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Blockstream to Pilot Renewable Bitcoin Mining Facility With Australia’s Macquarie Group

The bitcoin company said it has ambitions to scale to new sites as infrastructure is further developed. The first site will be in the U.S.

Sep 8, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 8, 2021 at 6:09 p.m. UTC

Australia-based financial services giant Macquarie Group Ltd. and bitcoin technology firm Blockstream have linked arms to pilot a mining facility powered by renewable energy.

Macquarie, best known as a multinational investment bank, will utilize Blockstream’s crypto mining facilities and tap into the firm’s expertise in mining-hardware hosting, Blockstream said Wednesday.

The site for the pilot facility will be based in the U.S., Samson Mow, Blockstream’s chief strategy officer, told CoinDesk via Telegram. If successful, Blockstream plans to scale to new sites as green power infrastructure is further developed.

Blockstream Mining provides bitcoin mining equipment to institutional and enterprise customers. The firm also provides hosting services where it deploys mining equipment and then hands over control of the equipment to the customer.

The facility will explore carbon-neutral alternatives for mining cryptocurrencies, with Macquarie funneling its investment to “explore” opportunities in providing renewable energy to power the mining process, the companies said.

The initiative targeting a greener approach to mining cryptocurrency attempts to build on previous collaborations from Blockstream.

In June, financial payments company Square announced a $5 million investment in Blockstream with the aim of building a solar-powered bitcoin mining facility. Last month, the crypto tech firm unveiled its Blockstream Energy service for energy producers to sell excess electricity to proof-of-work miners.

On Aug. 24, Blockstream also clinched $210 million in additional funding from U.K. investment management firm Baillie Gifford and iFinex, the parent company of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. The funding coincided with its acquisition of the intellectual property and key employees of Israeli bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer Spondoolies.

Founded in 1969, Macquarie, which manages more than $428 billion in assets, has pivoted toward investing in renewable energy infrastructure, with 44 gigawatts of generation under development or in operation, according to the release.

The bank has warmed to the idea of bitcoin investment. In a January research report, Macquarie stated bitcoin could provide returns uncorrelated to traditional assets while affording protection from currency debasement and a spike in inflation.

“Macquarie’s experience and scale in traditional infrastructure investment, as well as commodity and energy markets, and Blockstream’s position as a leading Bitcoin miner and provider of Bitcoin-based technology solutions, offers terrific potential,” said Blockstream CEO Adam Back.

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Sebastian Sinclair is a CoinDesk news reporter based in Australia.

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