On May 4th, 2016 BBC reporter Danny Vincent published a report called “We Looked Inside a Secret Chinese Bitcoin Mine.” The reporter toured the facility of one of the largest emerging operations within the region. According to the BBC report the mine processes roughly USD $8 million per year in BTC and during the visit, its location was to remain classified. The BBC reporter Danny Vincent details his experience saying:
“The location is secret and I have been invited under the strict condition that I live onsite with the miners. The owners don’t want to broadcast their specific location, because while the Chinese government is neither officially pro or against bitcoin, the huge amount of money flowing from these mines is outside state control.”
BBC Reporter Danny Vincent Visits a Secret Chinese Bitcoin MinePhoto Source: Danny Vincent, BBC
The site of the mine is hidden due to the fact there is no position from the government on the digital currency’s legal status. Vincent is guided by Chandler Guo, founder of Bitbank, and the location is very high up in the mountains with little to no mobile service. WiFi is used for communications and oxygen is needed for travel because of the very high altitudes. Inside the depths of the mine are hundreds of mining rigs neatly stacked processing Bitcoin blocks within the walls. Guo tells Vincent, “All day we mine 50 bitcoins, 24 hours this machine never sleeps.”Photo Source: Danny Vincent, BBC
The mining operations are monitored 24 hours a day as well and the place contains small living quarters with bunk beds. The staff is mostly male and Guo has been running the operation for roughly two years now. Chinese mining is currently very popular at the moment and makes up 70% of the of the mining equipment in the world. The mining operations founder also tells the BBC publication that he is developing an app that mines the cryptocurrency from a smartphone. Danny Vincent explains Guo believes “China is likely to become the centre of the digital currency’s universe.”
Motherboard Gains Access to a Chinese Mine that Grosses $1.5M Bitcoins Monthly
In October of 2015, the publication Motherboard Vice viewed the insides of another secret Chinese Bitcoin operation that takes in $1.5 million in cryptocurrency per month. The mine was located in a factory near the Liaoning Province of China run by a group of four individuals. The owners said they owned a total of six mines and the month Motherboard visited the miners took in 4,050 Bitcoins in total. All six of the mining facilities account for eight petahashes per second or roughly 3% of the Bitcoin network.
Just as BBC reported, this particular mine in China also has employees living at the factory and maintaining operations 24 hours a day. The walls of this particular mining facility visited contained around 3,000 ASIC miners and during the summer the building could be over 100 degrees inside. Additionally, the same rules applied to Motherboard as with BBC and reporters were under strict orders not to disclose the location.
Most of the facilities are completely operating in secret and are leery of authorities cracking down. However, the Chinese Bitcoin mining infrastructure is quite large and makes up a majority of the network’s hashrate. It goes to show that many of these mining operations don’t care enough about the threat of legal action as they are processing millions of dollars a month with this new emerging industry.
Source: BBC, and Motherboard Image Sources: Danny Vincent Photographs, BBC and Motherboard