Inside One of the World’s Most Powerful Bitcoin Mines
One of the stumbling blocks to profitable mining is getting the massive scale needed for economy, whilst also making sure hardware is efficient as possible, keeping power bills low enough to make it worthwhile. Kncminer is using natural resources to power its massive farms of machines, including its cloud mining services. The name of its cloud mine, Clear Sky, refers to the fact that the doors are always open – literally!
The Node Pole
KnCMiner has its own processing facility located in Boden, northern Sweden where it runs its Clear Sky farms. The property used to be a military base for air transport, and the vast indoor hangars makes an ideal home for tens of thousands of bitcoin mining machines, clustered into huge racks. The site is based in the Node Pole region, a network of data centres available for rent close to the polar region.
Tech companies are increasingly placing their facilities in cold climates to drive down the cost of cooling the hardware. Google famously took over a paper mill in Hamina, Finland and converted it into a data centre. It says that it has invested €350 million in the plant so far. Facebook is investing in a data centre in Lulea, facilitated by the Node Pole.
Likewise, the Node Pole facility is set up close to the Arctic Circle, where temperatures can drop below -50 degrees Celsius, and rarely climb over 10 degrees. The Node Pole sites have not reached 30 degree temperatures for more than 40 years. Opening the hangar doors lets cold air circulate freely among the racks, doing away with the need for air conditioning and helping the machines hash faster.
Powering The Farms
Being in the Arctic is not just about low temperatures. Hydropower is also essential to reduce energy and cut costs, and the location of their facility – close to a hydropower plant – is a clear sign of intent. KnCMiner’s building uses energy generated entirely from streams and rivers, and this system provides 45 megawatts, soon to be increased to 165MW with addition of a second energy source.
All good data centres have multiple layers of security and KnCMiner’s is no different: it’s guarded and monitored round the clock to ensure that those huge, open doors don’t let in any unwanted visitors. The perimeter is locked down with huge metal fences and barbed wire, and inside, guards keep a close eye on the farms. KnC Miner says that the building is located close to the neighbourhood police station for a little extra peace of mind
In the future, KnC says it will process payments and run new applications based on blockchain processing, and it will increase speed even further when it deploys its new 16nm “Solar” technology early in 2015.