By Charlie Richards
Seeking to reap the benefits of naturally low temperatures and plentiful green energy sources, KnC Miner is opening a hanger sized data processing center in Boden near Luleå, Sweden. Near to Facebook’s own Arctic data operation, the crypto processor KnC Miners seeks to help power ‘the internet of blockchains’ from its new northern base.
The data center is to be based in a dis-used military helicopter site in the town of Boden, a location suitable for the operation due to a mix of average temperatures that barely reach double Celsius figures, and a 78MW hydroelectric dam only meters away from where KnC Miners are setting up shop. The importance of cheap, clean, and reliable power is key to KnC Miner’s plans, as the hangers built to house military helicopters are now to be packed with thousands of power hungry processors needed to crack the cryptographic problems that serve as “proof of work” evidence for the book-keeping service of maintaining a blockchain.
KnC Miner believes this blockchain technology is going to become increasingly important to a de-centralized internet that places the work burden of apps and online services across a wide range of data processing units, rather than a centralized conventional server. The system allows for much greater increased redundancy and the handling of spikes of usage and computational need, without the all-too-familiar server failures associated with popular websites today.
With important applications such as the payment services industry and the handling of sensitive data, security is paramount for such an operation. KnC Miner’s chosen location on an ex-military base then is all the more sensible. Employing “in excess of 40 full-time staff at this particular location. Guards secure the enclosed perimeter as well as all interior facilities,” making entry and the risk of physically compromising the service a much harder proposition for those who may target such a powerful processing hub.
Speaking about the power the new hardware that KnC Miner is installing in their far-north data centre, the team explained that:
“We expect our implementation of the new 5000+ core Solar 16nm (FinFET) processor technology to deliver at least a six-fold increase in performance compared to our previous generation hardware (at 20nm) – achieving 0.07 w/GHs.”
Running such a large amount of computing power has proved an international problem, with the solution proving a natural one, based upon building these data centers in the near polar regions of the earth. Here, where the ambient temperature does much to lower the energy bill, which is commonly done by cooling the servers with air conditioning and water based equivalents, the efficiency and profitability of power hungry services are understandably improved.
With KnC Miner being based in Stockholm, the domestic Boden site is an 11 hour drive north and appears to be a good compromise between power efficiency and practical accessibility.
The company is best known for producing an ASIC miner that sold over US$70 million worth of units since it’s launch in 2013. More recently it made headlines by attracting a US$14 million Series A investment from Creandum and GP Bullhound in Stockholm, well known for their funding of Spotify. KnC Miner has become one of the leading cloud-mining providers in the last six months, generating a reported US$40 million from their collectivized mining services.
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