MEDICINE HAT – The City of Medicine Hat has entered a 10 year agreement with a company that deals with cryptocurrency mining and blockchain infrastructure.
The deal which was announced during Monday night’s City Council meeting, will see Hut 8 Mining Corp invest $100 million in Medicine Hat.
Sean Clark, the CEO of Hut 8, said Medicine Hat will be company's development centre and data centre.
“The way that out data centres work is that we actually have 40 foot Sea Can containers and we will be putting 40 of them in the location
The city has agreed to sell 42 megawatts of electricity and lease 11 acres of land next to the new power plant in the Box Springs area.
Site construction is underway and is expected to be completed in September of 2018.
Mining for cryptocurrencies requires a lot of power, as specialized computers run algorithms 24 hours a day solving complex math problems to amass Bitcoin.
Clark said they chose Medicine Hat because the city provided a good deal on electricity. However, the details of the Electricity Supply Agreement will not be made public.
“What was appealing to us about Medicine Hat was the stable electricity,” said Clark. “We really have a long term vision, we want to invest in the community, we want to create jobs.”
It’s expected 100 jobs will be created during the peak of construction activity, which has already begun.
Another 42 direct operational jobs will be in place once the infrastructure is up and running. Those roles will will include electricians, general labourers, systems technicians and security staff.
Hut 8 also has a cryptocurrency mining facility in Drumheller. As of March 16, 2018, Hut 8 has mined 750 bitcoins through that facility. One Bitcoin is currently valued at $11,103.00 Canadian.
Mayor Ted Clugston said he’s excited to see some diversification in the industries looking to set up shop in Medicine Hat.
“It’s nothing against the oil and gas industry, but we’ve always been talking about diversification,” said Clugston. “I can’t imagine anything that’s much more diverse than [this company] and the cryptocurrency and the mining, as well as the blockchain technology.”
The City said this deal came together in just over four months.
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