Bitcoin mining plants and how they work


Major miners take advantage of the market correction to buy equipment at discounted prices. Due to the growing network difficulty, market players have to ramp up capacity all the time. It is best to mine BTC on your own in 2022 using a mining plant. They place the equipment in data centers or build warehouses. Some of the leading miners rent abandoned factories. As a way to save on electricity and cooling, these farms are usually located in regions with colder climates near thermal and hydroelectric power plants.

What industrial-scale crypto mining exactly is

In 2022, the profitability of BTC mining declined as a result of the drop in the exchange rate and the rising difficulty of the blockchain. However, for owners of powerful farms, crypto minting remains a lucrative business. Large-scale Bitcoin mining takes as little as 15 kWh of power to begin with. You simply cannot install this kind of hardware at home. It will require power supply cables and a powerful heat dissipation device.

Russia’s national average electricity price is 3.1 kWh. In Irkutsk and Norilsk, if you sign a contract with a power plant, the cost is even lower – 1.2-2.5 kWh. In such circumstances, the business will be profitable until the Bitcoin sinks below $3,000.

Cambridge University estimates that BTC mining consumes the same amount of electricity per year as the residents and factories of a small country like Belgium or Switzerland. To cut costs, some states (China and Abkhazia) have been forced to ban crypto mining. By the end of 2021, Swedish authorities also called for a curb on coin mining in the EU. In Russia there are no such problems. Since the Soviet period, hydroelectric power plants have been built with increasing generation capacity in mind.

To start industrial-scale mining, you first need to:

  1. Draw up a business plan. Choose a coin, calculate the potential income and return on investment with a calculator.
  2. Determine the location of the future farm. Strive to reduce operating expenses. Lots of entrepreneurs install hardware in cold regions (Irkutsk, Bratsk, Norilsk) to economize on electricity and cooling systems. It is not a problem for some miners to place it in the CIS countries (Kazakhstan, Belarus). At this point, you need to consider the challenges of transporting the hardware and the legal risks.
  3. Find the space. You can build a warehouse for the farm, repurpose storage facilities and prefab buildings. Another option is to rent an abandoned factory. Entry-level miners are free to rent space in a data center.
  4. Purchase and run the hardware. It is possible to buy a ready-made farm from a developer (dealer). The set of devices will cost between 8 and 60 million rubles. It is necessary to first check the ASICs for performance and install antivirus. The GPU will require an additional mining software to be downloaded.

Coin mining is a continuous process. The system operates under extreme loads and requires scheduled maintenance. For preventive maintenance and timely troubleshooting, experienced technicians will be needed. To maintain a 10 MW farm, you need at least 20 employees. Wage costs will be approximately 35-50 million rubles.

A very important expenditure item is the establishment of engineering infrastructure. In order to use electricity, you have to build a network that lowers the voltage. The minimum price of components and works is in the range of 30-50 million rubles as well. You also need a stable Internet connection – a sky-fi or Fiber Internet. It is advisable to create a margin of power in case of emergency or an increase in the hash rate. It will cost 0.76-4.5 billion rubles for the building of infrastructure, depending on the climate. In northern regions, one can save money on cooling.

ASIC Mining

Top blockchain algorithms are getting more sophisticated. In 2022, you can mine bitcoin only on integrated circuits (ASICs). See the table below for the benefits of an ASIC-based farms.

The ASIC cost is highly dependent on prices of crypto. In May 2021, you could buy a miner for $15,000 in a rising market. As of spring 2022, the price had dropped to $7,000 per each. During the June 2022 the BTC exchange rate dipped below $19,000. ASIC manufacturers are no longer accepting orders. For now, you can buy ASICs at resellers or on the secondary market. Keep in mind that many data centers do not host legacy models.

Hardware manufacturers

This year, industrial-scale mining farms are focused on mining Bitcoin, Ethereum and other market-leading coins. Companies use ASICs and video cards for mining. Among the leaders in the production of integrated circuits are:

  • Bitmain. The Chinese company produces ASICs designed for mining BTC, ETH, ZEC, DASH. Bitmain’s share of the global ASIC market exceeds 70% in 2022.
  • Canaan. They produce Bitcoin and SHA256 mining hardware. As of this year, Canaan is making more than 20% of the world’s miners in 2022.

All other companies (Intel, Innosilicon, WhatsMiner, Goldshell Baikal, Bitfury) have only a small share of the market. However, ASICs are detrimental to the decentralization of the blockchain. High-powered miners concentrate hashrate in a narrow circle of large investors. As a result, it increases the chance of an attack by 51%. For this reason, cryptocurrency developers are upgrading algorithms to avoid ASICs. It is still profitable to mine altcoins on video cards. The top companies in GPU production are:

  • NVIDIA. Graphics cards are favored because of their energy efficiency and excellent developer support. NVIDIA keeps its drivers up to date and runs service centers in countless countries around the world.
  • AMD. AMD GPUs have no protection against custom BIOS flashing. Therefore, experienced users can significantly improve the performance of cards up to 70%. Their chips are also used in the GPUs of Biostar, MSI, TUL.

Profitability

When making a business plan for mining, the calculation is made in production units. The expenses (cost of equipment, wiring, maintenance, placement, means of communication) for each TH/s are taken into account. The calculation of profitability also includes the following parameters:

  • Crypto’s price volatility. It is usually based on an average exchange rate for fiat. If the price falls below the midpoint, gains are spent only to cover costs. As the exchange rate rises, some of the digital assets are accumulated in an insurance fund (in USDC or USDT). You will need these funds when the income from mining is insufficient to cover your monthly expenses.
  • Updating hardware on a regular basis. More and more powerful technology is emerging every year, and the difficulty of blockchains is growing. Outdated devices are sold on the secondary market at a discount of no more than 50%.
  • Running costs. Crypto miners pay for electricity, hosting, and employee work. You also need to consider the cost of transporting hardware to the data center and portable containers to place the hardware (if necessary).
  • Fiat exchange fees and taxes. Market players pay taxes according to the common rules – a rate of 6-13%. To convert crypto to fiat through an exchange or exchanger, you have to pay a fee of 2-10%.
  • Data center startup. It is more cost effective for large businesses with large facilities to build a farm than to rent space in mining hotels. Include the price of the room, wiring, cooling, and Internet connection in the calculation.

As for 2022, against the background of a general market correction, the profitability of industrial-scale mining decreased. To cover the cost of hardware and get a profit of 30-50% (if you sell the equipment and leave the market), you need to keep mining coins for at least 3 years.

Conclusion

Lots of users see the drop in coin and equipment prices as a chance to enter the market. Nevertheless, only GPU miners can expect discounts. ASIC manufacturers have suspended sales of the devices. You can acquire a new ASIC only through resellers.

There are increased risks associated with the business of crypto mining. Before launching a large farm, you need to calculate the profitability. It will require a large investment to buy the necessary equipment. Besides, it is necessary to pay for electricity, repair and maintenance of appliances each month.

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