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The Bitcoin Boom: From Garage to Global Star

Ian McGowan


Bitcoin Mining Rigs: A Mario Coin, yesterday

Ian McGowan looks at bitcoin mining. From a geeky hobby to a seriously good idea…

As the price of Bitcoin goes past £12,000 I can’t help but look at these old pics of some of the miners I built and feel a little smug about all of the naysayers who were keen to laugh at my little mining hobby – while having no understanding of what it was I was actually doing.

Bitcoin Mining RigsAround Autumn of 2013 I decided to start building Bitcoin miners for sale on eBay: a) to make a few quid profit on the rig, and b) to generate Bitcoin for myself. Essentially these were aluminium frames that held the bare bones of a personal computer together along with four or five high powered graphics cards, all of which provided the grunt required to mine Bitcoin while the “difficulty” increased.

Before I would sell them I would load test them for a fortnight in my garage (or however long it took to sell them) and earn myself some Bitcoin before making a wee profit on the rig when it was sold. It was a win/win and as I’m a bit of a self-confessed tech geek I have no problem admitting that I enjoyed my little hobby. What I didn’t enjoy was explaining the concept of Bitcoin to people who asked what I was up to but then didn’t understand it and didn’t want to believe that my little hobby was anything more than a ‘geeks’ indulgence. The one person I did have to convince however was my wife who wanted to know why I was installing new power circuits and extraction fans into my garage!

Back then Bitcoin was much less mainstream than it is now but I liked the idea of a financial system that wasn’t controlled centrally and provided transparency into the ledger. When I think back to when GPU mining was profitable, it was a fun time. I had a good laugh with some friends who got involved, helped build them and even got involved in a couple of joint ventures.

The post title, “Super Mario Miners”, is actually the name of a WhatsApp group I’m in with some friends who knew nothing about crypto but listened to what I was getting excited about and decided to invest a few quid in a shared miner.

Bitcoin Mining Rigs: Mario Kart

The purpose of this post is not to say ‘I told you so’ because I don’t know where Bitcoin will end up and quite frankly I couldn’t care less what naysayers have to say. This post is to hopefully encourage others to follow through on what you want to do, even if it seems whacky and even if other people want to mock you for it because they don’t understand it, or you. Do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do because life is short and there isn’t time to worry about the naysayers.

Ian McGowna, Barrier Networks, WAF, AppSec

Ian McGowan

Managing Consultant, Barrier Networks

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