BLOG – Inside a Bitcoin Mining Operation in Hong Kong

Bitcoin, everyone’s favourite decentralised, peer-to-peer digital cryptocurrency, is making headlines around the world.

Entrepreneur and journalist Xiaogang Cao posted pictures of a new HK-based mining operation being set up in an Kwai Chung industrial building…

Bitcoins are generated by ‘miners’ who devote computing power to solving mathematical puzzles. Whilst users could once mine bitcoins at home, setting up a mining operation nowadays involves a lot more infrastructure… As more bitcoins come into circulation, the puzzles involved become increasingly difficult. The rewards are halved at regular intervals until 21 million bitcoins have been created – at which point, production will cease.

Over the coming years, even when accounting for Moore’s law, mining will only require more resources to be worthwhile… Though some governments are hesitant about the world’s first cryptocurrency, entrepreneurs are hoping Hong Kong will jump on the bandwagon.

HK’s new bitcoin farm involves one meter high transparent glass tanks, copper piping, cooling machines and computer boards soaked in bubbling 3M cooling liquid. LED lights flash constantly, though the facility is cool, safe and quiet.

Construction began in August, 2013. A crane was used to install cooling systems onto the roof . The cooling technique is one of the world’s most advanced, maintaining temperatures of below 37 degrees.

In a race against time, bitcoin mining began in October. And with an eye on the future, there is extra capacity built into the site…

The company behind the operation is Asicminer, who own multiple mining facilities. Cao said the facility was ‘quieter than a library’

Earlier this month, it was reported that a HK-based Bitcoin trading platform disappeared, taking with it up to US$5million worth of investment. One study showed that 45 percent of Bitcoin exchanges end up closing

Hong Kong could become a hub for Bitcoin use and mining. Hong Wrong’s Tony Wong said that the city has an edge due to ‘sound property rights, cheap electricity, widely available technology and service technicians’.

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Xiaogang Cao invites readers to donate to his crowdfunded charitable project (Chinese).

One bitcoin was worth around US$858 at the time of writing.

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