Bitcoin is earned — or ‘mined’ — by using your computer to help process the uncrackable “blockchains” or digital transaction records that underpin the currency.
This requires huge computing capacity, and a lot of electricity, and so is mostly done with huge machines in aircraft hangar-sized warehouses in the cooler climates of Iceland, Canada, northern China and Russia, where it costs less to disperse the heat generated.
The rewards for those who can verify transactions in the process which produces bitcoins have never been greater.
“Current demand from our clients exceeds 700 megawatts and is approaching one gigawatt,” said Runets. “We will of course continue to build data processing centres. In 2021, we plan to reach 300 megawatts of power.”
Another 100-megawatt centre is already under construction in the neighbouring Buryatiya region, Runets said.
Big deals with foreign firms, such as one last December which saw 14 lorries full of equipment arrive in Bratsk, can boost the local economy and are a sign that BitRiver has become a global player, he said in a company video.