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Photos: China has one of worlds largest bitcoin mines — Quartz

one of the world’s largest bitcoin mines is located in the sanshangliang industrial park, on the outskirts of the city of ordos, in inland mongolia, an autonomous region that is part of china. It is 400 miles from China’s capital Beijing and 35 miles from Baotou City. the mine is just off the highway, near the intersection of 3rd road latitude and 3rd road longitude. It sits amid abandoned, half-built factories, victims of an earlier coal mining boom that fizzled out, leaving Ordos and its outlying areas littered with the remains of unfinished buildings.

The mine is owned by bitmain, a beijing-based company that also makes mining machines that perform billions of calculations per second in an attempt to crack the cryptographic puzzle that generates new bitcoins. Fifty Bitmain employees, many of them Ordos locals, guard eight buildings packed with 25,000 machines that perform calculations 24 hours a day. one of the buildings is dedicated to mining litecoin, a booming cryptocurrency. the staff lives on site in a building with a dormitory, offices, a cafeteria, and a repair center. For fun, they play basketball on an unfinished concrete court.

Reading: Inside bitcoin biggest site

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Bitcoin mining consumes huge amounts of electricity, which is why miners look for locations that offer cheap power. The Ordos Mine was established in 2014, making it the oldest large-scale Bitcoin mining facility in China. It was acquired by Bitmain in 2015. It runs on electricity mainly from coal-fired power plants. His daily electricity bill is $39,000. bitmain also operates other mines in remote areas of china, such as the mountainous yunnan province in the south and the xinjiang autonomous region in the west.

Despite the costs, bitcoin mining is still a lucrative industry. At the current bitcoin price of roughly $4,000 per bitcoin, miners are competing for more than $7 million worth of new bitcoins per day. The more processing power a mining operation controls, the greater its chances of earning a share of those millions. the ordos mine accounts for more than 4% of the processing power on the bitcoin network, a huge amount for a single installation.

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quartz visited the mine in ordos in august. 11.

correction (Aug 21): xinjiang is in western china. an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that it was in the east.

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