A week after I visited the last bitcoin mine in northeast China, I was able to arrange a trip to a larger, even more secretive operation. These exclusive photos provide a glimpse inside one of China’s largest bitcoin mines.
Arriving at the site, I did not expect it to be so busy. There were men in hard hats and work crews mulling about, and vehicles coming and going. There were cement trucks and lorries hauling steal beams, along with massive spools of industrial sized wiring. This wasn’t a repurposed factory like the previous mine I visited… this was an entire facility being constructed just for bitcoin mining!
The site contained four large warehouses, each decked out in the standard white wall/blue roof décor that seems to be the running standard for Chinese industrial use. Each warehouse measured about 150 meters in length, by perhaps 20 meters wide… that’s around 3,000 square meters (32,000 ft2) In addition to the four standing warehouses, there was a steel frame that had already been erected and was awaiting completion, and crews of workers were busy building a foundation for yet another warehouse next to that one. Two additional plots had been measured out and marked with posts and rope. That’s four completed warehouses, two under construction, and two more waiting to begin construction. I was asked not to post photos of the construction.
The mine operators told me that each warehouse took fifteen days to construct, and an additional ten days to fill up with hardware and get it all hashing away. The concrete was still drying on some of the buildings.
Each building had large industrial fans lining one entire side, blowing outwards, and the opposite wall covered with this strange material.
They keep the machines cool with an evaporative cooling system. Its basically a durable paper product that looks like the wavy corrugated part on the inside of cardboard. Water is pumped to the top and flows down, and the fans blowing outwards on the other side create negative air pressure, drawing fresh air through the holes and cooling it.
The cooling system seems pretty effective, the inside of the warehouses were around 25 degrees (77 °F).
Because the facility was constructed for bitcoin mining, it features some optimizations, like ditches for running cabling through:
The site hosts many different models of bitcoin mining equipment.
Everything is still under construction, so there’s lots of stuff like this around:
The boxes the miners were shipped in.
More empty boxes.
Tons of supplies, like this massive crate full of power supply units.
Fans waiting for more equipment to arrive.
There’s also a bed here, although this one is for naps, no one actually lives at this facility like in the last one I featured.
This entire facility has several petahashes of mining power, accounting for perhaps 5% of the entire bitcoin network. Damn.
They monitor the hashrate from a tablet to make sure that everything is in order.
Bonus nighttime pic: