Star Trek legend William Shatner, who plays Captain Kirk in the popular series about interstellar space travel, has become the spokesperson for Vancouver-based Solar Alliance which is building a solar-powered Bitcoin mining farm in an abandoned factory in Murphysboro, Illinois.
Captain Kirk’s phrase “beam me up Scotty” has become part of the American lexicon, and it appears he will now be “beaming up Bitcoin”.
Shatner’s involvement with Solar Alliance began after it installed solar panels on his home in California. He said the concept of cryptocurrency mining was initially strange to him as he did not really understand it, but has since warmed up to the idea. He has even considered visiting the mining facility once it becomes operational.
Bitcoin mining requires a tremendous amount of electricity usage, which has been criticized as damaging to the environment since the burning of fossil fuels to provide the electricity releases carbon dioxide which induces global warming, in addition to toxic chemicals. Using solar energy to power Bitcoin mining would avoid these detrimental effects.
The CEO of Solar Alliance, Jason Bak, chose Illinois because if the state’s policy that subsidizes renewable energy by mandating that utility companies buy it. Solar Alliance is setting up a 14-acre solar panel array; some of its generated electricity will probably be sold to electricity companies to help pay for the operation.
Will Stephens, the Mayor of Murphysboro, offered the 165,000 square foot abandoned factory for free to Solar Alliance, believing the Bitcoin mining farm’s use of renewable energy would stimulate the local economy. He says his city has seen a lot of job loss due to changes in the global economy.
Solar Alliance will be setting up the Bitcoin mining infrastructure but won’t be mining itself. Instead, it will lease out space to mining firms. It expects to start getting tenants by the end of 2018.
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