The town whose population has dropped by 98%, and has now turned to crypto

A long-abandoned mill in a small, shrinking Canadian town is getting a fresh lease of life…

An all-but-abandoned town in Canada is enjoying a surprise fresh lease of life, courtesy of the cryptocurrency industry.

Ocean Falls, in the British Columbia area of the country, was a town that had a wood mill at its heart. The mill used to produce paper, but has been out of operation since the 1980s. As a consequence, the small industry around it declined, and took the town’s population with it.

Ocean Falls once had a population of 5000. Today, that number stands at 100.

But over the summer, as per a report at Bloomberg, a man called Kevin Day finally find a new use for the mill. He’s installed hundreds of small computers, as part of a new cryptocurrency mining installation, with the machines running day and night to try and mine new Bitcoins.

The attractiveness to Day for his operation is that the cost of power in Ocean Falls is cheap. That said, it’s still taken over two years to convert a floor of the mill into a data centre, and only this summer did things get to a point where the new servers could be switched on. Cryptocurrency prices have fluctuated an awful lot in that time.

Whilst it’s unlikely that the mine will generate an abundance of jobs and revive the town, it still comes across a positive step forward for a small part of the planet that’s been through its fair share of troubles.

The full story of Ocean Falls Blockchain, the name of the company that the mining operation has been set up under, is in the aforementioned Bloomberg article, and it’s a fascinating read. You can find it here.

Image: Les Marston/Ocean Falls Facebook