COSHOCTON − A cutting edge technological firm in an emerging industry opened a new facility Monday in Coshocton. It’s one of the largest of its kind in Ohio.
Standard Power held a ribbon cutting at its blockchain and data center at 500 N. Fourth St., on the grounds of the former WestRock papermill that closed in 2015. Standard Power bought the property in October 2018 and former Mayor Steve Mercer first touted the firm coming to town in his State of the City address in January 2019.
The event included exhibits and demonstrations related to immersion cooling, miner maintenance and management and the advantages of having a Bitcoin mining data center in Ohio. Formal comments were made by local and state officials, including Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.
“There’s a natural transition going on between the old way of doing business and the new way of doing business. I find it incredibly ironic this is the site of a former papermill and now it’s a site of digital paper, so to speak,” Husted said. “This site’s legacy is that it needed a lot of energy for its previous function as a papermill and it also requires a lot of energy to do its new function with blockchain technology. We can leverage existing infrastructure for these new types of applications.”
Blockchain is the creation of a public, digital ledger that can be used for data and digital transactions. Because it creates extra security and saves time and cost, the technology is increasingly being used to transfer car titles, record real estate transactions and automate government records. It’s also being used in payment processing, legal contracts, health care recordkeeping, data sharing and digital identification. Ohio law even allows local governments to use blockchain technology.
Currently, the Coshocton site is dedicated to Bitcoin, but Standard Power CEO Max Serezhin said creating a traditional artificial intelligence data center is a goal for the future. The facility has about 20 employees, but Serezhin hopes to have more than 100 employees by the end of next year.
Standard Power has 50 mw now for data mining and is developing 700 mw at the burgeoning Conesville Industrial Park, former home to an American Electric Power coal-fired plant. Serezhin said they’re already hiring for that project, which should be live by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
Standard Power ribbon cutting
Standard Power CEO Max Serezhin and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted speak at the ribbon cutting for Standard Power in Coshocton, a new bitcoin and blockchain operation.
Leonard L. Hayhurst, Coshocton Tribune
Serezhin said Standard Power was looking at 15 to 20 sites around the country. They took into consideration energy markets, local environments and available infrastructure. He said the open arms of the local community was a big factor for Coshocton.
“They mayor and the community representatives when we started were really supportive. A place that doesn’t see a lot of technology sometimes is challenged to accept new things. What we saw were people interested, curious, hopeful and wanting to learn and wanting to be involved. We didn’t see people antagonistic to us,” Serezhin said. “A lot of people who are scared of change, they don’t know what it is and they don’t want anything to do with it. This is definitely not that type of place.”
Mayor Mark Mills said the future is now for Coshocton. He’s appreciative of the commitment Standard Power and the Ohio Blockchain Council has shown the community. With the new Intel chip plant coming to Licking County less than an hour away, Mills hopes Standard Power is the first of many new companies looking at the region for location.
“Coshocton is open for business and we welcome any new idea or any new business. We’re definitely poised for the future,” Mills said.
Andrew Burchwell of the Ohio Blockchain Council said there are several small blockchain operations in Ohio, but the new one in Coshocton is one of the largest and one that shows the potential for Ohio to grow in the blockchain field. He believes there are hundreds of small towns like Coshocton across the state with the right elements blockchain developers are looking for. The recently formed organization will join industry leaders and blockchain and bitcoin developers to present a unified voice championing advancement of the technology in Ohio.
“If people recognize the underutilized power potential and infrastructure already here in Ohio, it’s going to be a gold rush of companies into Ohio to build infrastructure, to provide jobs and to create data centers that will allow Ohio to be one of the strongest states for this industry,” Burchwell said.
Leonard Hayhurst is a community content coordinator and general news reporter for the Coshocton Tribune with close to 15 years of local journalism experience and multiple awards from the Ohio Associated Press. He can be reached at 740-295-3417 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @llhayhurst.