Announced on October 13th, cryptocurrency mining firm Marathon Patent Group has formed a strategic partnership with Beowulf Energy, a power infrastructure company based in the U.S., to launch a new Bitcoin mining farm.
The joint venture will see the firms establish a data center in Montana, nearby Beowulf's Hardin Generating Station, where electricity can be obtained at a rate of $0.028/kWh.
The company plans on deploying 11,500 next generation S19 Pro Antminers over the next nine months. Collectively, the machines will be able to generate up to 1.265 exahashes per second, or just under 1% of Bitcoin's total hash rate as per BitInfo. In total, the mining facility will have the capacity to deploy up to 30,000 S19 Pro Antminers, which can generate 3.320 exahashes per second.
This latest investment in Bitcoin mining comes as a number of other firms have made large purchases of ASIC machines.
In August, Riot Blockchain bought $17.7 million worth of the machines, a month after Core Scientific purchased 17,600 units of Bitmain's newest SHA-256 machines.
Marathon's commitment to expand its mining operations underscores a trend of consistent growth in the Bitcoin hash rate.
Cryptocurrency research firm Arcane Research confirmed on October 13th that Bitcoin's seven-day average hash rate just set a new all-time high above 140 exahashes per second, scoring 36% higher than at the beginning of the year.
The hash rate is a metric that measures how much computational power is being used to mine Bitcoin blocks at any moment in time. It also serves as a key indicator of the network's health: the higher the Bitcoin hash rate, the more energy (and therefore cost) is required for a potential malicious actor to attack the blockchain.
At press time, the cost of attacking the Bitcoin network for one hour hovers at around $616,500 according to data site Crypto51 - a cost that is largely understood to be economically unfeasible for an attacker. At Bitcoin's current hash rate, it would further be highly impractical for a single entity to amass the hash power required to attempt an attack in the first place.