Cryptocurrency mining has been popular since shortly after the introduction of Bitcoin in 2009. Today, miners use graphical interfaces and specialty crypto mining rigs known as ASICs to solve computational puzzles and unlock digital currency.
Achieving that at a profitable rate often means installing hundreds or even thousands of miners in one space. As a result, the largest crypto mining warehouses house thousands of individual miners – some of which are for rent or for on-demand use.
With the current cost and increase of complexity in hashing most cryptocurrency, many operations are industrial and run by organizations.
As a result, the average size of a crypto mining warehouse is a minimum of 10,000 square feet with the largest exceeding 100,000 square feet.
Micro farms, or those that use less than 10 megawatts, can fit into a smaller space – but you’ll have to keep good organization and cooling in mind when setting up infrastructure.
What Is Crypto Mining?
Crypto mining is the process of using computers and specialty-built mining rigs to hash or solve puzzles. This process serves to validate cryptocurrency transactions on the blockchain network. And, miners are rewarded with new cryptocurrency. This is known as “proof of work” and is one of the most common cryptocurrency systems.
Today, Bitcoin is still the most popular cryptocurrency and therefore the most expensive to mine. However, there are hundreds of other cryptocurrencies, many of which need different types of equipment to mine properly.
For this reason, most cryptocurrency mines are aimed at similar types of cryptocurrency, with large-scale infrastructure built around one type of mining. In most cases, that means:
- ASIC miners
- Cooling infrastructure
- Storage racks (e.g., a system to conveniently stack mining rigs)
In most cases, infrastructure also means ensuring a significant electricity supply.
For example, the Antminer S9 ASIC miner consumes 3,250 Watts for 92 terahashes per second, but will typically consume something more like 1,323 watts per hour when kept at 60 degrees. That works out to about 952 kWh per month or about 1/10 the average yearly household electricity use in the U.S.
A large crypto-mining warehouse will have hundreds or even thousands of rigs, which means you’ll need a significant and stable electricity supply.
6 Crypto Mining Warehouse Factors
Building a crypto mining warehouse can be extremely profitable. But, it’s key to optimize for efficiency, to choose location well, and to set specs that allow you to profit from the building over the full lifespan of the cryptocurrency you’re mining.
Location is important for crypto mining for multiple reasons. These include:
- Local receptivity to hosting crypto mining
- The premium on land and space
- Regulations surrounding crypto mining and electricity usage
- Local weather
For example, most industrial crypto mining warehouses aim to build in areas that are as cold as possible. This reduces the total need for cooling and enables cooling ducts to simply recirculate air through pipes rather than cool it using freon or other measures.
At the same time, most people won’t want to move to Canada, Alaska, or Siberia to build a crypto mining warehouse. For example, Texas is currently one of the most popular places for new crypto warehouses, simply because land is cheap.
- How much does land cost per acre? Most crypto facilities require at least 2.5 acres.
- How much does it cost to cool the property in summer?
In addition, crypto mining facilities do not require a retail parking space. This means you can save money by building in rural areas.
However, you’ll also have to consider if you can generate or source the kind of power you need in a rural area. For this reason, many crypto mining warehouses tend to be closer to power plants and distributors to reduce the total cost of the infrastructure they need.
A crypto mining warehouse will never be eco-friendly.
However, you can take steps to reduce the impact of the system. For example:
- Building in a colder region to reduce the cost of cooling
- Integrating electricity-generating measures such as solar panels
- Using heat pumps to help dispose of excess heat
- Locate mining centers near renewable energy farms, so the mining farm can soak up low-cost excess power during low-demand periods
- Utilize waste energy like flare gas power
Most of these measures will only be steps to mitigate the impact of the warehouse. However, those steps will also mitigate total costs – which means the mining operation will be more profitable.
For example, if you are situated in a warm area, such as Texas, a solar array can go a long way towards offsetting costs. In addition, with 10,000-100,000 square feet of roof surface at your disposal, you’ll already have a place to install that array.
Solar arrays have a rule of thumb of 20 watts per square foot – so you can expect something like a 2-megawatt installation in a 100,000 square foot roof. That’s obviously nowhere near total usage, but it will offset costs – although initial costs will be much higher.
- Cooling – Look for insulation, good water pumping, and fan-piping air to cool it
- Energy Supply – Look for areas with a large production of renewable energy and look into your own renewable energy installations
Otherwise, you’ll have to check specific local regulations for standards for energy efficiency, which may include heating and cooling for your building, insulation, and even heat sinks.
In most cases, the larger your crypto-mining facility, the better.
If you can’t afford to fit it out fully, you can always rent the space – meaning you’ll have room to expand and add on more as you start making a profit.
- Micro Farm – 50 x 60 building
- Small Farm – 60 x 100 building
- Farm – 100 x 100 building
- Industrial Farm – Multiple warehouses of 100,000 square feet + each. Most industrial-scale crypto mining facilities use 100×200 buildings, which can hold roughly 600,000 ASIC A9 miners. For example, Bitriver, one of the largest-scale mining operations in Russia, owns more than four of these facilities.
Most new farms will be smaller than an industrial complex. However, the larger you build, the more space you’ll have to grow.
In addition, you’ll have to ensure that even multistoried racking systems are able to properly cool and ventilate, with good airflow. This means it’s always better to go larger rather than smaller.
4. Site Receptivity
Most U.S.-based crypto minders do not disclose their locations or what they are doing to avoid pulling the attention of local authorities. That’s often because there’s significant resistance to crypto mining and the environmental impact that it has.
In addition, not all U.S. states allow crypto mining.
This means you’ll have to check local regulations affecting your ability to build a crypto mine in a specific region. For example, it’s banned in China, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Nepal, Qatar, and Bangladesh. The state of New York also bans most (but not all) crypto mining.
Therefore, you’ll want to assess how receptive the region is to crypto mining before building. For example, if there’s significant local resistance, it may be important to choose another location in case a new regulation bans crypto mining before your facility has paid off.
Maintaining constant and consistent humidity and temperature is important for maintaining mining rigs. Therefore, you’ll want to have insulation in addition to cooling measures.
Here, options like insulated metal panels provide a low-cost and low-installation complexity solution. However, depending on your region, more traditional insulation like batting and board inside of metal cladding may be a better solution.
Either way, it’s important to ensure that you have taken insulation into account when building your facility.
6. Integrated Cooling
Crypto mining machines generate massive quantities of heat which means that integrating cooling into your structure will be one of the most important parts of the crypto mining warehouse.
For example, it’s standard Bitcoin mining practice to integrate heatsinks, liquid cooling, and fan cooling into a warehouse. This can also include climate control with standard HVAC systems – and these may be necessary depending on the climate.
- Concrete Sinks – These heat sinks are built into the foundation and are sized based on the facility and the climate – with the intent of sinking heat into the ground.
- Water Cooling – Water is pumped through the facility and usually underground to sink heat, effectively and cheaply cooling the facility.
- Fan Cooling – Large fans reduce air temperature and usually push air through underground or exterior pipes to vent heat before circulating the air back inside.
Each of these offers a lower-cost cooling option than traditional HVAC systems. And, because efficiency is the primary goal in building a crypto mining facility or warehouse, integrating these features is important.
That also means:
- Installing racks for mining machines with enough space for good airflow
- Taking cooling into consideration when building the foundation. E.g., a basement foundation with room for water circulation under the rigs is more expensive but may be cheaper than trying to cool water at the surface level
- Investing attention in HVAC and air circulation when choosing and setting up building layout
Your actual cooling needs will depend a lot on the size of the facility, the physical location of the facility, and what type of mining rigs you’re using. However, you will need cooling and a lot of it.
Largest Crypto Mining Facilities In The World
Crypto mining is an industrial application, with some single facilities responsible for as much as 4% of all Bitcoin hashing.
With the recent surge in regulation around cryptocurrency mining, farms are no longer disclosing their location or their size. However, in 2021, the largest crypto mining facilities in the world were:
- Genesis Mining Farm – The Genesis Mining Farm in Reykjavik, Iceland is one of the largest cloud mining facilities in the world, offering rented mining capacity on a global scale. It’s unknown how large the facilities are. Genesis also has facilities in Canada.
- Bitriver – Bitriver’s mining facility in Bratsk, Russia is a Bitcoin mining data center, which rents out crypto mining capability to consumers. The facility uses 100,000+ megawatts per year – with an estimated output of 600 bitcoins per month.
- Moscow Facility – An unnamed facility in Moscow is estimated to mine some 600 bitcoins per month. However, the facility stays quiet about its location and owners.
- Dalian, China – A facility with control over 3% of all Bitcoin mining based in Dalian, China. This facility is estimated to have a hashrate of 360,000 TH and an estimated output of 750 BTC per month.
- Rockdale, Texas, U.S.A. – Rockdale is home to some of the largest bitcoin mining facilities in the world, with some boasting 68,000 machines. The facility relies on cheap gas for electricity and underground heat sinks.
In addition, some of the largest U.S. companies include:
- Riot Blockchain – Riot owns some 88,000+ mining rigs, with headquarters primarily in Rockdale, Texas. Its largest facility hosts some 38,300 computers.
- Marathon Digital Holdings – Marathon Digital Holdings owns roughly 2.1% of the total Bitcoin hash rate, with facilities in South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, and Texas.
- Cipher – Cipher is the third largest bitcoin mining company on the market, with an estimated market value of $640,000,000.
- Canaan – Canaan is a formerly Chinese-based crypto mining organization that moved to the Cayman Islands following the ban on crypto mining in China. In 2022, it was estimated to have $1.42 billion in revenue.
- Hut 8 Corp – Hut 8 Corp is a merger between U.S. Bitcoin Corp and Hut 8 Mining Corp that happened in 2023, creating the largest crypto mining company in the U.S.
Is Crypto Mining Illegal?
Crypto mining is not regulated in much of the world. However, it is actually illegal in many areas.
For example, it is illegal to mine bitcoin and other similar cryptocurrency in:
- Saudi Arabia
- Central African Republic
Bitcoin is also illegal in the United States state of New York. That new regulation has led many cryptocurrency farms to stop disclosing location and facility size, mostly in a bid to avoid drawing attention to the size of their facilities.
Working With Us
Rex Metal Buildings is specialized in cryptocurrency mining warehouse construction, with prefab building kits and erection services available in all 50 states.
As a trusted supplier, we can offer solutions to businesses of all sizes, nationwide.