Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China A and hk bitcoin mining ago, after a speculative coal boom fizzled, the once-thriving desert city of Ordos, in Inner Mongolia, became China’s largest ghost town, littered with unfinished or empty buildings and desperate for another way to make money. The noise in the dimly lit buildings is loud and unceasing. Workers tending to the machines must wear mufflers to do their work.
Quartz is a digitally native news outlet for the new global economy. 70 billion, and whose ability to act as a kind of digital gold has captured the imaginations of governments, big banks, and small entrepreneurs. Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. That has made China a dominant force in a new industry that may one day define how global transactions are ordered. The other hosts 4,000 machines dedicated to litecoin, an alternative digital currency that’s been rising in price in recent months.
Next to the warehouse buildings sits a three-story office with a canteen and dormitory for the mine’s workers. Racks of litecoin mining machines in a warehouse building in Ordos. This month, Quartz took a tour of the mine and spoke with its employees. Working in such a place can be both tedious and surreal. But the work is less physically demanding—and the clean, temperature-controlled environment is less hazardous to workers’ health—than at many jobs in the area, where the economy is driven by coal mining and industries like aluminum smelting and chemical engineering. In 2012, before coal prices began to plummet, Ordos accounted for a fifth of the country’s coal output. While many local coal mines closed after prices dropped, the area remains notable for cheap, abundant, coal-powered energy, which helps explain the presence of a sprawling, electricity-hungry bitcoin operation in what feels like the middle of nowhere.