Russian Grannies Have Not Lost Their Enthusiasm for Bitcoin Mining

Siamak Masnavi

On Saturday (29 December 2018), BBC News released a video report titled "Bitcoin Babushkas: Cryptocurrency mining in Siberia" about Bitcoin-mining grannies ("babushka" is the Russian word for "grandmother" or a lady old enough to be a grandmother even if she does not have children) that BBC's Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford met when she visited the city of Irkutsk in Eastern Siberia, Russian.

Babushka 1 ("Valeriya")

"I want some money that I've earned myself. And I want a lot of money!"

Valeriya's son, Yuri, got into mining since he was having difficulty making money from his karaoke business. Now, Yuri owns a mining farm. One of the hardware miners in there is a present from Yuri to his mom.

Yuri says that Irkutsk is the "crypto-capital" of Russia:

"For this business you don't need to be a great specialist, because it's an easy system. You only put your computers in electricity and internet."

Although some people in the region disconnected their miners when the Bitcoin price "plunged," Valeriya remains convinced that the Bitcoin price will go up again in the future:

"When the Bitcoin will be worth a million, then I will leave a very large inheritance to my grandchildren!"

Babushka 2 ("Marina")

According to the BBC report, babushka 2, Marina, is "boosting her pension with Bitcoin." She showed the BBC reporter her three Bitcoin miners:

"There they are: the boxes that make noise and bring in money."

Marina bought her Bitcoin mining equipment after a friend advised her to do so:

"He Helped me buy and install it all. I don't regret it. They made the money back quickly — in around 8–9 months."

Marina has found a novel way to benefit from the heat generated by her Bitcoin miners: "All the hot air is perfect for drying pumpkin, tea and herbs." She says that all of these "dry very quickly... in just one day."

Why Siberia Is Ideal for Bitcoin Mining

The report says that "the conditions in Siberia are ideal for Bitcoin mining":

  • "The freezing weather keeps the machines cool."
  • "Electricity is very cheap."

Industrial Scale Bitcoin Mining in Siberia

On 13 April 2018, Bitcoinist reported that "one of the largest cryptocurrency mining farms in Russia is expected to start operations within a month at the 'Divnyi' industrial park in the city of Divnogorsk, located in the remote Krasnoyarsk region." This article also mentioned that "the company is planning to recruit graduates of the local Siberian State University to help with the operations, while the heat energy produced during the cryptocurrency mining process will be used to heat residential buildings in the area."

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