GMO Wants a Piece of the Cryptocurrency Mining Pie

Japan's GMO is preparing the launch of a bitcoin-based mining operation in Northern Europe. The complex will run on renewable energy to handle the power demand for a new semiconductor chip.

GMO Wants a Piece of the Cryptocurrency Mining Pie

The GoDaddy of Japan is launching a cryptocurrency mining operation. GMO, a domain registry and web hosting company that trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, is pouring millions of dollars into a bitcoin-based mining business. The Northern European-based mining operation will launch in 2018.

GMO joins the likes of McAfee Coin, whose co-founder and director John McAfee is calling for a bitcoin price of more than USD 500,000 by 2020.

What’s unique about the launch is that GMO plans to up the industry standard by introducing the “next-generation 7 nm semiconductor chip for coins” and is expected to form partnerships to achieve this. Eventually GMO might sell the chips to other companies. GMO is looking to renewable energy to power the mining facility that will use these cutting-edge semiconductor chips.

Northern Europe is a strategic choice for the location, given the amount of power that the facility will consume. To start GMO will mine with 50,000 chips, generating hashpower of 500 petahashs per second (PH/s) and positioning the company among the leading 10 bitcoin mining groups. At this rate, GMO could control 6% of bitcoin mining in its maiden year, reports suggest.

The concept isn’t too farfetched, as in Russia a pilot project was started to subsidize electricity costs to cryptocurrency mining farm owners, which rely on cooling systems that consume a tremendous amount of power.

GMO plans to keep its energy bill low by procuring “clean and cheap electricity” in the renewable energy rich region.  The company will provide mined cryptocurrencies including bitcoin to its subsidiary GMO Coin, resulting in a contribution by GMO Internet Group of greater diversity and liquidity into the cryptocurrency market, the company said.

The move by the Japanese internet company seemed to take the industry by surprise, though GMO seems to have set its sights on cryptocurrency already. For instance, earlier this year they launched an exchange and they consider cryptocurrencies an acceptable form of payment for their services. The mining operation seems to be the next logical step in that evolution.

The bitcoin fever in Japan spreads beyond the internet, however, and into brick-and-mortar stores. A wider push of bitcoin acceptance making its way into the mainstream in Japan, evidenced by major retailer Marui through a partnership with Bitflyer taking bitcoin payments from shoppers. Japan regulators were early movers by attaching legal tender status to bitcoin earlier this year. 

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