Crypto miners—in particular those mining ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market valuation behind bitcoin—have been in the crypto equivalent of a gold rush since early this year. They are racing to take advantage of ethereum’s exploding price by adding more processing power to their mines. Some of them are even resorting to leasing Boeing 747s to fly the increasingly scarce graphics processors from AMD and Nvidia directly to their ethereum mines so they can be plugged in to the network as quickly as possible.
“Time is critical, very critical,” in mining, Marco Streng, chief executive of Genesis Mining, a major ethereum miner, told Quartz. “For example, we are renting entire airplanes, Boeing 747s, to ship on time. Anything else, like shipping by sea, loses so much opportunity.”
Up for grabs is a supply of roughly 36,000 units of new ether, the digital token associated with ethereum, per day. At current prices of around $200 per ether, that translates to $7.2 million worth of ether that miners compete for each day.
“When building our data centers, we have the highest priority on time,” Streng said. “Time counts so much. We are using the fastest delivery possible. You risk the opportunity to mine for the days you are delayed. If you are deploying 10 days later, you are losing 10 days of mining—that is the cost.”