Marathon Digital Holdings, a digital asset technology company specializing in cryptocurrency mining, has partnered with Zero Two blockchain startup to create the first large-scale immersion Bitcoin mining enterprise in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
The companies have formed a joint venture named Abu Dhabi Global Markets JV Entity (the “ADGM Entity”) that will handle the development and operation of two mining facilities with a combined capacity of 250 megawatts and expected combined hash rate of approximately 7EH/s. The 200MW site will be established in Masdar City, a sustainability-focused research hub and a clean-tech cluster located next to the Abu Dhabi airport. The smaller one, with a 50MW capacity, will be developed in Abu Dhabi’s Mina Zayed port zone. Both sites will use excess energy from the city grid, increasing its base load (the minimum level of demand) and sustainability.
Zero Two, the company launched for this specific project, holds an 80% stake in the equity, while Marathon owns the remaining 20%. Companies estimate their aggregate contribution in 2023 at $406 million in cash and in kind, including equipment and infrastructure. The assets mined in the facilities will be distributed twice monthly between both partners, according to their stake in the project.
The enterprise is unique in its scale, considering the challenges. Mining cryptocurrency in a desert climate is demanding to say the least, and infeasible in an air-cooled environment. This limitation prompted both companies to develop a custom immersion solution to provide the required thermal conditions for ASIC miners and proprietary software for optimizing their performance. Zero Two and Marathon ran a successful pilot program that tested the feasibility of scaling their system to a 250MW facility.
Immersion mining is an approach whereby mining rigs are submerged in a thermally conductive liquid, typically dielectric oil, that absorbs the heat generated by the machines. Unlike air miners, liquid-cooled ASICs can operate in extreme weather conditions without running the risk of being overheated.
ADGM Entity has already ordered the necessary mining equipment and infrastructure and commenced the construction of both mining sites. The company expects that the facilities become leading crypto mining operations worldwide with regard to energy efficiency and the level of technological advancement.