Francis Pouliot: Demand for Crypto-Mining Space in Québec is Nearly Infinite, While Supply is Limited. So Know Your Position of Strength

Feb 6, 2018
by Josh Anderson

MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC — At our recent Second Annual Greater Montréal & Québec Data Centre Summit, CapRE welcomed a panel of leading regional crypto-currency experts talk about the arena’s explosive growth in recent months. In light of its status as a rising asset class, Moderator Ed Kimm, Vice-President for Cloud Solutions & Strategic Alliances at StrataCore asked the panel to discuss how crypto-currency mining is changing the design and infrastructure landscape of data centers. The panel eagerly obliged, speaking first about retrofitting infrastructure from other industries before segueing over to the use of data center containers.

Michel Chartier, President, Kelvin Emtech

Michel Chartier, President at Kelvin Emtech urged the panel as well as members of CapRE’s audience to keep in mind one thing. “It’s really attractive to a lot of landlords to modify their building to attract miners,” he began. “But in Québec — and they require a lot of air, it is not just power – the cubic feet per minute is amazing! If you are modifying your building and you are getting 1.5 million cubic feet per minute of air within your building, and it’s not done properly, you are going to get air in the building in the winter at -25 degrees Celsius. And it’s Québec. So three days later, it will be 15 degrees Celsius!”

“So what happens to your structure? What happens to your walls?” he asked the Summit. “You’re going to get humidity and so on. And when the miners are gone in 2, 3, 4 years, the building will be ruined. You’re going to have to tear down, almost. There will be major, major defects within your structure, in walls. So if you’re thinking about doing something within a building, it needs to be done properly. And doing it properly is costly. So this is why having solutions properly designed, like what we’re doing now with specified hubs or containers, where you park outside and forget them, you don’t have to modify any infrastructure within your building, is costly and takes time.”

Francis Pouliot, Co-Founder for Research and Cryptoassets, Catallaxy

Francis Pouliot, Co-Founder of Research and Cryptoassets at Catallaxy then added his perspective. “This is why, if you’re going to be leasing space to bitcoin miners, you need to be aware of your position of strength, right?” he remarked. “Because if you’re going to ruin your building, as you say, in order to do something quick, then you must understand that the demand for space is nearly infinite. The supply is obviously limited. So definitely understand your position of strength. It’s pretty big.”

Marc Creel, Director at COLO-D pointed out that containers are a great idea. “Absolutely. You can park them outside,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about them catching fire. You don’t have to worry about fire suppression. Even cooling, they become fully contained.”

Chartier concurred with Creel. “Exactly. They come fully contained,” he added. “And you can connect them, and it helps certain providers. Let’s say you have 15 megawatts incoming power available, and you’re only using 3 megawatts. You’re not in the right bracket to pay the low fees to Hydro-Quebec. You’re not LG or whatever. If you bring containers in, they’re going to bring you to 8 or 10 megawatts easily. And then you’re going to profit also from paying less electricity on your regular stuff. But they’re going to be parked outside! Not affecting your data center itself whatsoever.”

To wrap up this topic, Martin LeBlanc, Founder & CEO at Nuvoo added one final thought. “I really think it will help the normal data centers,” he predicted. “that they can probably sell their energy through that channel. I think that is a very good idea.”

Be sure to check out previous CapRE Insider Reports covering this panel discussion:

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