CryptoWatt LLC has put a "we’re hiring" shingle outside their new door at the former MSE Technologies building south of Butte.
According to Matt Vincent, the new spokesperson for CryptoWatt, the bitcoin and data center company expects to fill about 20 positions within the next few months.
The data center technician jobs will pay from $15 to $30 an hour and will include benefits, Vincent said. The work requires troubleshooting high-level technical problems. A college degree is not necessary.
The company is also looking to fill one senior research and training manager position. Vincent could not say what that position will pay but said it would be a higher wage job than the hourly workers'.
“These jobs are available for anybody with a knack for computers and a desire to work in a fast-paced environment,” Vincent said.
Vincent said the target date for the company to be up and running and ready to mine bitcoins at the former MSE Technologies campus is still set for this spring.
The bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that has been around since 2008, but its value soared last year. Recently, the value of the bitcoin has been volatile. Currently, the price of one bitcoin is $8,494, according to bitcoin.com. The currency’s worth topped $19,000 late last year.
Vincent said the recent slide in the worth of one bitcoin “hasn’t affected any schedule, timeframe, or enthusiasm” for CryptoWatt’s move into Butte.
Vincent also said the company is expected to use 30 megawatts of power to start. One of the reasons the former MSE campus is attractive to CryptoWatt is because of an electrical substation that already exists on the campus. Currently large-scale bitcoin mining is using as much electricity as some medium-sized countries, according to The New York Times. The computer power needed to mine one bitcoin eats up as much electricity as one household uses in two years, the Times reported last month.
CryptoWatt is a subsidiary of The Burrell Group, headed by New Mexico investor Dan Burrell.
Cryptocurrency projects are not without critics. The Bonner-based bitcoin company Project Spokane has faced considerable criticism over noise complaints in Bonner since it began mining the online currency last year. Project Spokane bought new fans recently in response to the noise concerns, according to recent reports in The Missoulian.
Montana has become attractive to bitcoin companies because of the colder weather and also because of inexpensive electricity.
Bitcoin mining is not like traditional mining. Large buildings host thousands of computer servers which complete complex calculations and record bitcoin transactions. The result is that the owners of those servers earn bitcoins.
The bitcoin is not a form of currency a person can hold in their hand. But Goldman Sachs Group Inc., one of Wall Street’s biggest companies, is gearing up to trade in bitcoins starting in June 2018, according to BloombergMarkets.com. Some companies, such as Microsoft, now recognize bitcoins as payment for transactions.
CryptoWatt LLC first made the local news a few months ago when it purchased Anaconda’s W.K. Dwyer School for $205,000 from Anaconda’s School Board. At that time, the company went by the name BitPower LLC.
The company changed its name last month because it found unrelated companies elsewhere in the world with the same name. Vincent said the company is still considering “what the use is and what role (the Dwyer School) will play” in the overall project. Company representatives, which originally included Anaconda slag entrepreneur Rick Tabish, said the school would be a training center for bitcoin mining. Tabish no longer represents the company.
CryptoWatt is also working toward building a server farm in Anaconda's Mill Creek Tax Increment Finance District (TIFID), a special tax district designed to generate new business prospects, east of Anaconda.