Wattum, a U.S.-based mining company, signed a deal for a farm in Kazakhstan run by Energix.
The two announced Thursday they will build a mining facility with a capacity to provide 16 megawatts of energy for mining machines. They also committed to investing $2 million in the enterprise. Construction is expected to start in July.
Wattum and Energix are also in talks to build a 50-megawatt farm, at a cost of $8 million.
The move might be signaling the industry is paying closer attention to the Asian nation, which has been actively developing its bitcoin mining market for the past several years. Miners have been actively seeking new venues since the Chinese government started cracking down on mining in some regions earlier this year. Kazakhstan has been one of the spots of interest, Energix CEO and co-founder Yerbolsyn Sarsenov told CoinDesk.
Energix works as a so-called mining hotel, meaning it provides space, energy and maintenance services for miners looking for locations for their machines. It already has a 180-megawatt capacity plant in the country. That is fully contracted and should be filled with clients’ ASICs until the end of this year.
“Last year, we had applications for 20 megawatts. This year, applications for hundreds of megawatts came in in a matter of weeks,” he said.
Some Chinese miners have already booked their spots in Kazakhstan: In May, BIT Mining committed to invest $9.33 million in building a 100-megawatt center with an unidentified local partner.
Wattum currently has farms in upstate New York and Pittsburgh. Kazakhstan is attractive because it’s close to China, which makes it easier to deliver ASICs from manufacturers based there, CEO and founder Arseniy Grusha told CoinDesk
Another plus: Kazakhstan allows miners to import equipment with zero tax, and mining itself is officially taxed in Kazakhstan, meaning it’s a legitimate and government-approved business. Moreover, “there is a lot of spare electricity in Kazakhstan,” Grusha said. Most, however, is not “green,” he said, because of the heavy reliance on coal-based electricity.
CORRECTION (JUNE 17, 11:48 UTC) Corrects spelling of Energix in headline.