A bitcoin "mining" operation in Walker County may be expanding.
The MGT company earlier set up a location on six acres in LaFayette.
It is seeking a second site at the Walker County Business Park. The firm wants to buy two acres just south of a Georgia Power electrical substation.
Bitcoin is a digital currency, and the term mining is used for utilizing computer processing equipment in bitcoin record keeping. Bitcoins are created as a reward for the mining process. Bitcoins can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services.
Robert Ladd of MGT said his firm is "a trailer park" for bitcoin miner operations. It sets up 40-foot containers for use by bitcoin mining firms and charges a monthly fee.
He noted that the operation is a huge user of electric power, and his firm makes sure there is an adequate power supply.
Mr. Ladd said the estimated construction cost for the operation at the business park would be $1.2 million. He is asking that the county help with bringing high voltage feeder lines from the substation to power 10 MGT transformers. He said the city of LaFayette brought lines to that operation.
LaFayette has its own electric system. Georgia Power supplies the business park. Mr. Ladd was advised to contact Georgia Power, which has two "cryptocurrency" specialists that deal with such issues.
Mr. Ladd said the current industry demand for bitcoin mining could accommodate in the near term a five-time expansion of the initial project.
He said China "has basically shut down (bitcoin mining) and told everyone to get out." He said that has raised the demand elsewhere.
Mr. Ladd said the clients for the containers install very expensive computer processing equipment and his firm furnishes security. Shannon Whitfield, Walker County Commission chairman, questioned whether the clients are paying personalty tax on that high-value equipment.
Officials said the cost of the two acres at the business park would be about $50,000.