Looop Co. Ltd is a Tokyo-based renewable energy provider that offers natural energy products and services as well as retail electricity services. The company “was born from the volunteer activity to set up photovoltaic power in the affected area of the Great East Japan Earthquake,” its website describes. The company began operations in March 2011 with the development of “a photovoltaic power plant that can be installed by ourselves.” Other products offered include solar, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, and geothermal power systems.
Following the liberalization of Japan’s retail power market in April 2016, Looop entered the retail electricity market. Over 55,000 Japanese households now use Looop’s electricity services, according to IT Media.
The company recently announced a new electricity plan which is tailored to cryptocurrency miners in the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) service area. Looop calls it the “Mining Flat” rate plan. Customers can start applying for this new service this month.
Looop explained that customers can sign up for a “1kW equivalent contract (10A or 1kVA)” which allows usage of up to 250kWh for a fixed monthly price of 6,170 yen. They can also sign up for multiple contracts. For example, a 3kW contract will allow them to use up to 750kWh. Overages are charged at the rate of 22 yen per 1kWh.
According to an estimate by IT Media, the monthly cost of electricity for the 3kW contract is 16.9% less than what TEPCO would charge for a similar service.
Japan Embracing Bitcoin Mining
Japanese companies are increasingly embracing bitcoin mining, with a growing number of corporations entering the space. Last month, GMO Internet announced its bitcoin mining and ASIC chip manufacturing plans. The company is investing 10 billion yen to build its mining farm in Scandinavia.
Another Japanese conglomerate, DMM Group, announced in the same month that it “will operate a mass-scale, made-in-Japan quality mining farm whose operating size will be unmatched by any of the domestic operators.” According to Nikkei, DMM is also planning a 10 billion yen capital investment into its mining business.
Last week, the publication also reported on two more large companies, SBI Holdings and Monex Group, starting their own bitcoin mining operations.
Looop Director and President Shoichiro Nakamura emphasized how bitcoin mining uses a lot of electricity. He was quoted by IT Media as saying:
The high cost of electricity is a bottleneck in Japan, which makes it difficult for mining to penetrate [the market]…I would like to support domestic mining companies by offering this pricing plan.
Meanwhile, Japanese consumers can also pay their electricity bills using bitcoin. Energy retailer Remixpoint, the parent company of the bitcoin exchange Bitpoint, recently started accepting bitcoin payments for its low-voltage electricity services as well as offering discounts for customers paying with bitcoin.