CALVERT CITY -- The parking lot at what was once the Gerdau steel rolling mill on Shar-Cal Road in is full of contractor vehicles. The mammoth steel building at the site is being converted for use as a massive computer data center by Core Scientific, a firm that specializes in artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.

Matthew Bishop, chief administrative officer at Core Scientific, said last week that his firm wanted to be up and running and open with customers at their Calvert City Data Center before making an announcement about their operation. They are now running with about 30 employees on site. The number of contractor employees on site is far more than that.

He explained in simple terms that block chain technology was a very secure cryptographic way of sending secure transactions over the internet. He also confirmed that one of the primary reasons for locating here was the availability of highly reliable electric power.

Bishop further explained that Blockchain Mining is the process of verifying digital currency transactions by solving a computationally difficult puzzle. He continued to say:

• Blockchain is a digital ledger that enables data transactions to be verified and recorded without the control of large institutions (e.g. banks)​.

• Blockchain is secured by a decentralized network of miners who validate these transactions​.

• The mathematical problem in each block is extremely difficult to solve, but once a valid solution is found, it is very easy for the rest of the network to confirm that the solution is correct.​

• Bitcoin miners use powerful Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) computing chips to compete to correctly solve the encryption puzzle​.

• When a miner is successful, the block is incorporated into the blockchain and the miner receives newly minted bitcoin plus transaction fee rewards​.

• The block reward acts as a subsidy and incentive for miners until transaction fees can pay the miners enough money to secure the network.

Tennessee Valley Authority's gas turbine power plant on Ky. 1523 in Calvert City is very close to Core Scientific's new data center. Core Scientific identified both TVA and Jackson Purchase Energy as part of a partnership in developing the data center.

In addition to the two utility firms, Core Scientific named several other local contractors who are playing a role in developing the new data center, which is one of five the firm now operates. Those contractors include Murtco, Collier Electric, Barnhart Crane, Manpower and Belyea Corporation. The site is 49% non-emitting power generation.

In a news release dated Nov. 12, Core Scientific said the Calvert City facility "extends the Core Scientific footprint to more than 250MW of capacity across five datacenters, with a further 400MW under LOI."

Kevin Turner, CEO of Core Scientific, added: "We are investing in the infrastructure and software solutions that help our customers maximize the performance of their servers. Our goal is to provide the optimized environment for the latest generation of blockchain servers, and create capacity for global customers to securely host in the stable U.S. market."

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