Friday, March 09, 2018

The Story Of Bitcoin Coming To The Columbia Basin

I came across this article this morning while reading up on the drivers of the latest crypto market drop (and, in the midst of it all, noticed that Bitcoin and Ethereum are both bouncing off past lows on rising volume with action below each coin's 200 MA with RSI numbers below 40...).

This is the story of how Bitcoin mining first came to my state, Washington, on a scale greater than just hobbyists plugging away at it in their basements and spare bedrooms. I've blogged about this briefly in the past, but this article, appearing in Politico, dives deep into the whole story:

 "What separated these survivors from the quitters and the double-downers, Carlson concluded, was simply the price of electricity. Survivors either lived in or had moved to places like China or Iceland or Venezuela, where electricity was cheap enough for bitcoin to be profitable. Carlson knew that if he could find a place where the power wasn’t just cheap, but really cheap, he’d be able to mine bitcoin both profitably and on an industrial scale.

The place was relatively easy to find. Less than three hours east of Seattle, on the other side of the Cascade Mountains, you could buy electricity for around 2.5 cents per kilowatt, which was a quarter of Seattle’s rate and around a fifth of the national average. Carlson’s dream began to fall into place. He found an engineer in Poland who had just developed a much faster, more energy-efficient server, and whom he persuaded to back Carlson’s new venture, then called Mega-BigPower. In late 2012, Carlson found some empty retail space in the city of Wenatchee, just a few blocks from the Columbia River, and began to experiment with configurations of servers and cooling systems until he found something he could scale up into the biggest bitcoin mine in the world. The boom here had officially begun." -- P. Roberts
I've highlighted just one small piece of the story here,  a bit of the early "grit and determination" days of how this all began as it happened for David Carlson, one of two major players in the Columbia Basin mining game that feature prominently in this article.

The entire article goes into the many aspects of the crypto mining industry, the related issues that are arising and the conflicts springing up around it. The author represents both sides to the stories very well, reporting on some of the common FUD that's out there, but then providing the countering arguments. It's refreshing to find an honest, balanced, objective article like this one.

This is a long article but it will be well worth your time to read, whether you're active in this space or not.

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