There's no playbook for how to build a large-scale cryptocurrency mining farm. So how is it done? In this livestream, Compass talks with a panel of miners about how large-scale mining farms are designed and built. All three guests explain their experiences touring and designing mining farms, from the massive Whinstone farm in Texas to off-grid mining units in Wyoming.

This livestream is a must-watch for any home miners interested in the operational details of larger farms or for would-be miners interested in designing and building their own industrial mining farm.

Video Recording

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Audio Version

Show Notes

Introduction (timestamp)

  • Jason Les, CEO of Riot Blockchain: studied computer science in college, found bitcoin through his passion for poker. Jason is very, very good at poker. Eventually he wanted to do bitcoin (and mining) full time. He's been on the board at Riot for several years, and recently became CEO.
  • Justin Ballard, Co-Founder of JAI Energy: Building a 4.5 MW site off grid and Wyoming right now, the whole JAI team comes from the oil and gas industry.
  • Neil Galloway, Director of Mining Operations at Compass: found bitcoin on IRC in late 2010 while he was in school for IT, traditionally more of a hardware guy. After a couple years, he got into mining and investing slowly. But in 2017, he cashed in some of his investments and build a bitcoin mining farm, which gave him a crash course in learning everything about mining.
  • Chad Harris, CEO of Whinstone US: he and three other guys start mining in his office, and they realize infrastructure is what the Bitcoin industry needs. They set out to build a massive farm with fully replicable operations so anyone could work there no matter if they understood Whinstone or not. In May 2021 they were bought by Riot and began a massive expansion.

What's the most common problem when building a mining farm? (timestamp)

  • Jason: having access to capital and financing to support the capital-intensive business of mining is very important. Executing on development plans is also a big struggle for most mining operations.
  • Chad: there's no playbook for how to build a farm, so it's not just one thing that can cause problems. People are the biggest problem for development. Finding good people who are reliable, motivated, and well trained is problematic. Whinstone is successful because of its people.
  • Neil: people is definitely a top problem, there's a labor hole in the mining industry. Building and operating a mining farm usually takes a lot of training in a variety of different disciplines. There are some efforts to train new people though.
  • Justin: echoes what everyone else has said. Labor is a key concern, but also building a good leadership and general team is key. Find good partners that can execute well with you because mining isn't easy.

An overview of Whinstone's facility with videos and pictures (timestamp)

An overview of JAI Energy's off-grid site in Wyoming with pictures (timestamp)

Discussion about self-mining versus hosting (timestamp)

  • Jason: Whinstone has a hosting business for institutional mining clients. They're building 400 MW of hosting for these clients. Hosting is a way to pay the bills for more self-mining capacity.
  • Neil: Compass handles mining differently, and there's a much larger logistical requirement that sets Compass operations apart from Riot and Whinstone hosting. Dealing with miners with 2-3 machines is more complex.
  • Justin: JAI Energy is hosting now in Wyoming, but the biggest constraint for natural gas mining is the air permitting. That can slow some things down, but they're constantly growing and expanding. They're also looking at hosting in Texas too.

Hosted by Zack Voell and Will Foxley