An Irish crypto-entrepreneur researched over 100 countries before deciding to headquarter his ‘green mining’ business on the Rock due its regulatory framework.
Gibraltar was the first country in the world to introduce Distributed Ledger Technology regulations last January and so far close to 30 businesses have applied for licences locally.
Irish businessman Joseph Deignan has owned a solar panel company for the past 15 years and now wants to turn his hand to a “green mining” business.
Cryptocurrency mining is a method of receiving digital coins as payment for solving complicated mathematical problems.
But the process of mining uses a high volume of electricity as specialised computers are left plugged in to work on the problem solving for days on end.
Mr Deignan has seen a window of opportunity to offer an environmentally friendly power source for these crypto-miners through his solar and hydro power plant business.
His company H2SOL has applied for a DLT licence under the new Gibraltar regulatory framework. The power plants that run in central and Eastern Europe aim to have its headquarters in Gibraltar, and as well as offices for a DLT ‘hub’.
“We are always on the look-out for innovatory paths and the solar industry has slowed down slightly so when looking for new adventures and opportunities we discovered the world of cryptocurrency and the emerging problem of the spiralling energy use,” Mr Deignan said.
“It seems like something that the downtime of our renewable energy plants could feed their power into to solve a new emerging world problem.”
Mr Deignan explained the energy could be used to power cryptocurrency mining, and to his knowledge this will be the world’s first integrated renewable energy and crypto-mining platform.
“What we would deploy in Gibraltar is our backend development teams who are developing blockchain for the next generation,” Mr Deignan said.
“We are seeing a lot of change at the moment and to date blockchain has been driven by the value of cryptocurrencies. That no longer is a reliable driver. Gibraltar is a unique jurisdiction which is extremely hospitable to people who think innovatively like ourselves.”
“Apart from our energy team that we’ve had for 15 years, our crypto team is stitched onto that. The team have been five years in the crypto business developing ground breaking products as the Trezor, the first hardware wallet for Bitcoin. Our team are hugely advanced.”
Mr Deignan added his crypto team are excited to start working in a place as “welcoming and supportive” as Gibraltar and will create a hub for DLT strat-ups.
Mr Deignan called the DLT start-up failure rate “astonishing” and as part of his company he will host a business hub on the Rock to aid emerging crypto-businesses.
“Everything we learn we want to distribute and help increase the rate of start-ups where we will support, mentor, train and fund them,” he said.
Outside of Gibraltar Mr Deignan has ensured his business will be very environmentally conscious.
He described how Gibraltar lacks the space and optimum climate conditions for the renewable energy plants.
Crypto mining on a large scale can cause computers to create excess heat meaning mining spaces would be best placed in central Europe next to Mr Deignan’s hydro power plants by the cool rivers.
The excess heat will be used to supply Mr Deignan’s ‘vertical farms’ where the company will be growing tomatoes and cucumbers in units beside in the mining spaces.
“We are trying to be triply environmentally secure,” Mr Deignan said.
“In terms of physical assets there not much we can do on the Rock, but what we can do here is deploy a lot of human personnel due to the supportive climate, the regulatory framework, and the wonderful cluster of best practice operators.”