PORT-OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, April 20, 2022 - The Trinidad Guardian is reporting that a Bitcoin mining farm, Trinimine, is in the works for Trinidad and Tobago, and could become a reality within eleven months.
According to the Guardian, the project, called Trinimine, will be a large data centre with a capacity of 300MW and an investment of US $0.5 billion.
The Bitcoin blockchain is by far the largest cryptocurrency blockchain, with a market capitalisation valued at around US$ 900 billion and 200 million transactions a year.
“T&T has available the core elements of power capacity, a competitive electricity price and available infrastructure at Tamana Intech Park” said Professor Jean-Frederic Mognetti
These three characteristics are the key drivers that will allow T&T to make a paradigm shift to participate in a new world economy.
Economic diversification of this nature in T&T, would compete with projects offering the same quality of attributes as those in the USA (Texas) and Canada (Ontario), he said.
The Guardian report says the facility will be built out in phases, with the first phase being 70 MW, occupying 20 acres of land and with an investment of US$ 100 million. This facility could become operational in 11 months after a signed Power Purchase Agreement.
Bitcoin Mining Farms are globally distributed data centres using computing power to validate transactions of the Bitcoin Blockchain protocol. This investment provides T&T with the opportunity to become a new player in this new technology arena.
The project requires the same conditions of a subsidised energy price, granted in the 20th century, to attract manufacturers to the Point Lisas industrial estate.
The same electricity price attractiveness today could result in the development of the 21st-century sectors of the fast developing digital economy.
Prof Mognetti added, regionally this project would be the first of its kind: “What T&T did with its energy was to build Point Lisas on subsidised energy for 20th century industries. Why not replay the same game and use the same energy to subsidise an industry of the 21st century”.
Such a project needs a solid and respectful family to make it happen, and this is what the Trinimine partnership boasts.
Setting up a Bitcoin mining farm requires several specific elements and T&T has them all.
Most of us are familiar with financial transactions involving cheques and credit cards from financial institutions such as banks, which all need to be verified by the institutions. The same applies to transactions using cryptocurrency.
However, the verification process of traditional transactions is undertaken centrally, while that of cryptocurrency is decentralised. This means that anyone, anywhere in the world can be part of the verification if they have the right equipment.
One of those partners is the ANSA McAL conglomerate. ANSA McAL is the parent company of Guardian Media.
“Our remit is to look at new opportunities for the Group and this is an opportunity to diversify the current portfolio with a 21st-century initiative. It is a completely new area for ANSA McAL and T&T, and it fits nicely with the financial sector that ANSA McAL is already in”, said Dr Rikhi Permanand.
Also partnering on the project are two international leading companies in their respective areas: Bitfury and Coinshares International.
Bitfury based in Holland is a cutting-edge technology pioneer that reached a valuation of US$1 billion without being listed on the stock market. This was achieved through its proprietary ASIC chip development, server integration, high-end data centre development and management.
They are present in six countries around the world, with an installed – in operation and in deployment – capacity of, 1GW (1 billion Watts) and a pipeline of projects, of 2 GW.
Coinshares International is Europe’s largest and longest-standing digital asset firm founded in 2014, listed on the Stockholm Nasdaq since March 2021 and with more than US $6.5B of assets under management. Its mission and its sector specialisation offers privileged access to investors, who are accustomed to, the risk, and return characteristics of the sector.
The three partners of Trinimine are listed companies in New York, Stockholm and Port of Spain and post a cumulated market capitalisation of more than US$ 4 billion.
Dr Permanand added that the project fits perfectly with the thrust of the Tamana Intech Park.
“As you may know, the idea behind Tamana Intech Park was to house technological projects and opportunities. This fits very well into that vision. The fit is also ideal, because there is plenty of space, and much more importantly it has a substation already in place and capable of powering the Phase 1 requirement of 70MW. So, it is a plug and play opportunity, which would allow us to get to market very quickly,” Permanand said.
“However, this is not a done deal. And the opportunity must be grasped now as this existing window of opportunity can close quickly,” Mognetti said.
The technology partner Bitfury, as an integrated operator, is managing a very critical resource - ASIC chips, which are unfortunately in competition for their allocation.
T&T ranks well on paper but faces alternative allocation options. If it is not T&T, North America will welcome with opened arms, these semiconductors and their servers supported by attractive electricity prices.
Phase 1, will immediately provide T&T with a global visibility of 0.7 per cent of the global computation capacity.
This will increase to two per cent when the project of 300MW is fully deployed.
This figure has to be compared in relation to T&T‘s Natural Gas production, which represents 0.03 per cent of the global production.
Finally, what makes the project even more attractive is that other countries in the region, such as Barbados and the Bahamas, have already started modifying their regulations to facilitate this digital asset economy and are attracting interest from foreign companies.
“This project is totally aligned in terms of diversification for us as a private-sector organisation and fits very well with the long-term view of what the government wants. So, it’s a great fit,” Permanand said.
“I think it’s an absolute game-changer for us as a business, and for us as a country because it’s a real paradigm shift in what we do. It’s taking the natural assets that we have and using them in a different way to generate wealth for the investors and for the citizens of T&T. This is the type of initiative that we need to be looking at for future growth,” he added.
Mognetti, who is French, and has lived and worked in T&T since 2006, concluded with the well-rooted common sense of the farmers of the Alp mountains:”In the country where I grew up, it is well known that it is during the summer period that one fixes up the roof, not under one meter of snow! What is not done in due time is paid with interest and even cumulative one if one procrastinates to do what needs to be done.”