Deep in the Appalachian mountains in Belfry, Kentucky, construction crews are retrofitting an old coal-washing plant and converting the facility into a Bitcoin mine.
Former venture capitalist Warren Rogers and chief strategy officer at Blockware Solutions said, “We’re trying to digitize coal.” Blockware has been traveling around Appalachia since last year to look for crypto mining sites with a sufficient power supply to run them.
And Kentucky offers both cheap property and electricity.
“We own a money-printing machine,” Rogers added as he oversees his team installing Chinese-made Bitcoin-mining machines and electrical cables to power the mine.
Upon completion, the mine is expected to produce at least three Bitcoins per day, estimated to be worth $120,000 based on its current market value. However, the community is divided over the social, environmental, and economic impact of a Bitcoin mining operation in their area, who say that the operation will utilize more power than all the households in Belfry.
Before the facility was closed in 2016, the coal mine in Belfry used to employ over 6,000, data from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. Kentucky’s coal mines currently employ less than 4,000 miners in total.
In comparison, a Bitcoin mine will need a crew of less than 12 to maintain and run the computers that run on electricity supplied by Kentucky’s coal-heavy electrical grid.