New Miners of the 21st Century: What Do They Look Like in Sichuan Province?
Sichuan, a mountainous province in southwestern China, is home to an increasing number of bitcoin mining sites.
Kun, 29-year-old, is a management operator of a bitcoin mining site which is actually just a plant built near a hydropower station. After working for 24 hours nonstop, the 550 mining machines are able to mine 2.5 bitcoins per day.
In the first few years after bitcoin was born, one was able to mine bitcoin with just a computer, a GPU and a specific procedure. But now bitcoin mining has evolved into a very competitive business. Miners have to invest more in mining machines. And a dorm for workers is now filled with packages of mining products.
“You don’t need to be an expert to be in the business,” said Kun. He monitors the functioning of mining machines with applications on his mobile phone and computer. When anything goes wrong, he simply restarts the computer or replaces the power supply. If he is unable to fix a problem, he would return the machines to the producer for repair.
“High profits are the beauty of it. I got my money back in a year, much shorter than that of traditional sectors.”
Kun and other bitcoin workers at the hydropower station invest more in machines with better computing power. They roast a whole lamb to celebrate the increase of hashing power. Last May, Kun decided to purchase some more new machines.
With abundant water resources, Sichuan has become “the city of bitcoin mining”. Bitcoin miner Mr. Liu migrated his mining pool to Sichuan to save on cost and electricity prices.
“Before I was at Henan province and the price of electricity is about 0.4 yuan/kw. Now Sichuan is in wet season and is filled with surplus water and electricity. We are helping consume them, it’s something nice to do.”
“Many believe that it’s more profitable to invest in bitcoin than real estate or stocks,” said Liu and behind him noisy machines.
Liu said when he first started mining, the total network hashrate was less than 1000P, but now it’s 4000P.
Rich people also want to be part of the business, but they don’t want to stay in such remote areas. Liu helps them find a place, buy machines, set up a mining site and make money. Now Liu manage 7000 mining machines.
N.G. ZHANG invented the world’s first bitcoin mining hardware product named Icarus using FPGA technology. And about 90 percent of the mining community are using machines of Antminer and Avalon.
Workers are assembling machines on the assembly line. Finished products are always sold out in a few days.
Sun, who witnessed the closing down of ASICMiner, is now a management operator of a mining site in Sichuan. With no other entertainment, he plays mobile games and WeChat every single day.
“It’s lonely. But since I can find no place to spend money here, I can save all my salary.”
When be asked if he buys bitcoin, he smiled and nodded his head.