By Christian Britschgi | Reason
Since late 2020, a steady hum has been emanating from 15 large metal containers sitting next to an electricity substation in the small community of Limestone in rural Washington County, Tennessee.
Those boxes make up a bitcoin “mine.” Inside each one, a network of linked computers works to solve equations that keep bitcoin’s decentralized network up and running. In exchange for solving these equations—for performing the work of keeping the bitcoin network alive—the mining computers are rewarded with bitcoins. This process is how bitcoins and many other forms of cryptocurrency are brought into the world; it’s complex and computationally intensive, a little like running a video game with cutting-edge graphics.