Applied Blockchain Inc. and the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 14, for a cryptocurrency hosting facility that will be located north of Jamestown.

The ceremony was held about 7 miles north of Jamestown near the substation owned by Otter Tail Power Co. The hosting facility will be co-located with the substation and will be its first one in the U.S.

Applied Blockchain has an agreement with Otter Tail Power Co. to provide for up to 100 megawatts of power for five years.

Applied Blockchain expects its first 50 megawatts of capacity to be operational this year and the next 50 megawatts in the beginning of 2022.

“We hope to expand beyond that here on this site,” said Wes Cummins, CEO of Applied Blockchain. “ … I’m happy we were able to find a great partner in Otter Tail here in Jamestown and work with people locally here. Hopefully we will create some good jobs and build some great relationships in the future.”

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Century Builders from Fargo is the general contractor for the project. The hosting facility is expected to begin operations by the end of this year.

The facility includes eight buildings. Chris Schuler, owner of Century Builders, said the total square footage of the buildings is 64,000 square feet. He said each of the first four buildings are about 33 feet by 280 feet and each of the second set of four buildings will be about 33 feet by 205 feet.

Schuler said the first four buildings will be operational by the end of this year with the other four being operational in the beginning of 2022.

The buildings will be manufactured by Sunward Steel Buildings, which operates Wedgcor in Jamestown, said Roland Davidson, engineering lead with Applied Blockchain.

Applied Blockchain will employ about 30 people on site to monitor the equipment 24 hours per day at the hosting facility near Jamestown.

Cummins said 100 megawatts will host anywhere between 30,000 to 35,000 computers that serve as mining machines.

Applied Blockchain chose the location near Jamestown for three reasons: low-cost stable power supply, good climate and being in a state that wants the facility, Cummins said.

He said North Dakota is historically a power exporting state.

“This will be able to use energy in the state,” he said. “It’s good for the local utility here, and it’s good for the power generators.”

He said lower temperatures are better because the facility will generate lots of heat and will need to be cooled down.

North Dakota is a state that wants to have new blockchain technology in its state, Cummins said.

“We want to be in a place that wants us,” he said.

Applied Blockchain delivers cryptocurrency mining and infrastructure solutions to its customers, according to its website. The company has partnered with Bitmain, SparkPool and General Mining Research.

Applied Blockchain will mine Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrency assets.

Applied Blockchain announced its entrance into the cryptocurrency hosting business on July 30 after it closed on a $32.5 million private placement by Bitmain, which is a producer of products for blockchain and artificial intelligence applications, according to Applied Blockchain’s website. The $32.5 million covers the cost of acquiring land, construction of facilities, component procurement and other project costs related to Applied Blockchain’s hosting business in North America.

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that can be used for payments or held as an investment similar to the stock market. Cryptocurrency is not a government currency and doesn’t have a central bank, interest rates or a long history of exchange rates against other currencies.