Coinbase invests in US-based mining firm amid industry diversification efforts
Coinbase Ventures, the investment arm of the major crypto exchange, has invested an undisclosed amount into Titan, a developer of software and services targeted at industrial Bitcoin (BTC) mining.
According to Titan’s announcement, the investment will help continue development of the company’s products and improve efficiency and profitability of Bitcoin mining companies.
Ryan Condron, co-founder and CEO of Titan, said that “mining has advanced from hobby, to industry, to critical global computing infrastructure, and Titan is prepared to help world-class miners meet these challenges.”
Titan offers advanced pool and mining software targeted specifically for professional U.S.-based miners. Its network of nodes and mining dashboards allows miners to better compete on a global scale, according to the company.
Previously, Titan launched the Titan Pool in collaboration with CoinMint and CoreScientific, two major mining infrastructure providers in the U.S. Among the benefits offered by the pool, Titan cites better transparency and, crucially, solving some jurisdictional issues for U.S. miners.
China currently accounts for the vast majority of the Bitcoin hashrate. The relative dominance can be attributed to a combination of attractive electricity costs and a localized supply chain.
The Sichuan region is particularly attractive for miners due to its cheap hydroelectric power. Its importance is so pronounced that local seasons have a strong effect on Bitcoin’s hash rate. But cheap electricity is not unique to China, with some regions in the U.S., Canada and Europe being just as competitive.
The mining supply chain, on the other hand, sees a much stronger dominance of Chinese companies. Mining hardware manufacturers are almost exclusively based in China. This gives local miners a powerful home field advantage, as there may be difficulties in exporting and importing certain chips and devices. Though the U.S. is catching up in terms of mining hash rate, accounting for 14% of the total, local firms are still using Chinese-made devices.
This may be particularly problematic in today’s geopolitical environment, where the U.S. is actively banning Chinese-made products and services, and going as far as prohibiting investment in Chinese companies. The mining industry has already begun responding, with some operators repatriating hash rate. Though the departure of President Trump may help ease tensions somewhat, some analysts believe that there may be no reset in sight for the U.S.-China relations.
Titan is primarily focusing on the software side of the mining supply chain, offering a national pool for miners to join. There have also been some developments in local maintenance infrastructure, with Bitmain offering technician certification courses in the U.S. in May 2020.
Interest in diversifying the mining industry away from China’s dominance appears to be high, but full independence is unlikely to be achieved until ASIC manufacturers from other countries step in.
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