The past two years have been rocky for Bitcoin, and a major change on the horizon promises continued uncertainty. But investors still seem enthusiastic about the potential returns of Bitcoin "mining," plowing millions into the increasingly massive arrays of high-power processors that securely track transactions and earn Bitcoin in return.
The latest new Bitcoin mine comes with the backing of one of the biggest names in tech investing: Peter Thiel, the PayPal cofounder and early Facebook investor. A startup he helped fund, Layer1, today announced the opening of its first Bitcoin mining facility, covering over 30 acres and costing tens of millions of dollars.
Bitcoin is still recovering from the bursting of a huge speculative bubble in late 2017, when the price of the decentralized cryptocurrency collapsed just before hitting $20,000. The price dipped as low as $3,500 and has slowly climbed back to around $10,000.
Investments in crypto have remained broadly depressed through a prolonged and chilly "crypto winter." But Bitcoin mining remains an apparent bright spot.
Companies including Hut 8, Bitmain, and Bitfarms all built or expanded Bitcoin mining facilities in 2019. And the Bitcoin network’s "hashrate"—the total computing power of all participating miners worldwide—has more than doubled over the past year.
Bitcoin miners are essentially the bookkeepers of the Bitcoin network, compiling transactions and adding them to "blocks" of records published every 10 minutes. Miners earn the right to publish a block of transactions by being the first to solve a very hard, random mathematical equation known as a "hash" or "hashing puzzle." Read More...