Computers have replaced shovels – there are now over 1,000,000 unique Bitcoin miners.
Like the gold rush of 1848, hordes of computer-savvy entrepreneurs have flocked to mining cryptocurrencies looking for riches. Dependent on the picks and shovels of the 21st century, crypto miners extract the digital rewards of Bitcoin plus a share of transaction fees using purpose-built hardware, cost-effective power sources and computational muscle. The rewards appear to be greater than striking a motherlode—the global cryptocurrency mining market was valued at US $610 million in 2016 and has been projected to exceed $38 billion by 2025. In a bold foray into the new gold rush, International Spirits & Wellness Holdings Inc. (“ISW Holdings”) (OTC: ISWH) (ISWH Profile) recently announced a strategic partnership with Bit5ive LLC, a global leader in cryptocurrency mining and innovative turnkey mining solutions. ISW Holdings looks to combine this joint venture with its current renewable energy project to provide crypto miners the energy, hardware, and infrastructure they need, capturing a significant slice of a burgeoning digital bonanza. The crypto mining sector has grown so fast that it has impacted earnings of major tech companies. Several years ago, graphics processing unit (GPU) designers Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) and NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) posted unprecedented sales of their GPU products designed for gaming, thanks to the cryptocurrency mining boom. It was found that those GPUs had computing ability for the complex mathematical tasks at the center of mining cryptocurrency. Riot Blockchain Inc. (NASDAQ: RIOT), long focused on building, supporting and operating blockchain technologies, has been heavily investing in its Bitcoin mining operation, and tech behemoth Tencent Holdings Limited (OTC: TCEHY) is reportedly creating a new digital currency team to explore possible new uses of cryptocurrency.