Russia’s Largest Aluminum Plant is Now an Active Hub for Bitcoin Miners

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Bitriver, a mining hub located in the city of Bratsk, Russia, had opened its doors to power-hungry Bitcoin (BTC) miners a year ago. Despite being new in the industry, this data center, which is considered as the largest in the world, hosts clients from all over the world, including China, Japan, and the United States. 

As reported by Bloomberg on November 24, Bitriver’s facility is situated near the Bratsk aluminum plant, the largest aluminum smelter in the world, which was built in the 1960s by the USSR. Notably, the data center takes advantage of the establishment’s hydropower plant in executing operations. Aside from having cheap electricity rates, the city of Bratsk is also known for its cold weather, which effectively lessens the costs associated with cooling mining hardware. 

Bloomberg’s report also revealed that Bitriver’s biggest shareholder is Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire Russian oligarch who is also the president of Rusal, the second-largest aluminum company in the world.

Reportedly, Deripaska had first envisioned the establishment of the data center five years ago. To achieve this goal, he sought a partnership with En+, a leading power producer in Russia, to repurpose the building and its facilities.

The report also clarified that crypto mining is an unrecognized industry in Russia. To avoid legal responsibilities, Bitriver operates as a standard data center. It provides technical services and equipment to its worldwide customers instead of directly engaging in crypto mining. 

Notably, Deripaska owns 45% of shares at En+, the company that supplies 100 megawatts of electricity to the facility. According to Bloomberg, this power is enough to support the energy needs of 100, 000 homes. 

As per the energy cost, Bitriver pays 2.4 rubles ($0.038) per kilowatt-hour. It has no VAT (value-added tax). The company then sells the energy to crypto miners at 3.5 rubles ($0.055) per kilowatt-hour. 

It’s worth noting that the average cost of energy in the US is about $0.12 per kWh.

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