Bitcoin bonanza for remote Siberian data center

This data center may be in the middle of nowhere - Siberia to be exact - but it is right in the heart of the booming cryptocurrency phenomenon.

Located 25-hundred miles from Moscow, the vast data center run by Russia’s BitRiver is capitalizing on cheap local hydroelectric power to reap the rewards of bitcoin’s heavy reliance on computing power and electricity to fuel the cryptocurrency’s global rise.

Bitcoin is earned - or mined - by using a computer to help process the uncrackable digital transaction record that underpin the digital currency.…which requires an unspeakable amount of energy.

That’s where BitRiver comes in, says Ivan Kaap, he’s the deputy director-general of the company’s cryptocurrency mining center.

"Our installed capacity is 100 megawatts per hours. Around 70,000 units of equipment are installed here, in this data centre, which is the largest in the Post-Soviet area. There is nobody larger than us here. We have contracts with over 80 clients from every region around the globe.”

And BitRiver is planning to expand its capabilities to provide its services on the cheap to even more of the bitcoin industry.

Another 100 megawatt data center is already under construction.

Bitcoin, the notoriously volatile cryptocurrency, is in the midst of a surge right now. The price has catapulted almost 300 percent since the start of November - topping $50,000 for the first time - as it catches on with small investors and corporations like Tesla alike.

But there’s a downside to bitcoin’s popularity - it exacts a toll on the environment due to its large carbon footprint. In order to reduce that, BitRiver data centers are built in regions where there is surplus electricity and renewable energy sources nearby, operating 90% on green power.

It’s also leveraging the eight-month-long Siberian winters, which help keep data centers from overheating as the machines work feverishly to meet the demand for more bitcoins.