Bitcoin Miner James Starts Mining with 12 Radeon HD 7970 and Wishes to Change the World by Coding
James(author of the article), Chang Jia(founder of 8btc) and Lang Yu(CTO of 8btc)
The first time I heard about Bitcoin was in late 2012 when I was studying computer science in University of Ottawa. Back then, I always saw a geek running several computers at the same time in the computer lab. One day, I approached to him and we started chatting. He told me he was mining bitcoin.
Bitcoin? What the hell is bitcoin?
And one thing led to another, the guy proudly showed me his bitcoin wallet and bragged that he could buy enough marijuana for him to smoke a month with just 5 or 6 bitcoin. I was very shocked to hear that, and wanted to learn more about this new tech, or new scam. I wanted to learn more about it, but in the following days, I got indulged in playing World of Warcraft and totally forgot about it. Three or four months later, I was amazed to read a news saying bitcoin price surpassed $266.
I began to take bitcoin seriously and learned everything about it from Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System to all the posts on Bitcoin Talk. After serious consideration, I bought 12 Radeon HD 7970 and started mining bitcoin. It was quite an experience.
The heat generated by running the cards effortlessly made every single day a brutally hot day. It’s minus 30 degrees in winter, but absolutely no need to turn on the home heating. And in summer a 3000-watt air conditioner could not stop me sweating like a pig. The worst part was yet to come. I always got the cold shoulder when I tried to introduce bitcoin to others. They were so sure that bitcoin was just a Ponzi game. Later, I zipped my lips and stopped telling others what a bitcoin miner looked like.
I only regarded bitcoin as a good investment prior to 2014. People buy and sell bitcoin on exchanges, but nobody uses it in real life. In 2014, however, when I graduated from university, I found that a blockchain startup 8btc in Hangzhou was looking for a developer, so I sent them my resume and became the first full time developer there. Chang Jia and Lang Yu are old bitcoiners who have been in the industry for years. We would discuss about the future of bitcoin and when would bitcoin be used as a means of payment in China. And when they paid my salary in bitcoin, I realized that bitcoin has a huge potential to be widely accepted in everyday life.
Sadly, about one year later, I went back to Canada to pursue further education. On campus, I did parallel-import car business to make some pocket money. But cash flow turned out to be a big problem. According to Chinese laws, one cannot transfer a large amount of money to Canada. To put it another way, the buyer in China had trouble remitting money to me. I thought about underground banks might do some help, but in the end, I chose to pay some transaction fees to exchanges and did international remittance in bitcoin. I believe that as more people are adopting bitcoin and the price goes steady, bitcoin really stands a chance to be used for real time international settlements.
In some degree, blockchain technology is like a distributed server. Bitcoin only represents the first successful experiment of the blockchain technology. And Ethereum serves as a distributed server on which you are able to run any applications as programmed.
But IMO, only professional developers want such the server, common people want something that can directly solve real-life issues. For example, there are many medical instruments to help check your pulse and heartbeat, but in real life, you only need a smart watch to do that.
When I came back to China this March, Chang Jia invited me to join the Bytom team, the first blockchain platform of 8btc, but I rejected him thinking Bytom was just a copy of Ethereum that only offers a framework. Three weeks ago, the Bytom team released their whitepaper and I realized they really want to do something good for the community. In short, Bytom is an asset management platform where assets in the atomic world can be registered and exchanged for digital assets. Plus, Bytom will do some improvements on the consensus mechanism and the UTXO model.
Personally, I feel most of the ICO projects on the market are just selling an idea. I think Bytom is something worth a shot because it meets the actual needs of the community that makes asset management cost-efficient.
I always believe that the choices you make will shape your life. In the end, I gave up my last job and joined the Bytom team where all developers are paid by Bytom tokens.
Years ago, a man paid 10,000 bitcoin for two pizzas, which is unprecedented and kind of heroic. Today, I’d like to take the chance to change the world by coding.