Cryptocurrency is one of the many things created in Arkansas these days, as this paper reported last month, but did you know an Arkansas company founded by veterans is operating three data centers here, along with a warehouse location in Malvern?
Cryptic Farms, established in Malvern a year ago, has hubs in Greenbrier, Russellville and Mountain Pine, as well as its downtown Malvern site. “In terms of size, we will be a large player here in Arkansas,” founder and owner Cameron Baker said.
“We got in here last year, and we had some growing pains in the beginning and had to figure out who our community was and who the stakeholders were,” he said.
Baker, along with Tom Harford, who is overseeing the Malvern operation, said company officials spent a lot of time explaining their neighborly vision of cryptocurrency mining, which in other circumstances can be loud and environmentally demanding. They’re “missionaries” for what they see as a better process, one it relies on as its “primary revenue-generating line.”
Baker, an Air Force veteran and Columbia University graduate, said “being good neighbors” is a point of pride. “That’s why we’ve used specific design elements like immersion cooling to ensure our operations are quiet and appropriate to the area,” he said.
That spirit of engagement also has Cryptic Farms leading the charge to create a trade association, the Arkansas Blockchain Council. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies rely on blockchain technology to create value and log transactions. The Rose Law Firm of Little Rock is helping develop the council, Harford said.
“Our goal would be to have representation from state-based academics, workforce development leaders, utility officials, miners, site development and services professionals, and, most importantly, key members of the community to ensure everyone has a seat at the table.”
Cryptic Farms has also been involved in a Public Service Commission docket to establish a bulk electricity tariff for companies requiring 150 megawatts of power or more to run their crypto data centers. That required shepherding the rate through regulatory review and working with Entergy Arkansas to “find an equitable solution for the utility and crypto data centers,” Harford said.
Baker said the environment isn’t perfect, “but we need Arkansas to be open for business so we can restore these … old industrial sites to their former state and bring good jobs back.”