Editor’s Note: The Bitcoin industry exists in a legal gray zone in China, and the miners in this story, concerned about attention from the government, asked not to have their full names or the names of the villages where their mines are located mentioned in this story.
Sichuan Province is home to one of China’s largest bitcoin mines, where mining machines are used to produce cryptocurrency that is sought by entrepreneurial Chinese investors.
As of this article, Bitcoin is trading around $2,300 after falling below $2,000 over the weekend, which is worth more than the standard unit of gold, which is an ounce.
On the whole, the cryptocurrency market reached $84.9 billion on Tuesday, a 40% increase from a $61 billion low this weekend, CoinDesk reported.
Chinese photographer Liu Xingzhe visited Sichuan’s Ngawa (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, about 175 miles outside of Chengdu, to familiarize himself with how Bitcoin mining machinery works and the miners who live in dormitories taking care of business for days on end.
According to ChinaFile, one worker, who lives in one of the dorms with his colleagues, said that the nearest town is about 20 miles away, paying to hitchhike there once a week.
“The good thing is, there isn’t anywhere to spend money, so you can save your whole salary,” the miner said.
Bitcoin mine owner Liu (pictured below, left), 29, moved to Sichuan Province from Henan Province back in 2015 for cheaper and more abundant hydroelectricity.
He now manages more than 7,000 mining rigs for clients who pay for Bitcoin across China, who are able to remotely monitor the machines and earnings via smartphone apps.
Bitcoin mining has also become increasingly popular in remote areas of Sichuan Province due to cheap labor and computing power (paywall), according to Quartz.