The sweeping shutdown delivered a huge prize to the rest of the world’s miners. 

BY SHAWN TULLY

Would you believe that Bitcoin mining generates just as much revenue as the age-old pursuit of unearthing gold and silver ore? Right now, minting this most unorthodox asset may also rank as the most profitable major industry on the planet. The entrepreneurs running their towering racks of rigs 24/7 were garnering stupendous margins when prices surged to over $60,000 in mid-April. Now they’re pocketing even fatter returns at prices that are one-third lower. And we’re talking numbers that for now surpass such famously lucrative enclaves as Big Pharma, luxury goods, and software. 

Obviously, it’s this summer’s sweeping clampdown in China that has greatly swelled profits for miners outside of the world’s second-largest economy. You don’t see many industries where, virtually overnight, the government authorities banish half the world’s competitors. The miners who never stopped producing in Quebec, Texas, Kazakhstan, and Malaysia are harvesting a giant windfall. But just how big is that bonanza, and how much money are they currently making? To be sure, industry data is hard to come by. Some miners are clearly much more profitable than others. That’s because rates for electricity, the principal expense, vary widely from locale to locale, and miners loaded with the newest, most powerful machines earn more than those running on “legacy” gear that’s as little as two years old. Still, we know the size of the industry’s revenues, and we can get a reasonable estimate of overall electricity costs. Those figures can give us a good view of the overall industry’s newly exploding margins.

Via Fortune.com

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