Terrence Thurber, CEO, OregonMines Discusses Peering, Fiber, and Recycling Equipment in the Blockchain Arena
by Josh Anderson
PORTLAND, OR – Bitcoin mining and its underlying technology, blockchain, are more than just in vogue at the moment. Some may say we are entering the era of blockchain. However, quite a bit of this technology is still nebulous. So CapRE’s Second Annual Greater Portland Data Center Summit included a panel discussion titled Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin: What Are They and How Do They Impact Data Center Design & Construction?
In this session, Terrence Thurber, CEO of OregonMines, was gracious enough to participate in a brief Q&A, in which he provided some insider analysis based on his perspective as the sole bit-miner on the panel. After talking about cooling and power, moderator Brian Klebash, Founder ands CEO of CapRE, asked Thurber, what are your different peering arrangements?
“We currently only rely on one fiber backbone,” he replied curtly. “So in terms of peering, we work with CenturyOne. We are looking for other providers to come and give us a little bit of redundancy, and potentially other providers who may replace CenturyOne in the future with dark fiber. I think that it’s a little less important for Bitcoin in terms of where we peer to, what our latency is. I think we pretty much already solved that problem by having the nodes that we need more localized than traditional data centers might provide. And I think that’s inherent.”
With that, Klebash asked a follow-up question. “Would you say that there is an opportunity for Tier I equipment to be recycled as part of blockchain and crypto-currency mining?” he posed.
“One hundred percent! I think that that’s happening all over the country right now,” responded Thurber. “I bet if you asked de-commissioners where they are selling their gear to, it’s probably mining concerns. I don’t know anybody else that wants last year’s generation efficiency switching, whether it’s network gear or PDUs.”
After all, Thurber has plenty of 3750 systems running all day. “I’m sure you guys have moved on to 5000 6000 or whatever it is now. But we have no need to keep recycling like that,” he stressed. “So I think that’s a great potential for data centers, to look at that and say, we have all of these shelves that we’re paying to take out, let’s just sell it to these miners. I think that’s a great idea for recycling.”
Finally, Klebash asked one last question. “We’ve heard so much about mining over the last six month,” he stated. “Tell us something that we don’t know that we should know. What’s the big secret?”
“The big secret is that we’re changing the model of security,” ventured Thurber. “And everything else that we’re sharing, in terms of the ledger, in terms of what might happen and where it’s going, really comes back to security. And I think a lot of people might [want to] look at the speculative nature of coins and the blockchain, and what it could do for accounting, or the database, but often look at it one of the more robust distributed security mechanisms of our age.”