The centre already consumes 11 megawatts of power as the country seeks to embrace blockchain as part of its economic infrastructure.
Oman, a small oil-rich nation in the Arabian Gulf, has launched a new data processing and cryptocurrency mining centre, according to local news source Oman Observer.
The centre, known as The Afaaq for Advanced Technologies, was inaugurated in the Salalah Free Zone, and it already consumes 11 megawatts of power. The pilot currently has 2,000 machines online and is poised to have 15,000 online by October 2023.
Mining hardware at the centre is supplied by Bitmain, which uses hydro technology to improve operational efficiency.
The $370 million centre is the second of its kind to open in the country in recent months. In November 2022, the country inaugurated the Al-Madina Al-Khadraa data processing centre, which is currently valued at $389,607,353.
The new centres reflect Oman’s goal to boost its economy outside of oil. The Omani government is now actively working with Exahertz, the company behind the centre, alongside other stakeholders to attract foreign investment and leverage submarine cables.
Blockchain tech is the ‘bedrock’ of the digital economy
Jad Kharma, the Founder of Axeron and CEO of Exahertz, emphasised the growing significance of blockchain tech, stating: “It is with great conviction that I underscore the immense significance of blockchain computing as the bedrock of the digital economy. This technology empowers us to make further investments in web 3.0, Industry 4.0, and AI infrastructure, propelling us into a new era of innovation and growth.”
“Blockchain, hyperscale and energy are becoming synonymous,” Kharma added.
The Gulf has a taken a divided approach to blockchain. The UAE and Oman have taken tolerant approaches to Web3, encouraging innovation and regulation, but in July, the nation of Kuwait banned all crypto activity in a bid to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
Kuwait, which belongs to the same GCC economic area as Oman, recently prohibited all virtual asset licenses, as well as both transactions and investments, including a ban on “all virtual currency/asset mining activities” within the country.
With support from both the government and private sector, Oman is positioned to become an important player in blockchain tech in years to come.
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