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Last year Kazakhstan became the second biggest crypto-currency mining country in the world, thanks partly to a vast mine containing 50,000 computers in the desert near the northern city of Ekibastuz.

Young men work 12 hours a day for 15 days in a row without leaving the site, in order to keep it running round the clock.

But the rapid growth of crypto-mining in the country has put pressure on the energy sector, which relies heavily on polluting, carbon-intensive coal-fired power stations.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 26th, 2022

Link to 3 minute 36 second video: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-60148754

Discussion

  1. Note: the video actually gets a few things incorrect. For one, the cryptomining calculations are not “extremely difficult”. For the most part they are rather simple. The issue is not complexity of the calculation but that it can be found by almost any machine doing the calculation. As a result, the one to solve the problem is driven by two things: 1) how many machines are tackling the problem, and 2) the speed of the machines tacking the problem.
    So, when the video says that the machines are hot because of the complexity of the calculations, that is incorrect. The machines are hot because they are “overclocked”. That means that they have been “juiced” to run as fast as they can.
    This is an important point to raise as it is frequently misunderstood.
  2. Why does it matter that cryptomining uses a lot of electricity?

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