Bitcoin Mining in Canada & United States

Bitcoin Mining in Canada & United States

Operating a Bitcoin mining facility can be profitable, but you need to treat it like a business. I operate a small Bitcoin mining facility, and there is a lot more that goes into it than just plugging in the equipment and letting it run.

it’s easy to set up a single Bitcoin mining device and run it. Scaling to something that can make a significant amount of money is a different story, however. To make a profit, one needs reliable revenue and low costs. This means low costs for all aspects of the operation:

  1. Equipment
  2. Electricity
  3. Cooling
  4. Infrastructure
  5. Business Managment
  6. Operation and Maintenance

 

Equipment

Bitcoin mining hardware is the first and most important part of the operation. If you can’t get good equipment at a good price, you might as well stop right there. At this point in time, the only available equipment option to buy to buy is the Bitmain Antminer S9. You should be able to generate about 0.04 Bitcoin per month (as of January  2018, post-halvening).

Don’t be scared in July 2016 it was making half of bitcoin a month. Why are profits of S9 are so small right now? you might ask. Well, all that is due to difficulty adjustment that usually happens every 4 years and/or as hashing power growth. Usually, every 3 years or so, a  new ASIC hardware is released. How people compensate these years is simple… Each machine has predicted ROI and so people purchase more machines to compensate and to increase their profits. That how our mining operations will work with our partners.

If you wish to learn how ASIC works, Bitmain Antminer S7 is a good choice to learn about mining. Depending on your electricity prices, it might be profitable for you to operate it. The power supplies need to be purchased separately. If you have 110 Volt AC, get this setup from Centrix International. If you have 220 VAC, you can use either the Centrix setup or get the power supply from eBay for S7. We can help you acquire a used unit of S7 at a reasonable price so you would be able to learn more in-depth about ASIC mining.

As for new equipment, we keep a close eye on all innovations related to crypto mining and you can count on us to have the newest hardware and at a reasonable price. Sometimes reasonable pricing and good relationship with customers worth more than supply and demand ratio that affects the pricing of hardware and parts.

Electricity

The Bitcoin mining hardware basically converts electricity to Bitcoin. The lower your electricity costs, the better off you will be. For US Dollars, your electricity costs should be $0.10 per KiloWatt Hour or less to maintain profitability.

Calculating actual electricity cost can be a bit tricky, and if you have a choice of electricity suppliers, it is worth getting their rate sheet to determine the price at the usage. As a starting point, there will be different rates.

Residential – usually low price.
Commercial light – less than 200 amps or 30,000 KWHr per month
Commercial medium – less than 500,000 KWHr per month
Commercial heavy – everything else
Within these rates, there will usually be a few categories of costs. It is best to put together a spreadsheet, add all the costs together, then calculate an effective per KWHr rate in order to compare the two. The costs you will have to take into account are:

Monthly service fee
Usage fee – how many KWHr used
Demand fee – maximum Watts used at any one time
Demand peak – additional fee based on maximum Watts vs. average Watts
We were looking at setting up shop in the Canadian province of Quebec because the price was $0.0493 per KWHr, but as we looked at the Quebec Hydropower rate sheets more carefully, there was a Demand Fee that brought the effective rate up to $0.07 per KWHr. That’s a big difference! We also plan to make it even cheaper down the road by acquiring the building and build our own power plant with help from our local and international partners in this field. Here is Why:

Quebec Hydropower Commercial Rates. If you are in a location where electricity is included in the price of your location, you may be able to operate a single Bitcoin miner. We’ve found that you can turn the fan speed down to 40% or so if you operate in an air-conditioned environment, then it won’t be that loud, and you might be able to run it without anyone noticing…but if you operate more than one of the units the electrical usage will be probably be noticed by the building owner at some point. These devices use a lot of electricity!

One of the first questions we get is the possibility of using solar power. Yes, it’s possible, and let’s think about it for a minute. A solar panel can supply about 100 Watts when the sun is shining on it. Ten of the Antminer S9’s use 12,000 Watts, 24 hours per day. So you would need three times as many solar panels and a storage system. That’s 360 solar panels, and at $100 each, that’s $36,000 in panels! You would also need a place to set them up, wiring between them, and someone to keep them all running. That would be difficult and probably not the best use of your time.

Whenever you have the option, use 220 Volt AC instead of 110 VAC.  The power supplies for the miners run more efficiently at the higher voltage.

We also have one of the best industrial electricians who worked on multiple projects for Oil and Gas industry here in Alberta and has experience of building data centres that can sustain themselves

P.S We believe that our analytical data in terms of profitability of mining in Canada. We can help many electrical companies that have experience building sustainable solutions, as well as commercial miners.

Cooling

Bitcoin miners put out a lot of heat. The fans on each of the Antminer units push through about 200 Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) of air. The nice thing is, there are no hard drives in these systems, so they can run hotter than a typical server.

These systems are basically three cards, each running lots of ASIC’s, with heat sinks on the top and bottom of the chips. Here is one that’s open for cleaning.

 

Antminer open for cleaning the good news is that these boxes don’t need to be in an air-conditioned environment, they just need a lot of airflows to get rid of the heat. In my first location, I put in place a large exhaust fan that was rated at 10,000 CFM. That size fan would be able to remove the heat generated by 50 Antminers because 50 x 200 CFM = 10,000 CFM. I had to match the intake vents to 10,000 CFM of airflow also, of course. That took up twice the space of the fan. Here’s a nice fan from Grainger, and some Drainable Louvers:

You will need a way to direct the flow of air so it does not bypass or recirculate around your Bitcoin miners. We will tell you how to build some air flow out of wooden 2×4s with plastic sheeting stapled to it. at letter time.

Infrastructure

This is all the stuff that you need to get the Bitcoin miners connected and working. It helps to have a little bit of data networking knowledge here. The easiest way to get that is to pick up a Cisco CCNA certification guide from the bookstore and use that as a reference. Or hire our boss as he is CCNA Certified with some other IT-related perks from  Infrastructure Managment to Network Security, Web Design and CEH.

Firewall and router

You’re going to need an internet connection. It does not need to be fast, but it should be reliable. The Bitcoin miners can only earn money if they can download the hashing puzzles from the Internet and upload the solutions.

It would be useful to have a firewall that has remote access VPN capability, so you would be able to access the equipment remotely. We really like the Cisco Meraki MX64W firewall. It’s everything you need, has top level security, and provides remote access VPN along with Wifi.

Network Switches

Each of the Bitcoin miners has a network connection. It needs to plug into something. You’ll need to buy a network switch to make it work. The switches don’t have to be fast. I prefer to buy used Cisco 48 port switches. You can get one of those for less than $100 on eBay. Or use Tenda that is sold on AliExpress. Tenda is well known Chinese manufacturer of Network infrastructure equipment that is comparable to Cisco and sometimes even more reliable and cost-effective. Power Distribution Unit

Power Distribution Unit (PDU)

The Bitcoin miners use a lot of power – did we say that already? You are going to need an electrician to run electricity to your miners. Tell him that you want a bunch of 220 VAC, 30 Amp connections, and you are going to be using NEMA L6-30P connectors (in North America).

Plan on each Antminer using 6 Amps of 220VAC power, which means if you get a 30 amp Power Distribution Unit (PDU), you can power 4 Antminer’s from it. You can try to power 5 from them, but you’ll pop circuit breakers. This Tripp-Lite PDUH30HV would a good one to get.

Power Cords

You’ll need to get the power cables that go from the PDU to the power supplies also. These can be tricky to figure out. You’ll need the IEC C14 to C13  connectors. There are lots of different vendors for these.

This is a handy guide from APC to all the different types of power connectors that can be used in North America

Video Surveillance System

These are really inexpensive these days. Connect a cheap 4 camera video surveillance system up to your network. It’s nice to be able to quickly see that everything is working well while you are away. And if someone messes with your stuff, that’s nice to see also.

Shelves

We will buy cheap shelves from Lowes and Home Depot. We like the ones from Home Depot better. You don’t need anything fancier.

Things You Don’t Need (optional)

There is stuff you could buy if you wanted to be extravagant. But we don’t think it’s worth it.

Smart PDU’s – We first started to think using these, because we thought it would be nice to be able to reboot the Bitcoin miners remotely. It turns out they are more trouble than they are worth.

Computer Server Racks – These are a waste of money. The Antminers don’t fit on them. Though if you have website and power plant like we will in near future its good to buy one for each site.

Air Conditioning – Too expensive to run, though if you have friends who can help you with AC installs on a commercial level and these going to be efficient, it’s nice to have.

Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS’s) – Not needed, and way too expensive. If the power goes down, you want your miners to shut down. When power comes back on, everything will boot and start running again. If you have your own powerplant UPS is a must have. To prevent electrical damage to the equipment.

Business Management

This is a business that makes money. There are things that need to be done for business management, both in the initial setup and in the ongoing operations. It should be registered as a company so that business expenses are deducted from income, and any taxes will be paid only on the profits.

This means you should engage with at least an accountant so that you can capture the depreciation of the Bitcoin miners.

Business Setup

  • Form business as an LLC, register with the State in the United States. If you live in Canada we highly recommend registering through Corporations Canada.
  • Get an Employer Identification Number from the IRS (Tax Number from CRA for Canadians)
  • Set up a bank account and fund it. (Any bank will do, however, depends on how legally you will describe your business. We use Royal Bank Of Canada as we aware that RBC in Canada is one of the major investors in cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Fintech companies.  We actually deeply appreciate their help and expertise. We set to proof that banks and crypto can and will work together, there is no need to believe the rumours that Banks hate cryptocurrency or Blockchain. Do not believe every FUD you read on the internet sometimes it’s harming entire crypto market for a short-term
  • Lease a space for operations
  • Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (pro tip – make changes to space after getting CO)
  • Get account with power company and internet service provider

Bitcoin Mining Operations

  • Get electrical pulled into space
  • Set up natural circulation cooling
  • Configure data network
  • Configure power distribution to Bitcoin miners
  • Operate miners and scale up
  • Keep track of all purchases and expenses for tax purposes.

Business Operations

  • Set up Bitcoin Miners to send Bitcoin to an account on an Exchange.
  • Sell Bitcoin on the Exchange to fund operations, send money to bank account.
  • Pay bills from the bank account.
  • Keep equipment running.
  • Save enough Bitcoin or money to fund an equipment refresh every two years
  • Pay taxes as you need to. Understand depreciation. Get an accountant.

Operations and Maintenance

The first few months of operations will be great. As you add more Bitcoin miners, you’ll see your daily, weekly, and monthly income go up.

And then things will start to go wrong. Power, cooling, and other issues will crop up.

So you’ll have to start a regular schedule of maintenance and upgrades to the equipment. There are many different things that will have to be done, but the biggest one is cleaning.

Get yourself a dust mask and an air compressor, and clean your Bitcoin miners out every few months.

Summary

Remember, keep your costs low. The two biggest costs are the Bitcoin miners and electricity. If you can control those, everything else will work out. If you are planning on setting this up as a legitimate business, plan for minimizing taxes right from the start. If you do it right, you can be cash flow positive yet have a tax loss to offset your other income…good luck!

 

If you liked this sort articles about our journey to set up commercial mining operations in Canada and want to know more from a business perspective, let us know.

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Note: Under no circumstances, any information related operations, locations and/or intellectual property that is related to Trade Secrets laws of Canada shall be released to the public or told in private. We heavily respect the privacy of our partners and contractors. Thank you for your understanding.

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