Crypto Cowboys: Inside the new $300M bitcoin mining facility in Dickens County | KLBK | KAMC

DICKENS COUNTY, Texas – Argo Blockchain’s $ 300 million Bitcoin “Helios” installation in Dickens County will extract tens of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency every day and create up to 40 jobs, which will bring hope of revitalization in the small community.

“Nine months ago, this was a cow pasture. There was absolutely nothing here, “said Argo Blockchain CEO Peter Wall.” It’s an interesting contrast: rural Texas with this cutting-edge new technology, but it actually works. “

Bitcoin is a digital currency that people can send and receive online. Unlike the US dollar, it is not centralized in a government bank. Transactions are verified through a complex network of computers around the world called blockchain.

“To some people, that may sound Greek,” Wall admitted. “Essentially, miners are servers: high-powered computers that process transactions for verification. So the transactions are actually pretty simple to keep track of.”

“It’s like a great leger, but it’s tied to every transaction, and this is where it gets a little esoteric, a mathematical equation, and that equation has to be solved for the transaction to be verified,” Wall said.

And that’s where the huge Argo facility near Afton, Texas comes into play. When fully operational, the building will host more than 50,000 servers, each competing with other computers around the world to verify Bitcoin transactions first.

The interior of the facility is lined with industrial tanks, each filled with dozens of these computers immersed in a dielectric fluid that keeps them cool. Wall estimates that his combined work will extract four to five Bitcoins a day, each worth nearly $ 30,000.

“Then we can take that bitcoin and, at the time of our choice, convert it into US dollars, or we can keep it in bitcoins on the assumption that the value of bitcoin will continue to appreciate over time. And that’s what we’ve seen in recent years, in the last decade, “Wall said.

But the benefit comes at a price. Some estimates suggest that the energy needed to mint a new Bitcoin could power the average home for 13 years. With that count, this facility could use all the energy of the home every day.

“We will have a couple of gigawatts of crypto here in this state over the next few months,” ERCOT Vice President Bill Flores said at the inauguration of the Argo facility on May 5th. “This is like the Austin metropolitan area.”

But Argo came to Dickens to do otherwise, harnessing the abundant renewable energy of West Texas.

“The meaning is the renewable energy that is available from our local wind farms and the cotton substation,” Dickens County Judge Kevin Brendle said. “It’s an attraction for cryptocurrencies.”

Dickens does not have much financial district. Its horizon, however, is much more important for Bitcoin. Argo is the new neighbor of the McAdoo wind farm, capable of exploiting 800 megawatts of cryptocurrency-free mining power.

And hopefully, it would also carry the winds of change for its people.

Dickens County dropped to less than 2,000 people in the most recent census. Nearly half of them are over 50 and almost one in five live in poverty. Judge Brendle said his people are well aware of their need for further development

“They are understanding our need for more business and more infrastructure and job opportunities, and people will come and move into the community and contribute,” he said.

The facility will bring in up to 40 new full-time employees, many of whom already live in Dickens.

“They are volunteering for our fire departments, our non-profit organizations, sending their children to our schools, joining our churches, shopping in our community and bringing in much needed income,” Judge Brendle told a crowds of people in and around Dickens. the world at the grand opening.

“These young families are becoming valuable members of our community – Argo is creating a bright future for Dickens County in many ways – thank you, Argo,” Brendle said.

It can be a fit for a rural area like Dickens, often seen as resistant to change by the boardrooms behind Bitcoin. But its people cite their pioneer predecessors, and they see this only as the last frontier.

“We’re Texas,” Brendle said. “Our strength comes from our values ​​for diversification, and we have taken the lead in many of these new industries, and again we have the opportunity to lead this new industry. And Dickens County is taking its place in that rise.”

Cryptocurrency is a gamble. Since Argo ignited, the currency it has harvested has lost almost a fifth of its value in a fall in the sector. But the impact on people is invaluable, and they’re doubling down on Dickens.

“There are assumptions you make about rural Texas that are usually wrong. Arriving here, we were impressed by the talent and hard work ethic of the people of Dickens County, so we thought it was a great place to establish themselves as bitcoin miners,” he said. Wall.

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