Oman is making a bold move to influence crypto and smart tech markets in the GCC.
H.E. Sheikh Mansour Bin Taleb Bin Ali Al Hinai, Chairman of Oman’s Authority for Public Services Regulations, stated publicly about his country’s government support of privately-owned bitcoin mining facilities. These are expected to attract a total investment of over $1.1 billion.
The new cryptocurrency mining center is the second such facility to open in the country in the past 10 months.
“This initiative aligns with our goal to diversify our economy, integrating modern technologies while upholding our commitment to ethical and sustainable practices,” he said.
The decision follows rigorous regulatory discussions dating back to 2019. Eventually, Oman found bitcoin to be in line with Islamic law and accepted its intended use.
The Sultanate of Oman is a nation of 4.5 million people with a rich history and today is competing for influence in the crypto economy.
The GCC country has the lowest GDP among its peers. Oman does have oil reserves, constituting about 70% of its revenue and nearly 30% of its GDP. but enjoys a low unemployment rate of only 3.7%, despite a dearth of employment opportunities. It is estimated that 24% of Omani graduates specialize in computer science, yet only a fraction of those are successful in securing relevant jobs.
Crypto technology projects like this one hope to change that.
Exahertz, a homegrown startup, is establishing a pilot bitcoin mining site of 11 MW capacity, coupled with ambitious plans to expand to 800 MW.
Exahertz received its license from local regulators in September 2022 and delivered an operational pilot within 22 days.
Bitcoin mining, with its ability to function as a “load balancer” for power networks, can aid in reducing fluctuations in electricity supply. By adjusting mining intensity based on the available energy, these operations can help in maintaining a stable power supply, thereby ensuring grid stability.
The infrastructure for this project will also support future technological endeavors like data centers for supercomputers and machine learning projects.
More about the project
The data hosting and cryptocurrency mining center was opened in the Salalah Free Zone, a special economic zone in the country with low corporate taxes. Exahertz will run the center in cooperation with Dubai-headquartered blockchain company Moonwalk Systems.
The center came with a price tag of around $350 million to build and it will use the latest mining hardware from Bitmain Technologies. It plans to set up some 15,000 mining machines by October 2023, from some 2,000 machines currently.
Another mining center opened in November 2022, this one with a price tag of $389 million.
Last July 27, Oman launched a consultation paper on a national crypto framework.
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