Terrence Thurber, OregonMines: Maybe Blockchain Data Centers Aren’t So Wasteful After All

Jul 2, 2018
by Josh Anderson

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Many in the data center industry still have a lot to learn about crypto-currency mining and its underlying technology of blockchain, especially since most of the emerging technology is controversial. Below, we delved into one such aspect of blockchain mining during a panel discussion moderated by Adam Waitkunas, President and Founder of Milldam Public Relations at CapRE’s Second Annual Boston and New England Data Center Summit, titled, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin: What are They and How Do They Impact Data Center Design & Construction?

data center summitWaitkunas asked panelist Jeffrey Moerdler, Partner at Mintz Levin, to respond to a straightforward but complex question: “Can you talk about the effect blockchain will have on data centers from a legal perspective? How will SLAs be different when looking at blockchain?”

To that question, Moerdler responded that, though they may not be in state-of-the-art facilities, perhaps opting for antiquated data centers, parties to SLAs are very concerned about security. After those remarks, Waitkunas asked, Terrence Thurber, CEO of OregonMines if he had anything to add.

“Yeah, two things. I’d like to counter one thought about the miners,” Thurber replied. “You’re kind of seeing it as a deficiency that we don’t require Tier III. One could flip the idea and say that it’s quite inefficient to have 75% of your gear never be used. You put the resources into developing the batteries, putting out the wiring, the distribution, the sub-stations, and you use it maybe 0.5% of the time. That’s wasteful.”

“However, when we develop our space, we use 100% of our resources pretty much all of the time,” he continued. “And sure, some business fail to — I think they’re ramp plans are inherently some funny business – I think that’s probably more operator driven and environmental issues than it is per-se a technology issue. But yeah, it’s going to happen. I think that there is always going to be some unrealistic demands and there are going to be some other operators that will be way more level-headed and more tentative in their approach.”

Thurber then offered some advice: “I think that’s probably what you should be looking for if you’re looking for business opportunities. Look for somebody who’s not telling you that if you don’t get him an answer tomorrow he’s walking forever. You wouldn’t marry somebody like that so you probably shouldn’t get into business with them either. I think that’s just prudent, regardless of the technology. I think you should just look at who the operator is.”

“As far as early technology, I think that some of the ideas about what’s wasteful or what the waste is, I think that’s a very small view of what’s happening here,” he concluded. “We’ve mentioned so many use cases for this and so many potential areas for where it could come in handy, and I think, what a small price to pay to securitize and to make a trust mechanism that we can come to agree on, that doesn’t require, say, months of bureaucracy and the egress of treaties and all of these other things that we currently deal with.”

For more from this panel on blockchain technology, check out previous CapRE Insider Reports:

Banner Photo (L-R): Jeff Moerdler, Partner, Mintz-Levin & Terrence Thurber, CEO, OregonMines

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