Bitmain, the Beijing based cryptomining giant, has recently secured a lease for ten acres of land in Walla Walla, Washington with plans of building a cryptocurrency mining facility. This news might seem perfectly logical given the growing popularity of digital currencies and the incredible worldwide reach of the Bitmain organization. After all, they do already have international operations running in Israel, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The significance of this transaction, however, should not be ignored. After discovering that citizens were utilizing their residential power for mining cryptocurrencies and putting a tremendous load on power systems designed to service houses, condos, and apartment buildings, the nearby county of Chelan entirely banned the mining of digital coins within their borders.
The fact that the local government of Walla Walla has decided to more than just accept the mining of cryptocurrencies within their borders, but seemingly embrace a large scale industrial mining operation means one of two very positive things for the crypto community. Either governments are seeing the economic incentives associated with bringing this type of operation into their county or they are standing aside for what appears to be an inevitable transition in the economic world.
Why Walla Walla for Cryptomining?
The answer to this question is quite straightforward. It really just comes down to cost. The cost of leasing property in the county is incredibly inexpensive when compared to other locations in the country. According to reports, Bitmain will be paying under $5,000 per month for their lease of the land. Beyond the property, there is also the cost of electricity to consider. Walla Walla offers some of the lowest cost of electricity rates in the entire United States. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Industrial clients of the energy grid in Walla Walla pay just 6.42¢/kWh. That number is more than three percent below the national average for industrial energy costs in the United States.
What Does the Community Say?
It seems that not all of the residents of Walla Walla are keen on the idea of Bitmain setting up shop in their backyard. At a town hall meeting on the subject of leasing the land to the cryptomining goliath, several residents complained that the operation would simply pull energy from the grid and give nothing financially substantial in return. Others complained that the idea of supporting cryptocurrencies is not a positive move in general as they felt that these currencies were only good for either speculation or the hiding transaction activities.
While some of what the residents are saying has merit, at the very least, the building of the facility will create employment and, according to Bitmain, the facility will create somewhere between 25 to 35 full-time jobs for residents of the county.
Who is Bitmain?
Bitmain is arguably the largest business entity in the world of digital currencies right now. They operate mining facilities and are also the designers of the most popular mining ASIC chips on the market. There is no hard and fast number for how much the company is worth or how much they have made since they began operating in 2013, but some have reported that, last year alone, they recorded profits of four billion dollars.