Bitcoin miner repurposes former sustainability-focused EU data center prototype

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Cryp­to min­er Hive Dig­i­tal Tech­nolo­gies is repur­pos­ing a Swe­den data cen­ter for­mer­ly used by the Euro­pean Union as a pro­to­type to test ener­gy effi­cien­cy and sustainability.

The facil­i­ty is set to house Hive’s ASIC servers to increase the company’s min­ing capac­i­ty by rough­ly 300 peta­hash, Hive Exec­u­tive Chair­man Frank Holmes told Blockworks. 

It was pre­vi­ous­ly con­struct­ed as part of EU Hori­zon 2020 — a research and inno­va­tion fund­ing pro­gram that ran from 2014 to 2020 with a bud­get of rough­ly 80 bil­lion euros ($88 bil­lion). Hori­zon Europe has since suc­ceed­ed that program. 

The goal of what was known as the Boden Type Data Cen­ter was “to build the pro­to­type of the most ener­gy and cost-effi­cient data [cen­ter] in the world,” accord­ing to a project brief.

The pro­to­type com­prised a fresh air cool­ing sys­tem and evap­o­ra­tive cool­er appa­ra­tus “using sole­ly har­mon­ic free renew­able ener­gy,” it adds. 

Read more: Why did Cam­bridge revise its bit­coin elec­tric­i­ty con­sump­tion index?

Johan­na Thörn­blad, pres­i­dent of Hive’s Swedish oper­a­tions, con­firmed to Block­works this for­mer pro­to­type facil­i­ty is the data cen­ter Hive has purchased. 

“This data cen­ter was ini­tial­ly built togeth­er with the Research Insti­tute of Swe­den to address the need for more ener­gy effi­cient data cen­ters,” she told Block­works in an email. “It has since been expand­ed to include four addi­tion­al build­ings using low-car­bon and local­ly sourced build­ing materials.” 

The site is near Hive’s exist­ing Boden facil­i­ty and no more than 500 meters from the city’s hydro plant, Thörn­blad said. The data cen­ter runs on renew­able hydro ener­gy and relies on air and evap­o­ra­tive cool­ing technologies.

“Hive has always had a strong focus on sus­tain­abil­i­ty and this data cen­ter fits very well into our strat­e­gy,” Thörn­blad added.

HIVE acquired the prop­er­ty with a pay­ment struc­ture that includes up to $750,000 in cash and up to $1.5 mil­lion in com­mon shares of the com­pa­ny. Accord­ing to an announce­ment from the com­pa­ny, the com­mon shares por­tion is to be paid in two install­ments, with the share price deter­mined by spe­cif­ic con­di­tions relat­ed to the TSX Ven­ture Exchange’s clos­ing prices.

Holmes not­ed the data cen­ter was most recent­ly in pri­vate hands, declin­ing to dis­close the own­er. The com­pa­ny, which was involved in high-per­for­mance com­put­ing, sought to sell ahead of the bit­coin halv­ing slat­ed for April — an event expect­ed to put finan­cial pres­sure on seg­ment players. 

Read more: At anniver­sary of 2016 BTC halv­ing, a look to the next one

The pur­chase comes just months after the com­pa­ny for­mer­ly known as Hive Blockchain Tech­nolo­gies changed its name as it shift­ed its focus to sup­port­ing the growth of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence.

Holmes said the Van­cou­ver-based com­pa­ny looks to con­tin­ue expand­ing in British Colum­bia, Man­i­to­ba, Ontario and Que­bec. Com­peti­tors such as Marathon Dig­i­tal have recent­ly shared plans to con­tin­ue diver­si­fy­ing geo­graph­i­cal­ly

“Buy­ing this facil­i­ty right beside us is just anoth­er long-term vision of the great dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion that we’re putting long-term assets on our bal­ance sheet,” Holmes said.

Updat­ed Nov. 28, 2023 at 1:40 pm ET: Mod­i­fied head­line to empha­size Hive’s bit­coin min­ing functions.

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