Chinese giant Bitmain has become one step closer to the opening of mining farms in the state of Washington.
The Walla Walla District Economic Development Agency unanimously approved the option of leasing and subsequent repurchase of a land plot that will enable Bitmain to build a new facility for the production of crypto-currency.
Bitmain’s subsidiary Ant Creek received permission to rent 10 acres of land with the option of a buyout in a year. It should be noted that in the original version of the contract it was about 30 acres, but this clause of the agreement was changed. The authorities considered the company to provide 24 jobs to local residents with an insufficient reason to allocate a plot of this size.
Ant Creek agreed with the new conditions, according to the local newspaper The Union Bulletin. The rent for a 10-acre plot is approximately $4,700 per month.
At the moment Bitmain does not publicly recognize its subsidiary company, but information about the registration of Ant Creek is freely available. Bitmain CEO Cihan Wu is listed in the documents as the sole manager of Ant Creek.
According to The Union Bulletin, Jeff Sterns, the company’s director, described Ant Creek as a blocking company focused on the development of artificial intelligence during a local government meeting.
Residents of the Walla Walla district expressed concern about the amount of energy that the new mining center will consume. The territory of Walla Walla is chosen by Bitmain not by chance – in the district one of the cheapest electricity tariffs in North America.
“They consume electricity and fill the pockets of the owner, but do not invest at the same time” – commented on the situation, a local resident Robb Lincoln
The hearings were reportedly held in a very tense situation, and one resident was even kicked out of the meeting hall. One of the speakers on behalf of local residents brought down their criticism of crypto-currencies in general:
“They are not used in legitimate business,” explained Peder Fretheim to the port commissioners. “They are used for two things: hidden from the law of transactions and speculation.”
Mining companies are rushing to occupy territories in regions with surplus energy and inexpensive tariffs, but they are increasingly met by resistance from local residents.
In another county in Washington, officials imposed a moratorium on commercial mining operations until the city authorities considered the laws on zoning and land use, as well as regulation by the municipal electricity department. Mason County officials followed the example of the neighbors and temporarily frozen the production of crypto-currency to study the impact of the already started mining farms on the local power grid.
For similar reasons, the government of the Canadian province of Quebec ordered the Hydro-Quebec utility to cease consideration of applications for services from mining companies due to overwhelming demand.