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Chinese Bitcoin farms: From scuzzy to sci-fi

Roaring fans to liquid baths, China's cryptocurrency rigs are serious business

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Somewhere in very rural northeast China lies a dusty and dirty factory where the deafening roar of machinery leaks from an armada of Bitcoin mining rigs.

Inside a secret north china bitcoin mine. Copyright Jacob Smith (Bitsmith) @ The Coinsman - used with permission

Inside the secret north China Bitcoin mine. Copyright Jacob Bitsmith of The Coinsman - used with permission

Heat is blasted out of the vents in the crude concrete citadel from dozens of fans that whip up a torrent to cool 2500 Bitcoin rigs slaving away at algorithms to earn their owners the much sought after crypto-currency.

xxx

Liquid cooling in a high tech Bitcoin farm

Jacob Smith (last name given as Bitsmith), the editor of The Coinsman, travelled to the undisclosed location to document life inside one of China's more grimy Bitcoin mining farms.

The facility was life for three full time staff who ate, drank and slept between patrols of the factory floor to ensure the machines kept ticking over. They returned home one day a week.

The noise was deafening: Jason said the sound of the fans could be heard outside the farm and seemed bone-shattering from within.

Electrical bills tipped 400,000 Yuan ($70,000) a month. Hardware obsolescence was rampant with piles of retired Avalon Bitcoin rigs littering the grounds.

"Walking around the warehouse floor, I was struck with a feeling of awe that THIS is what keeps Bitcoin alive," Jason wrote. "That even if someone wanted to bring down Bitcoin, they'd have to outdo these guys and the dozens of other operations like this around the world."

The Chinese factory was a cruder cousin of modern elite operations such as a secret shipping container-sized facility located 13 kilometres outside of Hong Kong.

That small facility, detailed by independent journalist Xiaogang Cao, cooled its 92 blade servers -strong Bitcoin miner fleet not with fans but using silent open bath immersion technology from vendor Allied Control. The kit was required due to 500kW power restrictions on site.

Bitcoin trading in China remains active but has dropped this year after a late 2013 surge of new users interested in the currency, BTC China chief executive Bobby Lee told Reuters

Lee said 5000 to 10,000 Bitcoins were traded each day on Bitcoin China. ®

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