Bitcoin is going nuclear.
The digital currency is hitting all-time highs, with a single coin going for more than $2,197.
It’s an epic bull run that has accelerated in recent months: Just a year ago, it was sitting at just $443.
This is great news for bitcoin miners, the people responsible for creating new bitcoins.
Their mining infrastructure is the backbone of bitcoin. Anyone who contributes computing power to help process transactions on the network is rewarded with the chance to “mine” bitcoin.
In plain English, in return for helping keep the network up and running, they have the chance of being given a newly created piece of the digital currency.
This payout makes the entire process — with the right equipment — incredibly lucrative. It has helped spawned a huge and surreal industry.
You can mine at home, and many people do. But companies dedicated to mining have also sprung up, some worth tens of millions of dollars.
These companies build huge data centres, or mines, that consume vast amounts of power and perform insane computations on the hunt for digital gold.
Here’s a look inside one …
These photos are from Genesis Mining, a cloud mining company. It lets customers mine using its “cloud,” without having to buy specialised hardware.
Here’s its website.
It’s technically possible to mine on just about any computer, but it’s not profitable to do so unless you have the right kit. Many people do mine themselves, often joining large pools to improve their odds. But Genesis’ model is another option.
The company had early mines in Bosnia and China, and most of its operations are now based in Iceland.