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GMO Internet plans fund-style bitcoin mining business

Japanese company to spend $90m on mining center, proprietary chips

Specialized computers at a bitcoin mining farm in Iceland run by China's Bitmain.   © AP

TOKYO -- Japanese internet service company GMO Internet said Wednesday it will invest 10 billion yen ($90.4 million) in a new bitcoin mining business that will operate in part like a fund, soliciting capital from investors and paying them in the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoins are mined, or created, via the process of recording new transactions on the distributed ledger known as the blockchain. The first miner to solve a complex math problem is rewarded with new bitcoin.

Tokyo-based GMO plans to start up by next June a mining center in northern Europe using its own cutting-edge processors. The 10 billion yen figure includes the cost of establishing the facility and developing the chips.

The company plans to sell bitcoin mining equipment featuring the new chips as well.

GMO intends to raise funds for the project from individuals and other investors, though it has not said when or how much. The company plans to pay out mined bitcoins as a sort of dividend.

"We aim to make the mining business profitable from its first year, though that will depend on factors like the price of bitcoin," CEO Masatoshi Kumagai told reporters Wednesday.

GMO opened a bitcoin trading platform earlier this year.


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