A Russian crypto mining company, created with the participation of the country’s internet ombudsman Dmitry Marinichev, is setting up a Bitcoin mining center in an aluminum plant, and has set lofty goals on cornering 20% of the Bitcoin mining market. The Russian Mining Company (RMC) will use the Nadvoitsky Aluminum Plant in Karelia for its activities, which was mothballed in 2018 after American sanctions forced it to close, as it attempts to establish a strong foothold in the industry.
RMC Gunning for the Top Spot
RMC is a combined effort between Marinichev; Radius Group companies; SmartHeat, a chip developer; and Goodwin, a telecommunications equipment manufacturer. In mid-2017, RMC raised $43 million during an ICO, making it the largest Russian ICO to date, and later that year opened a mining farm at the Moscow technopolis, a former Moskvich automobile plant. RMC state that they expect to achieve a Bitcoin mining pool power of up to 20%, which by current statistics would take them above F2Pool, BTC.om, and AntPool and into second place. However, the biggest pool currently belongs to a multitude of miners under the term ‘unknown’, of which RMC could already be contributing, meaning that they could conceivably jump to the top of the tree once they throw the power switch. Some are a little more skeptical of RMC’s plans, however. President of the Russian Association of Cryptoeconomics and Blockchain (RACIB) Yuri Pripachkin told the Russian news website RBC that “it is realistic to focus on 5–7% of the total volume”, with electricity costs playing a big part in how fully operational the plant can become.
From Aluminum to Irony
The Nadvoitsky plant is owned by Rusal, the world’s second largest aluminum producer, but was forced to cease operations in April 2018 as raw materials and customers dried up after the US imposed sanctions. It is with some irony then that a section of the vast plant will be used for mining Bitcoin, which it has long been suspected Russian authorities are using to circumvent the very same sanctions that forced its closure. Nadvoitsky might be the newest, but it might not be the largest Bitcoin mining facility in the country, after the opening of the Kirishi facility in August last year, which also happens to be the world’s biggest mining farm.