GTA Member Spotlight: Amity Labs

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Amity Labs is one of the few US cryptocurrency miners – perhaps the only one – that based its business platform on a solid engineering background.

About the Founder

Ted Valkov’s passions for engineering, business innovation, and family have all come together since moving to the Gorge in 2006.

Career circumstances for both Ted and his wife initially brought the couple to The Dalles. In 2006, the Texas company that Ted had joined as a small startup had grown to the point of becoming public. At the same time, his wife Paula-Lee Valkov had just completed her residency and was offered a career opportunity with MCMC. The couple was also expecting their first child. All of these factors were like an equation, and the solution was moving to The Dalles. This turned out to be the right solution as the couple found the Gorge to be a great place to live, work, and raise their family.

During the ensuing years, Ted stayed home to help raise the children. His only comment was “Taking care of small kids is hard! Everything else has been easy-peasy in comparison.” And while busy raising his family, Ted continued to pursue his many “hobbies” (aka business research and development) that involved pursuits in various branches of applied sciences.Ted Valkov with kids

Innovations to solve the electrical and heat transfer problems encountered in crypto-currency mining were the result of one such hobby.

And while spare time is scarce, Ted enjoys the outdoors with his kids – hiking, skiing, kayaking and fishing – whenever possible.

About Business in the Gorge

As a local start-up, Amity Labs has utilized the relatively low costs, clean air, and cool temperate climate of the region to its advantage. The company contributes to the local economy by sourcing as much material and labor as possible locally.

On the customer side, the industry is global in scale and is fairly spread out, so it does not depend on the the Gorge’s local economy for its customer base.

Roughly half of Amity’s business is from abroad, with a huge customer diversity that ranges from individuals to fairly large organizations.

As the founder, owner, and innovator of the company, Ted works to build a personal rapport with every customer. Over time, this has helped to build Ted’s thorough understanding of the structure of this complex and evolving industry.

 

About the Company

Amity Labs has its roots in another startup by Ted. In 2010, Western Star Entertainment was founded to produce game engines. In 2012, the company began experimenting with cryptocurrency mining under the business name Amity Labs. As operations grew, Amity Labs was spun off as a completely separate enterprise from its parent organization in 2018.

Amity Labs’ first steps in cryptocurrency mining involved providing computing power to blockchain networks. At one point in the early days, the company housed a noticeable percentile of the bitcoin network capacity.

CPUAs mining became more competitive due to the influx of Chinese/ private capital, Amity Labs found a niche in manufacturing power supplies for mining machines. This became the company’s dominant business line while the research and development activity turned to the engineering challenges inherent in mining data centers. When the Chinese started integrating free power supplies inside their mining machines, it killed Amity Labs’ power supply business overnight.

 

view of worker at Amity's computers

 

By this time, Amity Labs was the only established Oregon-based builder of mining facilities, so the company turned its focus to marketing some of the significant innovations that it had developed to accommodate the rather peculiar ways that mining equipment gets deployed. The company quickly changed its business to provide specialized modular racks, power distribution units, and entire “mobile mining structures” to support the wave of large-scale construction of mining facilities that has swept the world since.

 

Amity's computational "wind tunnel"

 Above, Amity’s 1.0 Megawatt computational “wind tunnel” performs 35 quadrillion cryptographic calculations per second!

Below, Ted works to install an airflow module assembly.

Ted working on an airflow assembly

Most recently, Amity Labs sold its main mining facility and Ted’s research and development has turned to new products that address the need for energy efficiency and conservation in the cryptocurrency mining industry.

About the GTA

When asked about what he and his business have gained as part of the GTA, Ted replied, “In my experience, many significant developments have started with a serendipitous conversation or with the knowledge of a particular person. As the region’s networking organization for technology professionals, the GTA is an excellent venue for this. I don’t see the GTA as a source of business referrals. It is more of a long-term investment in networking, independent of the specifics of a particular business.”

Quick Links

Company Website: amitylabs.com

GTA Website: Amity Labs

Email Contacts: info@amitylabs.com, ted@amitylabs.com

Social: linkedin.com/in/theodorevalkov