Friday, April 11, 2014

Bitcoin Mining Boom Sputters as Prospectors See Real Cash Losses

Bloomberg reports on another angle of the disaster that is Bitcoin. Bitcoin miners who have bought expensive machines to "mine" bitcoins are facing a losing proposition:
The bitcoin mining rush is sputtering.

Speculators, known as miners, use powerful computers to solve complex software problems and verify transactions to unlock new bitcoins. They’re finding that the enterprise isn’t as profitable as it once was.

Drawn by the virtual currency’s jump in value last year, digital prospectors have turned the mining industry into an arms race as they buy expensive computing equipment and gobble up electricity. While that worked well as long as bitcoin’s value kept rising, smaller players are now being crowded out by bigger competition, high utility bills and declining prices.

“If you mine at the moment, you have to be very lucky to get anything,” said Mehmet Vatansever, who bought $16,000 worth of mining computers in February to chase after new bitcoins. “It’s a very difficult business.”... 
While he has been able to create new bitcoins, Vatansever soon discovered that his equipment was on track to earn less than his monthly utility bill of $480. After selling his computers on EBay Inc. in April, Vatansever estimates that he lost a total of about $6,000 on his mining adventure... 
EBay now features more than 1,600 listings for mining computers, many of them used.

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