Officials from Griffin Blockchain Services, Inc., a blockchain group that plans to operate out of the former AmerisourceBergen building in downtown Paducah, gave a presentation Thursday on the basics of blockchain technology and how it relates to the rapidly growing cryptocurrency market.
About 50 people attended the seminar hosted by the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce. Knowledge of blockchain and cryptocurrency among the crowd ranged from the novice level still deciphering the two terms to some running their own small-scale cryptocurrency mining operation.
Qianjie “QJ” Zhao and Dennis Zhang, CEO and CFO of Griffin Blockchain Services, also shared insight into their company and what drew them to Paducah.
Zhang said he hopes business owners and entrepreneurs learn how they can apply blockchain technology to improve their businesses.
“I think it’s important, whatever your business, to think about how, you know, ‘how [could] does my business benefit from this new technology? and how it could potentially benefit you,” Zhang said.
Zhang explained that blockchain is a digitally distributed ledger that stores information such as transaction records. Rather than storing data in a centralized ledger, blockchain data is stored on a network of computers.
Because blockchains are stored on multiple networks, Zhang said it’s nearly impossible to hack blockchains. If a hacker accesses a blockchain on one computer, there will always be many, if not millions, copies of the good blockchain stored on other networks.
Blockchain technology and its decentralized nature are commonly used with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Zhang said. Blockchains keep track of Bitcoin transactions between different users. Without a centralized location such as a bank for transactions, cryptocurrency users can bypass an intermediary and transfer funds directly to each other, Zhang said.
Because of its ability to leave digital traces, Zhang said blockchain technology could also be used outside of cryptocurrency. For example, blockchains could be used to show someone donating to charity exactly where the money is going and how a donation is being used, Zhang said.
Zhao described the basic Bitcoin mining process and why the company is interested in investing in it. Computer systems solve a series of complex equations to “mine” Bitcoins. The miners then get rewards for mining Bitcoins, and also get a portion of sales from future Bitcoin transactions, Zhao said.
Zhao said that there are only 21 million Bitcoins, and about 20 million have already been mined. Mining the remaining Bitcoins is a process that could take more than a century and requires large-scale, power-intensive computer systems. Zhao said Griffin would like the facility to use up to 40 megawatts to operate its mining operation.
In an effort to attract more cryptocurrency businesses to the state, Kentucky enacted a law in 2021 granting sales tax and using tax exemptions on commercial property and electricity used by cryptocurrency companies. blockchain for cryptocurrency mining purposes. Governor Andy Beshear also signed a bill in 2021 that extends clean energy incentives for businesses to large-scale cryptocurrency installations.
Zhang said Griffin Blockchain Services looked at a few different locations in the United States to build their headquarters, but ultimately chose to start in Paducah because the state is crypto-friendly, local regulations would help their business, and that there is an ‘abundant’ supply of electricity. and land for the business.
Zhao said Griffin Blockchain Services plans to start mining in the former AmerisourceBergen building in March.