Xia Yu, a technician at the mine, inspects the secluded facility’s thousands of custom ASIC miners during his shift. Image: Motherboard
Liaoning Province of rural northeast China.
This is the infrastructure that keeps the digital currency’s decentralized network up and running, and its operators are profiting big time.
In other words, if you’ve bought or sold or conducted any bitcoin transaction recently, these are some of the folks you have to thank.
Strangely, workers at the secluded mine actually live inside the facility itself, returning home just four or five days a month, according to our local guide and translator, an acquaintance of the operation’s owners, who granted us access to the mine.
During the summer months, temperatures inside are in excess of 100 degrees, and a persistent, deafening buzz is always present due to the dozens of industrial fans required to maintain a steady temperature for the site’s 3,000 ASIC miners—custom-built computers specifically built for mining bitcoins.
Our access to the mine was granted under the strict condition that we wouldn’t reveal the details of the operation’s ASIC miners nor who supplies them.
But despite its image in the press and purported unmasking of its creator, the real face of bitcoin belongs to the people operating the mines.
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