For a year after Bitmain has set up an office in Norway, the general manager has left, and the office has moved to Germany. Both the government’s data center policy and the failing bitcoin price gets the blame.
-Bitmain has stopped all operations in Norway, and has moved its head office to Germany, says former Norwegian manager of the company, Julie Hvideberg.
She has now quit her job for one year after Bitmain started in Norway. It is a result of the government deciding that cryptocurrency-based data centers have to pay full electricity tax, as opposed to traditional data centers.
The decision has been highly controversial and has been widely criticized by the power and data center industry.
Bitmain is the producer of the mining machine Antminer, which is the most widely used machine for the extraction of Bitcoin.
-There is no focus on Norway anymore, as we look at the Norwegian market as too uncertain. When I worked with politicians, I was constantly told that the case was postponed, which made the job difficult.
Deposits have been a red thread through the political treatment of the matter of electricity tax for the cryptocurrency mining center.
In early February, the expected news came that the Ministry of Finance postponed the introduction of the decision and that the Ministry is working on a proposal that will be sent out for consultation “as soon as possible.”
-It is better in Germany where the industry is legal, and it is also much cheaper than in Norway, says Hvideberg who is now working in Telia, which she also did before she took the lead job in Bitmain.
Considering evacuating to Sweden
The price of bitcoin has fallen from the peak value of $ 19,783 last year to below $ 4,000, which means that the profitability of mining Bitcoin has decreased significantly in a very short time.
Bitmain even operates two of the world’s largest so-called “bitcoin pools”, that is, groups that combine bitcoin extraction and stock revenues, and planned to unite forces with Norwegian data centers on recovery.
Recently, several international cryptocurrency companies have been looking for other places to operate, and the neighbor country Sweden is a good option for many new customers.
Hvideberg says Bitmain considered Sweden, but due to the low bitcoin price, countries like Russia and China are more likely to be the main sites for “bitcoin Pools”.
Several companies are escaping
When E24 talked to Bitmain in the summer of 2018, the company was in contact with Norwegian partners about three possible locations in Western Norway where the plan was to extract bitcoin, and when Hvideberg left the company, all processes with Norwegian companies were temporarily suspended.
ICOshock has tried to contact Bitmain’s office in China, but has not received a reply.
Analysts in Bernstein last year estimated that Bitmains has a market share of extraction machines globally of between 70 and 80 percent.
But Bitmain is not the first Bitcoin company to leave Norway.
Recently, it was known that Norway’s largest production company for Bitcoin, Kryptovault, lost its only customer in the Japanese GMO Internet Group, according to Dagens Næringsliv.
The government’s proposal to allow crypto companies to pay full electricity tax also contributed to GMO Internet t withdraw from the cooperation.
It is not just the crypto companies that seem to be worried about the government’s plan to increase the electric fee. A consolidated data center industry believes it is damaging the industry, and Statkraft, Europe’s biggest supplier of renewable energy believes the disputed crypto tax gives Norway a scratch in the paint.
“We are anxious about the situation as it is today because it seems that the operational part of the data center industry is very difficult to achieve in Norway,” says Atle Haga who leads Statkraft’s project to attract more companies from the power industry to the country.