Old Bitcoiner Had a Farm: Ten Amazing Mining Facilities

Cryptocurrency mining has become not only a multi-billion business, but also an area for artistic self-expression. Considering the fierce competition on the market, miners have to come up with unusual solutions. In this feature, ForkLog covers some of the most breathtaking projects in bitcoin mining industry.

Dave Carlson’s Secret Farm in Washington, USA

Photo by Bloomberg Businessweek

Dave Carlson’s farm is located in the state of Washington on Pacific coast. According to the owner, the farm is the biggest in the entire Northern America. This software expert and experienced entrepreneur decided to go for mining after facing financial trouble at his previous job at an advertising company.

MegaBigPower, which he founded in his own basement, has become a multimillion business in just a year’s time. Nowadays, the farm is located separately on a former industrial warehouse, but its exact location is kept secret. Carlson says that Washington’s low prices for electricity were as important for his success as his desperate desire to put a lid on financial tribulations.

After the enterprise’s expansion, its monthly expenses, according to Carlson, comprised upwards of $1 million, including wages 15 people working therein. He states that the resulting rate of 1.3 petahashes totally pays off. Moreover, he managed to attract additional investment to start manufacturing mining equipment using BitFury chips as a template. The business’s target audience will be other bitcoin mining enthusiasts. All in all, Carlson seems to be doing good.

Genesis Mining in Iceland

Initially, Genesis Mining had several farms in Bosnia and China, but now it’s mostly active in Iceland. This Northern country has probably the perfect combination of mining conditions: cheap electricity, great internet connection, and cold environment. The latter is especially important as it allows miners to save on cooling, thus decreasing the mined bitcoins’ prime cost.

Nevertheless, according to Genesis Mining CEO Marco Streng’s recent statement, the company still uses serious amounts of electric power and may, in fact, be the biggest power consumer in entire Iceland.

In addition to bitcoin mining, Genesis recently launched Ethereum mining, while the respective farm known as Enigma is said to be the world’s biggest.

Allied Control’s Farm in Hong Kong

The region’s hot and damp climate didn’t turn Allied Control against building Hong Kong’s biggest mining farm. The company put its stake on so-called two-phase immersion cooling.

The farm was built specially for Chinese investors. Its distinguishing feature is the amazingly low noise level. Initially, the farm used ASIC chips, however, in January 2015 Allied Control was bought by BitFury. The latter produces its own chips, and, while the deal’s details remained undisclosed, one may assume that replacing chips was a part of the contract.

Two-phase immersion cooling, by Allied Control

BitFury’s Data Center in the Republic of Georgia

December 2015, BitFury opened a 40 MW mining data center in Georgia. The facility is located in the free economic area of the country’s capital Tbilisi, and also uses two-phase immersion cooling approach. BitFury deems it necessary to maintain maximum possible eco-friendliness, so it uses the power from local HPP.

The company chose Georgia for its optimal climatic conditions, minimal regulation, cheap electricity, and viable labor conditions. The new data center uses 28 nm and 16 nm chips to process bitcoin transactions. In addition, the company has another data center in Georgia and some mining facilities in Iceland.

Linthal, Switzerland

Photo by srf.ch

The farm founded by bitcoin pioneer Guido Rudolfi of Aplereum launched this April in a village of Linthal in East Switzerland. Earlier, Rudolfi ran a mining farm in Zurich, but thought the operational costs were too high. Eventually, after almost two years of searching, he chose Linthal as the dream location, as it offers the country’s lowest electricity costs.

The new farm located in the building of a former factory is the country’s biggest. Even though the issue of cooling remains vital, Rudolfi insists that possible financial profits aren’t what determine his decisions. The world, he believes, needs Bitcoin for political reasons. He compares cryptocurrency to the internet in the nineties, when the phenomenon was also considered with excessive scepticism.

April 16 this year, the mining farm held a doors open day and a bitcoin meetup one may check out on the video below.

China

Analyzing the world’s leading mining pools shows that more than a half of the entire hash power belongs to three pools from China. Saying almost nothing about the community’s worrying about this state of affairs, it’s still reasonable to note that China has some advantages when it comes to mining. First of all, it’s relatively cheap workforce and willingness of workers to live in simple conditions. China is also known for its superpower of manufacturing nearly anything, including mining equipment. Finally, mining bitcoin here is economically profitable due to the country’s cheap electricity.

Still, the political environment in the country causes most operators to conceal their activity. It also impacts local data centers’ visual appearance.

Utility space for workers at a mining farm in China with a monitor showing what’s happening in the data center. Photos by NYTimes

Last year, HaoBTC’s marketing director Eric Mu spent nearly three months at the company’s farm in Sichuan mountains. Speaking at bitcointalk, he noted that thanks to the cheap power from the local HPP and cheap cooling systems, the data center shows high efficiency and low carbon exhausting. Current hash rate of the farm comprises 4.7 PH, but the company intends to increase it to 12 PH in a few months. One may find some of Mu’s photos below.

In fact, there are many diverse mining farms in China, with each of them unique in some way. For instance, there is a major farm in a secret location in China, which accounts for 3% of the network’s overall hash rate.

Bitcoin Group (China / Australia)

Photo by Bitcoin Group

Following a series of failed attempts to enter the Australian Stock Exchange, Bitcoin Group still remains one of the world’s biggest bitcoin operators. The company owns five data centers in China accounting for 6,000 computers overall.

Apart from that, Bitcoin Group has some facilities in Iceland and Australia. The company pays much attention to ecology, so it uses renewable energy sources wherever possible. Thus, 82% of the company’s hash rate in China uses power from HPP’s, while the Iceland-based data center uses geothermal energy as there are lots of hot springs located therein. Overall, Bitcoin Group accounts for 1.19% of bitcoin network’s entire hash power (6.2 PH).

Notably, the company’s headquarters in Melbourne hosts the world’s possibly only bitcoin mining museum exhibiting devices and gadgets used for cryptocurrency mining.

This overview is hardly exhaustive, as there are much more unique and somewhat amazing mining farms out there. In a while, ForkLog will tell about other interesting facilities of the Bitcoin world.