With the boom of cryptocurrency at the end of 2017, where the bitcoin emerged as the best-known example, the number of "miners" multiplied in the world and many still dream of making a fortune despite the fact that there are times of meager gains.
In a room of his apartment Ali & # 39; platforms & # 39; (rigs), sets of graphics cards that the cryptocurrency.
Although the plant remains profitable despite the fall in prices, the profit has nothing to do with the profit that was achieved in the beginning.
"This is the worst possible period to invest," says this young man who prefers not to give up his last name. He can still cover his expenses, but the months that he could generate 15,000 euros per machine were far away.
"Today it is divided by ten", he estimated when he claimed that he had amassed enough to win losses between six and eight months and keep winning.
Ali acquired his first "rig" in January 2017, a platform of six graphics cards. Today he is preparing for the purchase of his seventh. The total amount invested was approximately 13,000 euros, partly paid with the first profit.
To work, most virtual currencies require machines that are connected to the network. To encourage the activity, new units of cryptocurrencies are issued to reward the miners. But the more numerous they are, the less they earn.
Drunk computing capacity
"Our customers do not get what they expected," Genesis Mining, a company that rents computer capacity, recognized in a blog post in mid-August.
The company underlines a "downward trend" in prices and "a significant increase in the difficulty (of mining) since April and May."
The collapse of the Bitcoin, which has lost two thirds of its value since December and has dragged numerous cryptocurrencyIt has not discouraged the miners.
By contrast, according to the Bitinfocharts site, Bitcoins' minus capacity has more than tripled since the quote reached its ceiling and this trend seems to continue. On Monday, a "farm" with more than 3,000 mine units was opened in Russia.
As a result, profitability collapses. By mid-December, the reference unit for computing capacity, THash / second, could have reached the equivalent of US $ 3.84 per day, compared to only 25 cents that we received today.
Faced with this scenario, Genesis Mining has offered its customers to rent newer equipment at a reduced price to halve their maintenance costs. A proposal that has been received cold.
"It is not fair, the first users have ensured that they are where they are now, give us a free extension, we earn it and they know it", a customer reacted to Twitter.
Electricity for a good price
But mines can be expensive. For example, the Antminer S9, a mining device for bitcoin, is worth more than 600 euros and consumes 1,600 euros of electricity per year.
People who focus on other virtual currencies that are simpler and more accessible than bitcoin, prefer less greedy graphics cards.
Philippe Vanbaelinghem, a miner for almost a year, benefits from a "huge advantage" on this subject. As an agent of the company EDF (Electricity of France) you benefit from reduced electricity tariffs, which allow you to reduce your bill by 80 euros per month and ultimately generate 140 euros in monthly profit.
"Not everyone is in the same situation", he acknowledges and underlines that when he started, he could have even benefited from his investment with normal electricity tariffs, but now this is not the case.
Ali, tenant, pays fixed rates that include electricity. A situation that does not bother him. In one and a half years you have not received any complaints from your landlord.
If everything goes according to plan, Ali wants to stop working in four or five years to live on their income. Although with cryptocurrencies "you have to wait for everything", said the 25-year-old.