Techies building powerful computers to mine for Bitcoins, the fresh digital currency that could make them millions, Daily Mail Online
Techies building powerful computers to mine for Bitcoins, the fresh digital currency that could make them millions
By Katie Davies 01:07 BST sixteen Apr 2013, updated 21:49 BST sixteen Apr two thousand thirteen
The monster machines mining Bitcoins in cyberspace that could make techies a puny fortune (but cost $160,000 a day to power)
The competitive world of Bitcoin collecting has spawned a wave of supercomputers techies hope will make them a petite fortune – even if they cost ems of thousands of dollars to power.
Specially developed Bitcoin ‘mining’ computers are either homemade or can be purchased from one of the growing number of online stores dedicated to cashing in on the supply side of the cult currency trend.
There are twenty one million Bitcoins hidden across an internet-based network, which are expected to all be found by 2040. To unearth them computers have to solve the sophisticated processor-intensive equations which hold them.
Scroll down for movie
Currency: This is a physical manifestation of a Bitcoin. A Bitcoin is truly a lump of computer code which can’t be stolen or forged
The more powerful the machine the better it is at solving the riddle.
So unsurprisingly canny computer-makers are developing high-powered souped-up computers so they can so they can do it repeatedly and rapidly and collect the most coins.
Permitted to work for hours on end, the mining machines can unlock many of the potentially lucrative coins – essentially computer codes – which are then used as currency online making their collectors potentially very rich.
A latest 24-hour period of work yielded Bitcoin miners around the globe $681,000 in profit.
What is a Bitcoin?
It’s a chunk of data locked in an internet-based network by a elaborate equation computers can break.
Once released it can be traded and used like money online and can be purchased with real cash.
Many websites are now taking Bitcoins as a form of currency. As well as digital currency, Bitcoin miners love the competitive nature of unlocking the coins.
Famous fans include the Winklevoss twins who own around one percent of Bitcoins – presently worth around $11million
It has been dismissed by some as a Ponzi Scheme and touted by others as the future of money. It is not centrally managed and it’s unique and sophisticated set up means the market cannot be altered or hacked, according to the developers
Users choose a virtual wallet from one of the various providers which enables them to receive, give and trade coins from other users
And Bitcoin mining is being seen as so lucrative the digital drills themselves are selling for a puny fortune.
The best machine on the market, according to Gizmodo , is the Avalon ASIC which at $6,800 isn’t cheap given its only function is plucking bits of code from the ether.
‘Money cannot buy a better Bitcoin mining machine,’ Gizmodo writes.
‘It was designed and built front to back with Bitcoin mining and Bitcoin mining alone in mind. It cannot do anything else, but it cannot be hammer at what it does. It’s the beginning of the end of revolutions in Bitcoin mining. It is the endgame of an arms race.’
The Bitcoin network, set up by a mysterious programmer under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009, is also designed to get more sophisticated the more miners there are looking for Bitcoins – opening the potential for ever-developing mining machines.
And engineers love the competitive building side as much as the money – demonstrating off pictures of their room-sized equipments on Bitcoin talk rooms like Bitcointalk.org.
With all the latest fanfare around the currency – led by the Winklevoss twins revelations they own one per cent of Bitcoins – presently worth $11 million – some have overlooked the controversy surrounding the machines high use of energy.
Writer Mark Gimein described Bitcoin mining as ‘an environmental disaster’ in a blog post for Bloomberg.
‘Real-world mining of precious metals for currency was a resource-hungry and value-destroying process. Bitcoin mining is too,’ he wrote.
However, Tim Worstall, a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, disagrees telling the amount of energy used isn’t notable enough to be a problem.
‘There are around one hundred twenty million or so households in the US. Therefore Bitcoin mining is consuming 0.025% of the US household electro-stimulation supply,’ he wrote.
‘Do also note that that is the power consumed by global Bitcoin mining. I feel secure in stating that Bitcoin mining indeed isn’t a real-world environmental disaster.’
Home-grown: People who develop their own Bitcoin drills tend to post pictures of them online in Bitcoin chat-rooms