In a move that is sure to inspire renewal in depressed areas, Chinese ASIC manufacturer, Bitmain will be opening a cryptocurrency mining and data center in the small town of Rockdale, Texas, on the site of the former Alcoa Aluminum smelter, right next to the coal-fired Sandow power plant, which had also closed.
With a population of less than 5,900, Rockdale, located in central Texas, has seen its share of economic woes due to the closing of the last coal-fired power plant in January.
The multi-million dollar bitcoin mining and data center is expected to invigorate Rockdale’s economy. Construction has already begun, and the data center is expected to open in early 2019. The arrival of the Chinese firm, which posted $1.1 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2018, could mean the creation of 300-500 jobs in this sleepy Texas town.
Rebecca Vasquez, Rockdale Chamber of Commerce Chair, believes that “these well-paid jobs, will reinvigorate the area, bring new homeowners and increase the local tax base.”
Projections of the creation of 300-500 new jobs in Rockdale may be unrealistic, however, according to an anonymous representative of a cryptocurrency investment fund, since crypto mining operations are usually “capital-heavy and human-light.”
Bitmain has operations in Silicon Valley, Washington State, and Arizona – and the firm is reportedly looking into Canada as well. Bitmain has already raised $1 billion in funding and plans to go public via an IPO later this year, on a $14 billion valuation.
Some experts accuse Bitmain of creating a mining monopoly, as it is currently approaching 51% of total bitcoin network hashrate.