Inside the largest cryptocurrency mining mine in Russia
Bitriver, the largest cryptocurrency miner in Russia, currently operates more than 20,000 miners and is aiming to scale up to 67,000.
Bitriver is the largest data center in the countries of the former Soviet Union. This center is located next to the world's largest aluminum smelter in the 1960s and a hydroelectric power plant ensures sufficient power for the operation. Opened last year, Bitriver has attracted numerous customers from around the world such as the US, Japan and China, mainly to exploit Bitcoin.
Billionaire Oleg Deripaska and his colleagues came up with the idea to build Bitriver in Bratsk about 5 years ago. He is the head of En + Group Plc and United Co. subsidiary. Rusal, owns two hydroelectric and aluminum plants in the city of Bratsk.
Inside Bitriver, specialized cryptocurrency mining rigs (ASIC) are divided into three tiers, supported by a wall-mounted source system with a total capacity of 100 megawatts. Running along the length of the building is a series of large industrial fans to cool the device during cryptocurrency mining.
A team of engineers is hired 24/7 to monitor and diagnose problems of ASIC excavators and power supplies. All must comply with the protection requirements, such as wearing hearing protection against the loud noise of the system and radiator fan.
All technicians here are trained and certified by Chinese cryptocurrency mining equipment manufacturers, Bitmain and Innosilicon.
Security personnel are tasked with regularly patrolling in the main mining area.
The Bratskaya hydroelectric plant, located on the Angara River - where Bitriver supplies electricity - is one of the cheapest electricity generating places in the world. Because Russia does not recognize cryptocurrency mining, Bitriver only provides equipment and technical services in the database.
Each year, En + Group Plc supplies Bitriver with 100 megawatts of electricity and the excess power can be sold. Cheap and stable power source is an important factor in mining process because excavators consume a lot of electricity to perform complex algorithms.
In addition to the abundant energy supply, the city of Bratsk is an ideal stop for miners thanks to the typical climate of Siberia - long and cold winters. Natural cold air helps to regulate the high temperatures generated by the training machine, thereby saving expensive investment on heat sinks.