Rural Canada’s abandoned towns are increasingly becoming proving to be the most attractive places to set up new cryptocurrency mining operations. This has mostly been due to the cold climate that is leveraged to cool mining equipment as well as the abundant spare energy resources that make the areas ideal locations for the power-intensive mining operations.
Ocean Falls is one of these places. According to a Bloomberg report, the town which is located in British Colombia was once a paper industry haven thanks to the vast wood mill that it hosted. Unfortunately, the mill went silent in the 1980s and since then the always small community of locals in the town has continued to dwindle – of the 5,000 people that depended on the wood mill, only 100 remain.
Thanks to the rapidly growing cryptocurrency industry, this summer part of the town’s mill will be brought back to life. The people behind this development are a blockchain startup that will be replacing the once whirring buzz saws with the faint hum of computer components such as fans.
Dubbed Ocean Falls Blockchain, the startup was drawn to the former ghost town because of its abundant energy hydroelectric energy supply. This comes from the same dam that was used to power the old mill which is apparently still capable of producing close to 13 megawatts of electricity. Moreover, the dam is not connected to the grid and therefore the electricity it generates is used exclusively to power Ocean Fall’s relatively small community as well as two nearby towns – Shearwater and Bella Bella.
The total power consumption of all three towns, as it turns out, is much less than a third of the energy produced by the dam. As such, there is so much power left to cater to particularly power-hungry operations. This would certainly be a lucrative opportunity for many industries but the remoteness of Ocean Falls is considered to be a significant impeding factor to various logistical factors. Unlike most other business, bitcoin mining does not involve the creation of any physical products and therefore industry stakeholders need not worry about logistical concerns.
Two Years’ Worth of Planning
Kevin Day, the entrepreneur behind the move to British Columbia as well as the development of the Ocean Falls Blockchain first approached Brent Case, the then operations manager at the firm that owns the dam, in 2015. While Day already had the idea of building a mining operation in the town, but it was Brent Case’s critical knowledge and connections that steered the projects forward. The move to launch the mining operation had been two and a half years in the making before it commenced operations last July.
For Case, the prospect of revitalizing the previously depopulated town was particularly exciting and it solved some of the problems the dam’s owners were having with regards to a huge amount of electric energy going to spare. It is, however, still unclear how exactly and how much the new blockchain businesses will impact the ghost within the ghost towns they have been set up in.