Blockchain Startup Spends Millions on Land Near Tesla Gigafactory

The Nevada Independent reports that an obscure blockchain technology company called Blockchains LLC has purchased a huge chunk of land at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, the same place Elon Musk’s car firm Tesla is churning out batteries at its “Gigafactory.”

Storey County Commissioner and Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center broker Lance Gilman said he closed escrow on the sale of 67,125 total acres of land to Blockchains LLC, a business that studies and develops applications for blockchain distributed ledger technology.

It now owns 104 square miles of land at the industrial site that includes such tech luminaries as Tesla, Google, and Apple.

Tesla, one of the anchor tenants, owns slightly more than 2,800 acres at the park. Google purchased 1,210 acres at the park last year and data center giant Switch operates a 2,000-acre campus at the park, which covers over 107,000 acres in rural Storey County.

Blockchains land purchase dwarfs even these tech giants and makes the Tesla Gigafactory look tiny. In fact, their purchase nearly bought out the park’s total land.

Neighbors have reported no activity at the site yet. Tesla and Google have very tight security at their plants.

Though Gilman said he was prohibited from discussing terms of the sale, he did say that the total value of the 74,000 acres in land sales closed this month at the park, including the sale to Blockchains, was worth about $175 million.

“There’s no question — they’re going to have a major footprint in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center,” he said. 

The background, personalities, and intentions of the company, even the nationality of the owners is unknown. They purchased the land through an attorney which isn’t unusual in itself, but the lawyer seems to have a blockchain background.

Blockchains LLC was registered in Nevada in May 2017 by California attorney Jeffrey Berns, a partner at the law firm of Berns Weiss LLP.

Stealth mode

According to his LinkedIn, Berns has been the president of “Berns Inc.,” which owns the URL and states that the company’s plan is to “stay in a somewhat of a stealth mode until approximately second quarter 2018,” reports ZeroHedge.

In addition to virtual currencies, Berns Weiss LLP focuses on class-action lawsuits against financial services companies and has won millions of dollars in settlements against the likes of Ticketmaster, Cisco Systems and Home Loan Center.

According to the company’s website Blockchains LLC is a “premier innovator” in the blockchain industry, specializing in “financial services, software development of distributed applications (Dapps) for the Ethereum blockchain.”

This vagueness has generated theories ranging from Russian oligarchs looking to transfer funds to get around sanctions to miners looking for the cheapest energy costs and a state with no personal income taxes.

Ethereum’s parent company ConsenSys might be seeking to establish a research facility far from its Brooklyn headquarters and prying eyes.

More likely is that a deep pocketed lawyer is getting into the Ethereum game hoping to be a big players. The number of applications running on Ethereum is now over 1,000 and ConsenSys is actively working on 42 different projects.