bitcoin mining
(Mike Allen)

So it seems Pryor has struck gold, or digital gold I suppose, with the announcement this past week that computer software company Northern Data is planning to build its North American headquarters at the MidAmerica Industrial Park in Oklahoma.

Among the company’s current services is providing infrastructure for bitcoin miners. And, as you may have heard, cryptocurrencies are kind of big business at the moment, both nationally and worldwide.

Why Pryor, Oklahoma, you may ask? Well, bitcoin mining takes a lot of energy to conduct at a large scale — an enormous amount, really. One British study found that every single bitcoin transaction requires about $176 worth of electricity.

Pryor’s MidAmerica Industrial Park just happens to be a customer of the Grand River Dam Authority, the state-owned utility that provides low-cost, reliable energy to municipalities and corporate customers.

A quick glance at the Northern Data website shows that this kind of service is not necessarily what they want to be doing long-term, or at least it doesn’t appear to be as big a part of their business model in the future. Among the other things listed are cloud computing, quantum computing, and developing artificial intelligence for … computing. Interestingly, a debate is brewing about whether advancements in quantum computing could eventually break the blockchains of cryptocurrency.

So how large of a boon will Northern Data’s new North American headquarters be for our state? I’m not sure most people will be thinking about it past this next week, but the development will be something to keep an eye on as a bellwether for future tech companies considering whether to local within state borders. Perhaps the federal government will claim only it has jurisdiction over regulating bitcoin mining in Indian Country? Personally, I’m just wondering if I can do some gaming on the Northern Data platform.

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