Without drawing too much attention to himself, an enterprising young man has created the largest Bitcoin mining operation in Quebec. The entrepreneur is Jonathan Bertrand, owner of a company called Technologies D-Central based just outside Montreal. If his present success weren’t enough, he is busy planning an expansion.
Passers-by are none the wiser as the hangar is inconspicuous at best when viewed from the outside. Inside, the fifty computers (and their cooling fans) that are continually running, generating an enormous amount of noise as a by-product of the Bitcoin mining.
Quebec is a popular choice of location for such an operation, as it has a relatively low cost of electricity. The low input costs increases profit margins, as Bitcoin mining requires substantial amounts of power. These computers exist for the sole purpose of mining the cryptocurrency by continuously solving complex calculations, and consequently, they do not have keyboards or screens.
The value of bitcoin itself is determined by the number of coins in circulation and the number of people using or buying it. As it is a peer-to-peer digital currency, it cannot be regulated by any bank or government, thus making it decentralized. Over the course of 2017, the value of bitcoin has increased exponentially, growing by ten times in under 12 months. The bitcoin price at the time of writing is approximately $8100.
Bitcoin mining computers can access and maintain public ledgers and databases with the knowledge of the amount of bitcoin currently available worldwide, as well as the value thereof.
Bertrand explains the Bitcoin mining in the following way, “The Bitcoin network, every heartbeat, is a microchip that makes a constant calculation, every second.” According to Bertrand, Bitcoin mining is the small percentage of each transaction that is received by the computer that solves the calculation. Although these amounts are minuscule, with the right processing power and enough computers, they quickly add up.
All over the world, computers compete to be the first to solve the equations. Through this process, new bitcoins are created.
In addition to low electricity costs, the cold winters of the Canadian province increase the efficiency of the computer systems. Less cooling fans require less electricity, making it a prime location for mining cryptocurrency. One machine alone running night and day brings in a monthly electricity bill of $90, but this cost is reduced during the winter months.
Bertrand is not alone in his observations of the province’s suitability. Large Bitcoin mining companies from China and Iceland are considering setting up operations right on his doorstep. Not fazed by this, Bertrand has expansion plans of his own, looking to purchase additional processors for his warehouse. He also aims to open a second location in Montreal in the near future.
Although entrepreneurs around the world are greatly tempted by the prospect of commercial Bitcoin mining, it is not without risk. There are frequent warnings published by financial authorities that caution of market instability. The mining industry also has a strong association with money laundering, an act that can fetch significant penalties and jail time.
Bertrand, fully aware of the risks and the potential obstacles, assured that his business operates 100 percent legally. In his educated opinion, bitcoin will soon be competing with the traditional banking system.