Moscow-based En+ Group (LSE: ENPL | MCX: ENPG) announced a move into the digital currency mining space through a joint venture with mining farm operator BitRiver. The joint venture called Bit+ is a first for the London Stock Exchange-listed company, better known for being the world’s largest independent hydropower generator and aluminum producers. En+ holds an 80% stake in the new company, with BitRiver owning the remaining 20%.
BitRiver is the largest known hosting provider in Russia for block reward mining, hosting roughly 100 megawatts worth of clients’ ASICs mining machines. Under the new alliance, BitRiver will run and manage the facility’s operations near its sites in Russia’s Bratsk, a city in the Irkutsk region of the Russian Federation known for the vast Bratsk reservoir.
Mikhail Khardikov, Head of En+ Group’s Energy Business, stated: “We actively support the development of data centers in the Irkutsk Region.”
The two companies announced Bit +’s first phase of digital currency mining facility is already up and running with 10 megawatt-hours of capacity provided by En+. Bit+ does not engage in self-mining, offering hosting services for clients.
En+ Group has committed 10 megawatt-hours of electricity to the facility. Eventually, it aims to scale up the mining facility to 40 megawatt-hours. For context, a ten megawatt-hour hydropower plant can boost as much as 250 Peta-hashes per second (PH/s) of computing power if it’s fully used to support ASIC miners such as Bitmain‘s AntMiner S19 Pro.
Bit+ plans to complete the first phase by December with 14 “modules” up and running. Each module is a converted shipping container that can house up to 400 AntMiner S19 Pro hardware rigs.
In a statement, En+ Group offered more context regarding the choice of the Irkutsk region and its apparent viability for lower-carbon solutions to block reward mining:
“Our energy assets in the [Irkutsk] region produce low-carbon, inexpensive electricity from renewable sources, and we are able to offer surplus energy to these partnerships. Moreover, the low average annual temperature reduces the energy required by the datacentres, making them more efficient and further minimizing their carbon footprint.”
As for BitRiver, the partnership will help it grab an even more significant share of the mining farm market. Founder and CEO Igor Runets said the firm is, “Delighted to provide our extensive expertise in sustainable cryptocurrency mining. Together we decided to use a modular design for testing this new business model based on its efficiency in terms of organizing and managing the business.”
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