Lesser-known and relatively underpopulated parts of Japan are beginning to attract cryptocurrency miners, largely due to the availability of cheap electricity. This includes Fukui, a city in a prefecture bearing the same name and which has a population of slightly over 250,000. The city boasts not just low electricity prices but also affordable rent as a result of a subsidy program, which pays 50% of the rent for firms that move into abandoned factory spaces.
According to Nikkei Asia Review, one of the companies taking advantage of Fukui’s accommodating environment is Alt Design, which opened shop last year in September. Per the chief analyst of the startup, Shuhei Fujise, electricity costs are lower in Fukui compared to Tokyo.
Additionally, the warehouses are spacious and the rent is cheap relative to Japan’s capital.
“Industrial-use electricity is cheaper [in Fukui] than in Tokyo, and we can cheaply rent a large space that fits all our equipment,” Fujise told Nikkei Asian Review.
Alt Design currently has about 500 mining rigs and primarily focuses on mining ethereum and bitcoin. The startup has 10 employees involved in the installation and management of cryptocurrency mining equipment. Each month the firm estimates that mining activities consume 2,000Kw of electricity to generate around 200 ETH for 10 corporate clients. Alt Design, in turn, earns a commission on those funds.
Besides startups, established firms are also turning to crypto mining and related businesses in Japan. Earlier this year, e-commerce firm DMM.com launched a cryptocurrency mining facility in the city of Kanazawa. At the same time, the firm also unveiled a showroom displaying 1,000 cryptocurrency mining rigs accessible to clients of the company with tours having started in March this year.
DMM.com had at the time indicated that it was planning to mine bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin and had deployed both ASIC (650 MH/s) and GPU (300 MH/s) mining rigs. Additionally, DMM.com also revealed that it was planning a cloud mining facility as well as managing its own mining pool.
Early last month, CCN.com reported that tech firm GMO Internet had launched the first-ever Japanese Bitcoin mining rig, known as the B2. Though designed in Japan, the B2 was manufactured in Taiwan and is expected to start shipping in October this year at a cost of US$1,999. Some of the specs of the B2 include a hash rate of 24TH/s and an electricity consumption rate of 1950W per unit.
At the time, the chief executive officer of GMO Internet, Masatoshi Kumagai, revealed that the launch of the B2 mining rig was the first steps towards dethroning Bitmain, the largest manufacturer of cryptocurrency mining equipment in the world.
“I respect Bitmain, but we will top them,” said Kumagai.
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