until the whole thing crashes. According to him, building ‘server farms’ uses that same equipment and electricity, but produces something of use to the society.