Text: Zheng Yi
In November, Shihezi was very cold. On the dangling escalator, Wenge took off the dust-covered S9 miner in turn on the escalator, even if the machine has almost become a pile of "waste iron" because of the drop in the price of currency , But this Northwest man is still cautious.
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"Maybe someday the price of the coin will rise again and start again!" Wenge laughed. Although as a mine owner who has been operating the mine for several years, Wen Ge has long been used to "parting from life" with the machines. In his heart, he does not want the story of the "generation emperor S9" to end.
Some people say that the mining circle is insane, and the myth of being rich is staged here in turn. Others say that the mining circle is mysterious, and the miners who "make a lot of money" are the mainstay of the undercurrent of capital. Many people are envious of those nuggets who own a mining machine. The buzz when the machine is working is more pleasing than the sound of falling money. The steady production of bitcoin stimulates every cell that desires wealth.
But in the mining circle, survival is not easy. The important ecological roles in the four circles of miners, mines, mining machine manufacturers and mining pools are competing for production cycles, currency fluctuations, and technological changes. This is not a shortcut to get rich and reach the pinnacle of life. Here The only real earners are the capitalists and lucky people at the top of the food chain, and the small miners are the bottom lambs to be slaughtered.
1. "If I can come back, I will not choose to mine"
In the winter of 2017, Liu Zhigang, who traveled from Beijing to Xinjiang, first encountered the bitcoin mining machine that had been mining for him for more than half a year at Wen Ge's mine. Unlike the picture of the mine where Wenge had taken him "bright, clean, and professional", when he first walked into the mine, the dust around him even kept his eyes open. The humble shelves are cluttered with red and green miners, different types of machines are mixed together, the power cords are intertwined, and the shelves have even decayed.
"This is just a waste warehouse", Liu Zhigang looked around lost. There were many "strike" mining machines in the corner of the warehouse. They thought they had been scrapped, and only after learning about Wenge, it turned out to be a malfunction. machine. "We haven't had time to send it for repair." Wen Ge answered lightly.
Liu Zhigang couldn't help but think of his experience of "machine failure, downtime and repair for half a month", wondering whether his mining machine was also a member of that corner.
Mining machine with red and green lights staggering in the mine
On that day, Liu Zhigang personally wiped hundreds of mining machines hosted by himself, and posted the prepared coding mark on each mining machine. Before leaving, I repeatedly told the mine owner to help take care of his own mining machine, and did not forget to give the other two Yellow Crane Towers to 1916. "Nothing else, I just hope he can be better for my mining machine." Liu Zhigang Xiang PANews explained.
Although Wenge was enthusiastic, Liu Zhigang who came out of the mine was disappointed as never before. He did not believe that his own mining machine could be properly kept in that environment, and did not believe that the mine owner said that “the machine can run for two or three years.” .
"If you give me another chance, I will definitely not choose to mine."
"Isn't it good to buy coins directly? Now I feel that I am not as good as picking up leek in the secondary market." Liu Zhigang sighed, except for the huge bull market mining profits at the end of 2017, basically the mining output is used later When paying electricity and miscellaneous fees, there is little left in the surplus.
It is not Liu Zhigang's hasty decision to host the machine in this mine that is thousands of miles away. The owner of the mine, Wen Ge, is a college roommate of Liu Zhigang's high school classmate. It is also because of this relationship that he dares to host millions of mining machines. In each other's mine. Although I know there will be all kinds of cats, "but at least I will not take my miner to run." Liu Zhigang comforted himself like this.
Perhaps because of non-compliance reasons, many mines are sensitive and alert to visitors. Even though this mine is small and dilapidated, not everyone can see Wenge. Except for the local public officials who come to check from time to time, only "big households and acquaintances" like Liu Zhigang are eligible to visit.
Xiao Hua, who graduated in 2017, also started his mining journey during the Bitcoin fire. Xiaohua University majored in computer science, so he knew digital currency technology early and was obsessed with it, but his economic strength was limited, and he put together more than 40,000 yuan. After comparing several service providers, he finally gritted his teeth. I bought the futures of two S9 miners at a high price (the full payment was prepaid and waited for delivery a few months later). According to Xiao Hua, the official website machine was around 15,000, and the machine in the channel dealer's hand rose to more than 20,000. Taiwan, Xiao Hua also knew that the price of his purchase of the machine was too high, but he said helplessly: "No way, I went to the official website to grab it. The machine sold out in seconds after it was sold. And I bought too few machines and the price was low. No one else will host it. "
Xiao Hua said that in order to purchase these two futures miners, he added WeChat from dozens of channel dealers. He thought that after careful comparison, he should be foolproof, but he did not expect to step into the pit.
"The machine that had been arriving for two months was delayed by 15 days before it became available."
"Intermittent shutdowns started within a few days of being on the shelves." "Mingming's official website wrote a 12.5T hashrate, but the actual run down was only 11.5T. The mine explained that this was normal." Xiao Hua complained to PANews.
In addition to the operation of the mining machine, after receiving the bill in the first month, Xiao Hua was even more upset. It turned out that the amount to be paid on the bill was far higher than his budget. Not only did he have to pay for the electricity for the normal operation of the mining machine, but also listed many miscellaneous expenses such as transportation costs, racking fees, and management fees. Before that, regardless of the channel, Neither the merchant nor the person in charge of the mine explicitly informed Xiao Hua. In addition, Xiao Hua was greatly dissatisfied with an additional 3% electricity loss fee and an additional 500 yuan deposit per machine.
After biting his teeth and paying a lot of fees, due to the drop in the currency price, the mining income in the first month turned negative. Xiao Hua, who wanted to add a chicken leg to himself every day, did not expect to lose the hoe money.
What made Xiao Hua collapse was that only three months later, the mine unilaterally informed him that due to the dry season, all mining machines would be relocated, and the entire process would take about 20 days. There would be no revenue during this period, and all customers needed Pay a transportation fee of 200 yuan per unit. But when Xiao Hua asked if he could not move with the mine, the other party replied that he could choose not to move, but please come to the mine and pull the mining machine away. This completely defeated the psychological defense of this fresh graduate.
Having said that, Xiao Hua was silent and shook his head slowly:
"If I can come back, I will definitely not be a miner again."
2. The food chain ecology of the mineral circle
In the ecology of the mining circle, miners, mines, mining machine manufacturers, and mining pools are four important ecological roles. Many people simply refer to them as "mining". In fact, if you compare them carefully, the business models of the four are completely different.
Miners are groups that invest funds to buy machines and then make profits by mining digital currencies. It is actually difficult to predict the return cycle and profit expectations. If the currency price soars, such as in the 2017 bull market, it may take more than ten days. It can be returned, but if it is placed in the big bear market, it is likely that the machine will be scrapped and will not be returned.
The mine is more like a physical industry. The biggest investment in the construction of the mine is the cost of civil construction, pipelines, and labor costs such as security, operation and maintenance. Its source of income is the difference in electricity costs sold to miners. Unlike many imaginary mine owners who own a large number of mining machines, the reality is that many mine owners do not understand digital currencies at all and are not interested in mining. The electricity bill is a stable and high-profit business for them. The so-called large number of machines actually belong to customers.
A huge advertisement for a mining industry in Shenzhen Huaqiang North SEG Plaza
Mining machine manufacturers are the ecological roles with the highest technical level. They often invest a lot of money in chip research and development, and then use the technological advantages brought by scientific research to make a profit.
The essence of the mining pool is actually similar to the exchanges in the currency circle. They are all software service providers. Their main costs are research and development costs and network related expenses. The profit method is based on commissions from users in the mining pool.
In addition, service providers Zhao Huanran and Daye Wanping are indispensable in the ecology. They are more like lubricants, increasing the mobility of market materials and personnel. Any kind of identity role can get you a ticket to enter the mining circle, but most people can only be a miner who is unknown and slaughtered.
In fact, miners at the top of the food chain often have multiple identities, and miner manufacturers have mining pools or their own mines. Retail miners, lying at the bottom of the food chain, are mermaids.
3. Retail miners have been repeatedly "slaughtered"
"It's too common to steal computing power and change machines. There are too few mines with conscience." When talking about the chaos in the mine, Zhao Huanran sighed. Compared with the disappointment of retail investors such as Liu Zhigang and Xiao Hua after entering the mining circle, Zhao Huanran is much calmer.
After entering the mining circle at the end of 2015, several years of ups and downs have allowed Zhao Huanran to accumulate a lot of mine resources and customer relationships. Even so, he insisted not to be a "asset-heavy" model mine, but chose to deeply cultivate the asset pressure requirements Lower "service layer".
Zhao Huanran contracted the warehouse's warehouses, shelves, and machines, and then found scattered C-end customers downstream to make a profit by selling them premium mining machines and electricity prices.
"For retail customers who buy only a few mining machines, there is actually no difference between the 4 and 5 gross electricity bills. Moreover, the mine does not accept scattered machines, and the entire warehouse I contracted is actually very risky." Zhao Huan Ran said that although the electricity cost of a single mine seems to be not much, but the accumulated amount over time has brought him a lot of fixed income.
During the operation of mining machine hosting, Zhao Huanran also became accustomed to the "dirty" of the mining circle. The market environment of low evil costs and short supply has left retail miners with almost no say. In his opinion, retail miners are actually like a sheep just waiting to be slaughtered, and many people can grab a handful of hair down. The reason is mainly because "this market is too opaque." When asked about the links in which retail miners may be "snapped in wool", Zhao Huanran smiled and replied: "You should ask which links will not be stung."
Stealing computing power, changing machines, and embezzling user assets are everywhere. In Zhao Huanran's description, the mine is like a demon who devours the blood of retail investors.
Zhao Huanran said that because most people order futures mining machines, the mines are extremely scattered all over the country, which makes it impossible to estimate the time when the mining machines will be on the shelves. If the miner ships early, the mine is likely to dig it first and then choose a suitable time to return it to the miner, and the miner will not feel anything.
A small private mine in Yunnan
"After being put on the shelves, there is also a lot of operating space during the mining process. You can stop your machine for a few days every month with various excuses." Zhao Huanran explained, as for any excuse, the mine can always come up with the lead inspection , Equipment maintenance, power failure, etc. are common reasons. He said that there must be real conditions in these excuses, but there are too many evil mines and it is difficult to distinguish them, and he can only hope to recover soon.
"I remember one time, a small mine said that the cooperative power plant was on fire and shut down for a whole month." Having said that, Zhao Huanran couldn't help but curse two words. It turned out that his own mining machine was hosted there. The mine was not spared.
In Zhao Huanran's view, it is also very common to steal machines, because many retail miners do not pay attention to the serial number of their machines, and the mine does not specifically inform them after receiving the machines. After accessing the mining pool account, the miners When we see a steady stream of Bitcoin, we are so excited and forget it.
"In fact, you need to be the most vigilant at this time, because maybe your miner has been dropped from the beginning." Zhao Huanran reminded.
Although the hostile Zhao Huanran's constant description of the evils of the mine seems a little creepy and exaggerated. However, it is undeniable that digital currency mining has always been a typical high-threshold seller market. Funds and cognition need to meet the standards to participate in this nugget feast, and it is a distinguished guest or lamb to be slaughtered in the feast. Go for another race.
But Zhao Huanran made it clear that as a retail miner, the chances of winning are not large.
"Sometimes I feel sorry for them. I obviously spent a lot of money, but every profit is like the charity of others." Zhao Huanran said.
4. Nuggets are better off selling shovel
In the 19th century, during the gold rush in California, it was not the rushing gold rushers who made the fortune, but the unscrupulous sellers of shovel. The same story was played out in the mining circle. This is the most "flexible" link in the mine ecosystem.
Wan Ping, born in 1985, is a veritable "father". Before entering the mining field, Wan Ping had saved his family by selling electronic products such as Apple mobile phones. Later, I introduced the concepts of digital currency, mining machine and so on through the introduction of friends. Wan Ping, a bitcoin mining machine, felt obscure and wanted to give up, but as he got to know the market, he became more excited and even ecstatic.
In his opinion, mining machines have higher volatility than traditional electronic products, low transparency of information, and large space for speculation, which is simply a paradise for speculators. After months of in-depth study and many field trips to Huaqiangbei, in June 2017, Wan Ping felt that the time had come.
It's time to shoot.
At the time, the official price of an S9 was just over 10,000 yuan, Wan Ping spent millions on hoarding 500 S9 mining machines. Facts have proved that Wan Ping's judgment is correct.
In the second half of 2017, Bitcoin continued to rise. Although the "9.4 Incident" once caused the price of the currency to fall briefly, it has since ushered in Haikuo's surging super bull. Successive breakthroughs in the price of the currency made the mining machine also go up. When a single S9 broke 20,000 yuan at the end of the year, Wan Ping chose to start selling in batches until the single S9 price reached 30,000 yuan. He cleared all the previous stocks. Gained nearly ten million.
Not only that, the miner manufacturers also continue to distribute "big gift packages" to the channels.
In order to stimulate consumption and increase word-of-mouth, mining machine maker Bitmain has continuously issued vouchers ranging from several hundred to several thousand yuan per miner to channel vendors who have fully paid for the goods. According to the official announcement of Bitmain, the vouchers can be bought next The same amount of cash is deducted from the machine.
Like most speculators, Wan Ping did not choose to issue vouchers to customers who bought mining machines. To him, whether it is used next time to reduce the cost of stockpiling or to sell to other channel vendors at a discount, it is a good means to increase revenue. Word of mouth and human sentiment do not exist in seller markets such as mining.
Mining staff is tidying the miner
At the beginning of 2018, Wingbit released a new 10nm chip mining machine E10 with a computing power of up to 18T, hoping to use it to counter the then machine emperor S9 and increase market share. In order to promote E10, Yibbit additionally gave a miner with a total ordering power of 10% for all channel vendors. The model number is E9.1.
Although not all channel dealers will take these machines as their own, but if customers do not take the initiative to ask, they will definitely miss the opportunity. Wan Ping paid about half of the E9.1 to old customers, and the rest sold it all, making a profit of 100,000 yuan again.
"It's crazy." Wan Ping said with emotion, he himself did not expect that the profit of the mining machine for six months exceeded the accumulation of previous years.
From the beginning to the end, Wan Ping did not choose to mine by himself. In his opinion, mining is the hard work of facing back to the loess and facing the sky. Shovel is safe and easy.
5.Big Wave Sands and Cycle Struggle
In the spring of 2019, the bitcoin market continued to drop to $ 3,000, and the first-generation emperor S9 was on the verge of shutdown.
Liu Zhigang, who was far from Beijing, called Wen brother and asked the other party to help him to stop all his mining machines and deal with them at a low price. At the same time, the long bear market since 2018 has completely lost his longing for bitcoin. After clearing all the bitcoin that has been mined, the mining machine input cost is counted, and a loss of more than one million yuan has left.
Xiao Hua no longer pays attention to mining, but just mechanically repeats the work of selling coins and paying electricity bills every month. When Bitcoin falls to the S9 shutdown price, Xiao Hua can no longer contact the hosting mine, even the two mining machines. A total deposit of 1,000 yuan was also used.
Zhao Huanran ended the contract with several mines. The plunging currency price and strict national policies caused his customers to lose a lot and make ends meet.
Unlike them, Wan Ping shot again at this time, sweeping the S9 mining machine in the second mobile phone market for 300 to 400 yuan.
Wan Ping's gut tells himself that the story of mining is not over.
In the summer of 2019, the digital currency market began to rebound, and Bitcoin soared from 3,000 US dollars to 14,000 US dollars. In the process, Wan Ping sold all the miners that had bottomed out for 1,500 to 2,000 yuan, making a lot of money. Grandpa wins again.
The door of a mining machine sales office in Shenzhen Huaqiang North SEG Plaza is closed
But now, the currency price has fallen again. In December, PANews visited Shenzhen Huaqiang North Seg Plaza. The miner's booth can be closed. Many booths can not even see the shadow of a sale. Some stores even closed the gate with an iron fence.
Wan Ping, who has indescribable complex feelings for the S9 that has been reduced to scrap iron, hopes that this myth will not pass away.
The mine circle is like a siege. The front of the stage is bright and strange, and behind the scenes is the decision to leave the scene after each huge investment.
(At the request of the interviewee, in this article, Wen Ge, Liu Zhigang, Xiao Hua, Zhao Huanran, Wan Wan are aliases)