Bitcoin collecting has caused a wave of supercomputers techies hoping to make them a small fortune – even if it costs load of cash to power.
Specially developed Bitcoin ‘mining’ computers are either homemade or can be purchased from one of the growing number of online stores dedicated to cashing in on the supply side of the cult currency trend.
The 21 million Bitcoins hidden across an internet-based network, are expected to all be found by 2040. To unearth them computers have to solve the complex processor-intensive equations which hold them.
What is a Bitcoin?
It’s a piece of data locked in an internet-based network by a complex equation computers can break.
Once released it can be traded and used like money online and can be purchased with real cash.
Many websites are now taking Bitcoins as a form of currency. As well as digital currency, Bitcoin miners enjoy the competitive nature of unlocking the coins.
Famous fans include the Winklevoss twins who own around 1 percent of Bitcoins – currently worth around $11million
It has been dismissed by some as a Ponzi Scheme and touted by others as the future of money. It is not centrally controlled and it’s unique and complex set up means the market cannot be altered or hacked, according to the developers
There are 21 million coins predicted to last until 2140 and their finite nature means they perform more like a commodity, such as gold. The coins first emerged in 2008 and launched as a network in 2009.
They were introduced by an obscure hacker whose identity is a mystery but is known as Satoshi Nakamoto, which is thought to be a pseudonym. Users choose a virtual wallet from one of the various providers which enables them to receive, give and trade coins from other users. Bitcoins can be bought from specialist currency exchanges and online marketplaces such as eBay. Bitcoins mining machines can unlock many of the potentially lucrative coins – essentially computer codes – which are then used as currency online making their collectors potentially very rich.
The Bitcoin network, set up by a mysterious programmer under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009, is also designed to get more complex the more miners there are looking for Bitcoins – opening the potential for ever-developing mining machines.