Authorities bust crypto-mining farm running on 4,000 Sony PlayStation 4s

Originally published at: Authorities bust crypto-mining farm running on 4,000 Sony PlayStation 4s | Boing Boing


It also hasn’t ruled out involvement by officials at the power company located right next to the warehouse.

my favorite part.


There must be off-peak times when the utilities have surplus energy. There may renewables such as windmill farms in the US that only have a limited access to the power grid set up in the 50’s. I do wonder whether these people might take up mining crypto-currencies on a massive scale. This has to devalue the bitcoin until anyone who actually pays for their electricity is not making a profit.





Wasn’t there some kind of argument that crypto mining would just be using the “spare processor power” of people’s underutilized PCs in a using-all-parts-of-the-buffalo fashion (or am I just thinking of crowd-sourced protein folding…)? If so, that ideal survived the capitalism mill about as well as AirBnB being “people supplementing their income by renting unused space in their primary residences.”


I just know Hunter Biden is behind this.


I’ve been to Vinnytsia!

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I love that Sony essentially subsidized this operation since the video game systems are generally sold for a loss. Even the US Air Force has taken advantage of this economic boost.


That’s not really how Bitcoin works. The more people mining, and the more computing power they throw at it. The more difficult it gets, and the fewer coins issued.

A lot of what underpins the value of Bitcoin in any context is the expense of the electricity used to get them. And one way of describing crypto as a financial vehicle is as speculation on future power scarcity.

Since the more expensive power gets, and the more power it takes to generate coins. The more sense it makes to buy coins rather than mine them, and the higher the price for existing coins can be.


I think the hardware required is a bit too expensive to leave idling for most of the time, only mining when power is cheap.

The difficulty of mining is continously adjusted so if energy become more expensive and miners drop out, the difficulty will be lowered, reducing the power requirement until it is once again profitable. If price of bitcoin increase, then mining will be more profitable, difficulty will be adjusted up, and more energy will be required. The balance between price of buying bitcoin and mining them is guaranteed by the algorithm.


What anything is worth is always mystery. We cannot turn bitcoin back into MWh so we are not really dabbling in energy futures. But if enough people think it has a value, then it does. Sadly, the cost of the mining kit probably means it is turned permanently on, and is keeping the value up.

Maybe quantum computing can knock the bottom out of the bitcoin market.

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Burning the planet for profit. Lovely.

Mine also. My bet is that the miners bought off the officials for peanuts.


Updating this comic to reflect our current reality.


i think mostly that’s not how it works. power plants basically have to generate electricity on demand in the exact amount needed so far as i understand.

the one thing they can vary is hertz within some range that substations and our homes etc can still tolerate.

they use the load to know when to generate more but there’s not really a place to “put” electricity if it’s unused, so they have to generate less.

reminds me of texas

im super curious to know how much crypto currency has influenced their “we can’t deal with hot or cold temperatures” power grid

( and off topic but really feels like maybe the texas state government should get on that and stop building walls, suppressing voters, and attacking women )


There are a few places where you can ‘put’ unused electricity. We in the UK have the Dinorwic reserve in Wales. The Australians are using the Tesla batteries. These are inefficient ways of storing large amounts of power, but they are needed to smooth the supply over timescales of tens of seconds while people turn on other generators. So, the cost of a MWh from Dinorwic or a Tesla battery is a lot greater than the mean electricity cost.

It is easy to turn on and off fossil fuel power stations to fit demand as the input from wind and solar fluctuates.However, if we are to replace fossil fuel power stations with renewables, we are going to need a greater overcapacity in renewables. If you have a whole bunch of wind generators the coast, but it is dawn and not many people want electricity just yet, you might just mine bitcoin.

It’s stupid, yet I have this eternally-springing hope that we can get stupid to fight itself somehow.


Just to agree with you and say that in most countries gas is what is turned to in order to deal with quick surges I believe.

The idea that unused overcapacity from renewables should be used for cryptocurrency doesn’t strike me as ideal either. Surely there are useful projects that could be powered up with spare capacity in off peak hours? Power for crypto is just this:


Moreover, it’s instructive that these massive Bitcoin-mining farms have to steal the electricity for it to be economically viable. That’s the logical consequence of a currency-exchange that incentivizes waste.


Money has always been a way to tally favours owed, parking them until you can call in the favour. Bitcoin is simply the new meter to measure favours with, which tries to keep value not by a central bank ensuring that it can be cashed in but by weird math voodoo ensuring the promissory note is real and not fake.

I know, I am getting it all wrong, I can see hordes of economists lining up to tell me how I’m getting it all wrong, but really, it’s all about who or how the IOU is guaranteed.

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This part I understand. If you are using money in a short-term fashion to transfer value from A to B, then it does not matter too much where the value is coming from as long as it is not fluctuating so wildly that your value may evaporate between A and B.

A system that does not reveal its transaction history favours those of us with something to hide. There are plenty of non-shady reasons for wanting to do this, but a system that allows people to turn energy into anonymous tokens clearly favours those who take the energy without paying the going rate for it. It is hard to prevent anonymous transactions by passing laws. The only practical solution would seem to be to make some alternative that worked for honest people but did not waste energy. But how?