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Bitcoin Mining Company Sets Up in Rural Virginia County

Blackstone Data Services will be in Tazewell County, Va., where it will provide data center hosting, server and node maintenance, and cryptocurrency mining container assess manufacturing to benefit a three-state area.

(TNS) — Ribbon-cutting for a bitcoin mining company that is locating in the Bluestone Business and Technology Park in Tazewell County was held Tuesday morning.

Blackstone Data Services, LLC will provide data center hosting, server and node maintenance, and cryptocurrency mining container assess manufacturing to benefit a three-state area.

A projected private capital investment of $18 million over 10 years will initially create five new high-tech jobs.

The business will be the first to locate in the shell building at the park and two large outside data center servers have already been installed for the company.

Jonathan Belcher, execute director of the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA), said the mining business is the first of its kind in Southwest Virginia and Southern West Virginia.

"Our mission is to provide expert turn-key data hosting and technology services, enabling our clients to invest in new technologies without the hassle of self-hosting," Seth White, Blackstone CEO, said. "Our vision is to offer a portfolio of data hosting and technology services that allows investors to easily gain access to advanced cryptocurrency technologies and to deploy these as investment instruments."

White said he initially could not "get his head around" the concept of cryptocurrency "mining" and "blockchains."

But step by step his understanding grew to the point he was ready to plunge into the business, including $4 million worth of equipment.

"I would say within the next 10 years, when you buy and sell a house ... you will doing it (buying, selling and recording the financial transaction) in a blockchain," he said. "That blockchain is unhackable."

White said what all of this means more jobs and more tax revenue for the county as "we continue to grow as a company. Our goal is to help this county grow and flourish."

Rep. Morgan Griffith, R- 9th District, attended the event and said the company locating in the park is a "significant development for Tazewell County."

"Data centers and cryptocurrency offer new economic opportunities for Southwest Virginia and Blackstone's decision will help realize this potential while bringing jobs and investments to our region," he said.

Griffith said the park is an example of "what you to today" may not manifest itself in jobs and new opportunities for 15 or 20 years, and "that is what we are here today to celebrate."

He also said the price of bitcoins will go up or down, as do many commodities.

"You have to look at it in that vein," he said. "But the world economies are looking at using digital currency going forward."

Griffith said he is excited that Tazewell County is on the forefront of "helping this new industry in its birth to grow up and get through adolescence."

"What Seth and his partners are doing demonstrate that here in Southwest Virginia we are looking to the future," state Sen. Travis Hackworth said. " This is a bold move for our region and I applaud the business, Tazewell County and VCEDA for diversifying our economy. This is the type of entrepreneurship that makes us strong."

Hackworth said the park has always been a "forward thinking" technology park the county has invested in for businesses "like the one we are seeing opening today."

A "vision" for the park took many years to come true, he said, but now it has.

"I think it is very commendable for Tazewell County to be thinking about this years ago," he said, and it's good to see entrepreneurs invest in this type of business. "I can't wait to see what is in store for Tazewell County."

"We are pleased to welcome Blackstone Data Services to the Bluestone Technology Park," Eastern District Supervisor Charlie Stacy said. "They will bring much needed high tech, diversified job opportunities to Tazewell County and significant capital investment."

Stacy said White saw the vision Tazewell County wanted in information and technology and the desire to diversify into "things that we didn't do and things we didn't know."

Some may be skeptical of the bitcoin, cryptocurrency, business, he said, but it is a matter of understanding how it works and how it protects assets.

"We built the Bluestone for technology companies," Tazewell County Administrator Eric Young said. "Blackstone Data Services is our first high-tech tenant and is a welcome addition to the Bluestone."

Young said he now has a better understanding of what the company does.

"We can be a part of that new world and a part of this next step," he said of cryptocurrency and its role in the evolving world of digital finance.

Belcher said the business is on "all the radar screens" and growing.

"It fits in very well with the strategy of the region and the county," he said. "When this project first came to the VCEDA board in February from the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority, our board was very easily able to support it ... It is in an industry sector we wanted to grow in the area ... We saw the potential of it."

The shell building, which is now under a lease/purchase agreement with Blackstone, was constructed with VCEDA financing.

Belcher said that in 2017, the VCEDA Board approved up to a $2,739,700 loan to the Tazewell County IDA to be used to finance site grading, site development, building construction, utilities installations and extensions, other improvements and costs associated with the construction and development of the approximately 40,000 square foot technology shell building to be occupied by Blackstone.

Timothy Danielson, Tazewell County director of economic development, said the system used requires a large amount of electricity and the county is working with AEP on how best to provide the needed power.

All available power is already being used, he said, adding that the company wants 10 to 12 megawatts.

A meeting was held last week to try to raise money to build a substation for the park, he said. "We will see how that goes."

Danielson said the substation will be needed to accommodate Blackstone's needs as well as provide power for other businesses that locate in the park.

"We are starting to get people to look at the park, but right now we just don't have enough power for the park," he said.

Blackstone will primarily provide full data center hosting services to its clients who wish to purchase and deploy cryptocurrency, nodes or other hostable server technologies.

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency not reliant on any central authority, such as a government or bank, to uphold and maintain it. It is a decentralized system for verifying parties to a transaction have the money they claim they have utilizing blockchain computer technology and computer analysis of transactions.

Bitcoin runs on a decentralized computer network or distributed ledger that tracks transactions in the cryptocurrency. When computers on the network verify and process transactions, new bitcoins are created, or mined. These networked computers, or miners, process the transaction in exchange for a payment in Bitcoin.

The value of one bitcoin, according to industry sources, stood at $19,158 on Tuesday.

Bluestone Technology and Business Park is on 680 acres at the foot of East River Mountain a few miles west of Bluefield. The park was completed in 2011, financed by grants of almost $3 million and about $10 million from the state Tobacco Commission.

The park was designed to be more than a traditional industrial park, aimed more at "cutting edge" technology companies and the original plan also included adding upscale companies as well as restaurants, a hotel-conference center, a residential area, recreation facilities, hiking trails, and rental cabins and a lodge higher up on the mountain.

© 2022 the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (Bluefield, W.Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.