Cryptocurrency mining in Russia has reached an industrial scale.
It is impossible to mine cryptocurrency on personal computers in the country because of their small capacity. As a result, mining farms and data centres have begun to appear.
Because of the energy intensive nature of industrial crypto mining, data centres are often located in areas with affordable electricity and ideally with low temperatures to ensure the CPUs don’t overheat.
Mining farms in warmer climates have the added expense of requiring fans and cooling equipment which can greatly add to the costs.
The northern city of Bratsk in Russia is ideally suited for mining cryptocurrency as electricity is cheap and the winters are long.
These beneficial climatic and economic conditions have contributed to the emergence of the largest cryptocurrency mining data centre in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Bratsk – a city in eastern Siberia
Bratsk is located in severe climatic conditions in eastern Siberia. Winter in this region lasts almost eight months, and the temperature can reach as low as minus 35-40 degrees.
Bratsk is considered the most important energy centre in Russia. The city arose in the process of developing Siberia in 1955 and served as a place of exile for famous poets and public figures in the middle of the 19th century.
Currently, the city is the largest industrial centre in the country and the second most populous in the Irkutsk region with over 230,000 inhabitants.
Bratsk Hydroelectric Power Station
Bratsk was initially founded as the location for a large hydroelectric power station (HPS).
The station’s structures form one of the largest reservoirs in the world. The Bratsk HPS is Russia’s third largest and first annual average hydroelectric power station.
The power station produces huge amounts of electricity, and as such, the cost of electricity in the area is very cheap, making it the ideal location for a cryptocurrency mining farm.
The largest data centre in the CIS
The cryptocurrency market in Russia has yet to explode into life thanks to the lack of any regulatory framework, but despite this, large data centres are appearing in the country that can generate energy on an industrial scale for mining new coins.
Investment firm BitRiver had long been looking for cheap energy throughout Russia to make cryptocurrency mining profitable, and the company eventually found it in Bratsk.
BitRiver set up the mining farm right next to the Bratsk HPS and pays owners En+ Group directly for the electricity.
The power station sells any excess capacity to the mining farm allowing for additional profit while the farm itself profits from the cheaper rates.
The Bratsk data centre is the largest crypto mining project in the country and cost tens of millions of dollars.
BitRiver claims that the purchase of the electricity is an absolutely legal and official transaction, despite the fact that regulation of cryptocurrencies in Russia has not yet been adopted.
In general, the appearance of a major data centre in Bratsk is a positive for the city. The emergence of new jobs and special training courses on cryptocurrency and blockchain will significantly improve the quality of life of citizens.
At the University of Bratsk, a new discipline about blockchain technology for students who dream of working in the field of information technology has appeared.
BitRiver has stated that it plans to expand its activities in the field of education and the promotion of new technologies throughout the area.