A Neighborhood's Cryptocurrency Mine


I had no idea

A neighborhood’s cryptocurrency mine: ‘Like a jet that never leaves’
Cryptocurrency mining brought constant noise to this remote part of Appalachia

MURPHY, N.C. — It’s midnight, and a jet-like roar is rumbling up the slopes of Poor House Mountain. Except there are no planes overhead, and the nearest commercial airport is 80 miles away.

The sound is coming from a cluster of sheds at the base of the mountain housing a cryptocurrency data center, operated by the San Francisco-based firm PrimeBlock. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, powerful computers perform the complex computations needed to “mine,” or create, digital currencies. And those noise-generating computers are kept cool by huge fans.


I didn't get a paywall


Gotta get down to the Cryptocurrency mine
That's where I mainly spend my time

I still don't understand how all this works and why.   Of course, I have read all about it, but it all still seems so weird. 

Seems like an absolute waste of energy and time.....

Crypto currencies are for the most part only worth something because there are a limited number of coins, but they want to pretend to be currencies. So how do you add to the total which devalues everyone's current holdings without looking corrupt. You come up with basically puzzles that don't require any specialized knowledge to solve but are computationally very intensive. Think making the 600 trillionth number in Pi the answer. 

So people run these computations and are awarded with a coin. One Bit coin is worth a little under $20k today, and that is right around the price where it makes it worth while because in most places it is going to cost you about $20k in electricity to mine a single coin. Of course Bit Coin was trading around $60k back in November so even at break even investors continue to mine. 

They also look for places with the cheapest electricity to mine. My guess is WV has some nice Federal Government subsidized hydro power with cheap electrical rates. Computations are extremely CPU intensive and generate heat which means your server farm needs to be cooled. 

Bitcoin production is estimated to generate between 22-22.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, equivalent to emissions by countries like Jordan and Sri Lanka, or about 1 per cent global electricity consumption.

and that is just bitcoin one many crypto currencies. It is a very fucked up world we live in.

>>>So people run these computations and are awarded with a coin. 

So that is what I don't get.  Is there any practical value to these computations?   Do people use them in calculating rocket trajectories or something?   Doesn't make sense.

All of this makes it sound like a Bit Coin is a tangible actual thing you can hold, like a metal coin, but I don't think that's the case. I'm like Ken: I've read, I've asked, I've thought, and I don't get it.

Anyone who says they do get it is fooling you or themselves.  

>>a tangible actual thing you can hold, like a metal coin


yes you can buy metal coins with bitcoin, but  most people don't. mostly its just electronic, but you could argue that US$ are mostly electronic for many of us now. Dollars are also just bits in my bank's computer.

my friend who was into btc early gave these coins out for christmas presents a few years ago when 0.1 btc was $30 or $40, it's still all the crypto I own.

Are said computers churning away towards relatively meaningless calculations or actual  tangible consumer data, for example, that can be monefied/sold to marketers, sim-to what FB, Google, et al do? 

It's all voodoo economics to me...   and i'm with the "I've read, I've asked, I've thought, and I don't get it" crowd.  

I have a young friend who swears by this stuff, and I just didn't like the answers I got at that time.  I tried to buy some, but you had to have a cell phone to do it (couldn't do it from my computer), that was red flag #1.  Every answer created more questions and red flags, no bueno! 

Don't own any but my wifes boss offered to pay her in Bit Coin around 2008, and I said that was a stupid idea. Oh well who wants to be a millionaire anyway. 

As far as I know there is no practical value to computations that they run to earn coin. It is not a tangible thing anymore than looking at your bank account ballance is a tangible thing. It's like all money supply. People have decided there is a value to it therefore there is a value. It's just that $$'s are backed by the GDP of the US, and Bit Coin is backed by a collective idea that there is value. As I said before there is value in anything that is limited and how many Bit Coins there are is limited. Therefore value. But at the end of the day it is all just code stored on a computer. 

There are savvy people who've bought and sold and are doing well behind the whole thing. I'm glad for them, but it still doesn't make sense to me. Maybe because when I first started using money it was money. When I started working it was before electronic money (in 1966) or computers in common usage at small businesses... I've progressed through some of these newfangled things, but I guess not all?

I've got a lot of pet rocks, but no chia pets....     I guess value is in the cell phone of the beholder 

I don't claim to understand bitcoin, or blockchains, but I do know that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are even goofier. This one sold for $69.3 million in March 2021:


The amount of computers used sucks up lots of electric. I wonder if they chose the location based on the a cheaper electric bill the computers would generate? They have smaller devices that you can get and plug into your router and they will mine, and you attach it to a quasi bank account that it deposits your tokens in, or something like that. I have one but never plugged it in, because I get paranoid about hooking my computer to outside stuff. 

The White House released its findings on crypto mining's energy demands. A new report from the Office of Science & Technology Policy found that mining will use as much power as all home computers in the US, and is asking companies to disclose their data.


It's pretty stupid but then again we ascribe value to pieces of nice paper with numbers on it too.