New $264 million cryptocurrency mining facility coming to Upstate

You may have heard the term cryptocurrency, or Bitcoin, but what exactly does that mean, and...
You may have heard the term cryptocurrency, or Bitcoin, but what exactly does that mean, and how can you get started with it?(Reuters -- CBS stations and contracted Reuters clients only. No access international.)
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 9:20 AM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A brand new $264 million cryptocurrency mining company is coming to the Upstate.

Tuesday, Greenidge Generation announced they will be taking over an old manufacturing facility in Spartanburg to build their own. Experts say this could bring new jobs, and potentially lots of economic growth, to the area.

If you were wondering: what is cryptocurrency mining and how does it work? You’re not alone...

South Carolina has a huge amount of manufacturing jobs and factories, so if you are familiar with that, think of this in the same way.

The company, Greenidge, is essentially building a factory in Spartanburg, only this one will be filled with computers built to help “mine” money.

“It really brings high-tech jobs, innovative jobs, to our region,” said John Lummus with The Upstate SC Alliance, a marketing company that helped Spartanburg County attract and recruit Greenidge representatives to enact the project.

Lummus says the new crypto facility is hopefully just the tip of the iceberg.

“We see this, and other investments, as the beginning edge of that,” he explained, “and we see us being in a great area, because we do have a lot of power sources and the workforce they need here.”

To put it simply, crypto mining is a process in which a machine performs certain tasks to obtain a bit of cryptocurrency.

“It’s actually a bunch of dedicated computers that try to solve a numeric problem,” said Clemson professor of Economics Gerald Dwyer. Fox Carolina contacted Dwyer, a published expert on the subject of cryptocurrency, to help break it down.

“They use electricity like a factory would,” he went on. “So you can’t just have a mining operation in your house.”

Dwyer says that the more computers, processors, or “miners” working to solve a particular math problem project, the more digital money you can get from it if you solve it first; but you’re also going to need a lot more electricity to do the “mining.”

“These coins, they are just like currency issued by a bank – and they are promising to redeem it,” Dwyer said. “It doesn’t matter whether I get it from you or somebody else. I don’t have to worry whether they are good for it, just whether the institution is.”

The cryptocurrency wave has steadily grown since the mid-2010s. Right now, a single Bitcoin, which is just one of many types of cryptocurrencies out there, is worth about $37,000.

An even easier way to think of what people who invest in crypto get out of it, Dwyer says, is to think of your own banking account.

“Your checking account has all this money in it supposedly,” Dwyer said, “but you can’t touch it or do anything with it. Unless you trade it for currency. So in a lot of ways, electronic currency isn’t much different.”

Lummus and Dwyer both say that South Carolina is a great place for an outfit like Greenidge to come.

The company is committed to using renewable energy to offset up to 100% of their crypto mining operation, which means they will be using power from hydro, nuclear, and solar sources right here in the Upstate. They will also be employing local workers to do it.

The initial investment at the Spartanburg facility will be 40 jobs, all of them high-paying per Upstate SC Alliance, with all types of experience levels accepted, ranging from advanced computer science degrees to just high school diplomas. It all depends on that job description, but Lummus says Greenidge is also committed to training people up.

The facility is expected to be online in late 2022, with expansions, and more jobs coming as a result of those expansions, happening all the way through 2025.

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