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Bitcoin farm in Houston one step closer to reality

It’s still unclear how many jobs would be created
A cryptocurrency facility proposed by Miningsky Technology Ltd. would be located at the former site of Houston Forest Products on Morice River Road. District of Houston image

Houston is one step closer to being home to a new mine that would generate cryptocurrency using shipping containers filled with computers.

READ MORE: Houston may host bitcoin farm

Houston council has recently issued a development variance permit to allow Miningsky Technology Ltd. to use up to 10 shipping containers as “accessory buildings for storage.”

The current bylaws only allow two shipping containers to be used for this purpose.

Miningsky applied for the permit in late March to locate as many as 10 shipping containers on a parcel located at 1300 Morice River Road - the former site of Houston Forest Products, which shut its doors in 2014. The area is zoned as heavy industrial land.

Since then, the District of Houston has notified owners and tenants of lands within 100 metres of the parcel boundaries that a permit may be issued. No comments were received from the public by the time council resolved to issue the permit, according to a district staff report.

A land use application obtained by Houston Today states that employees would be present to monitor and maintain operation the facility, which would consume 10 megawatts of power.

However, it’s still unclear how many jobs will be created.

“I think that it is unfair to promise numerous jobs until we are further along; we are still very much in the planning stage at this point,” said Scott Young, managing director of Green Valley Mine Incorporated - a company that has recently announced a share exchange agreement involving Miningsky.

“We have hired some local labour, only on a needs basis so far,” added Young. “I don’t know how many [jobs will be created] in the future… it depends on our client base.”

According to the land use application, Miningsky considers shipping containers a good alternative to ordinary buildings.

“It is quicker to use sea cans [containers], rather than to build buildings,” the application states. “We would like to increase our sea can amount from two to 10 within six months.”

Cryptocurrency — digital money that can be exchanged for goods and services online or for hard cash, but isn’t linked to any physical resource or central authority — has risen dramatically in popularity over the past few years.

“At the moment there are many coins and currency in the market place,” said Young. “No doubt some consolidation will take place and mining technology will advance; however, we do feel this is the future of world currency.”

Bitcoin — the most well-known form of cryptocurrency — was created in 2009 and currently trades at more than US$8300 per unit, down from a peak of more than US$20,000 in December 2017.

With offices in Vancouver and Los Angeles, Miningsky describes itself as offering “a full-service solution” to cryptocurrency mining. The company, which was formed in November 2017, sells “mining rigs” — computer systems meant for mining bitcoins — and it provides services that include mining farm construction and miner hosting.

- With files from

David Gordon Koch