Japanese firm GMO Internet has announced the launch of a new cryptocurrency mining business.
GMO, which was founded in the early 1990s, first entered the cryptocurrency space with the opening of an exchange in May. Now, the company, which offers web hosting and a range of other digital services, is expanding its portfolio with the mining operation, which is set to commence sometime in the first half of 2018.
According to statements from GMO, the mining facility is set to be based somewhere in northern Europe and will produce as much as 500 petahashes per second (PH/s). Currently, the bitcoin network hashrate is approximately 5.68 exahashes per second (EH/s).
It's a notable launch, given that GMO is an established digital services firm with a publicly listed stock.
GMO said also that it plans to "research and develop semiconductor chips (mining chips) utilizing state-of-the-art 7nm process technology," working with as-yet-unnamed partners on the venture. Additionally, the firm indicated that it may move to sell the hardware it creates to third parties.
Further down the line, GMO indicated it plans to begin offering cloud mining services, through which customers can buy a certain amount of hashrate over a period of time to potentially earn bitcoin. Notably, the company also plans to use the mine to support its cryptocurrency exchange, with the coins generated being used to provide liquidity for its marketplace.
The announcement comes on the heels of another blockchain-based loyalty point project from GMO.
Cryptocurrency mining is the energy intensive process by which new transactions are added to a blockchain, creating new coins as a reward in the process.
Bitcoin mining image via Shutterstock