IEEE: Why The Biggest Bitcoin Mines Are In Chinabr>
The IEEE’s Morgan Peck visits Bitmain in China for a look inside the world’s largest bitcoin mining rig manufacturer…
It’s only 8 in the morning when I arrive at my destination in the Ordos prefecture of Inner Mongolia, but already the air is heavy and oppressively hot. My host drives me through a gate, past a sleepy-looking security guard, and into an industrial yard that extends into the dry, barren countryside about as far as I can see.
In front of me are nine warehouses with bright blue roofs, each emblazoned with the logo for Bitmain, a Chinese firm headquartered in Beijing that is arguably the most important company in the Bitcoin industry. Bitmain sells Bitcoin mining rigs—the specialized computers that keep the cryptocurrency running and that produce, or “mine,” new bitcoins for their owners. It also uses its own rigs to stock facilities that it owns or co-owns and operates. Bitmain owns about 20 percent of this one.
Jihan Wu, the CEO of Bitmain, claims that 70 percent of the Bitcoin mining rigs in operation today were made by his company. And, according to a study conducted last winter by the University of Cambridge, in England, it’s likely that most of those machines are plugged into an outlet somewhere in China.
Bitmain acquired this mining facility in Inner Mongolia a couple years ago and has turned it into one of the most powerful money factories on the Bitcoin network. It quite literally metabolizes electricity into money. By my own calculations, the hardware on the grounds—some 21,000 computers—accounted for about 4 percent of all the computing power in the Bitcoin network when I visited.