How Bitmain Helps Cryptocurrency Mining in Southeast Asia

It helps crypto-enthusiasts participate in the new area of networked computing.

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BY Ezra Ferraz - 19 Dec 2017

cryptocurrency mining

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

While most may jump into the cryptocurrency frenzy by buying a few coins, some may opt to go directly into mining. But it’s not that easy. The hardware required to undertake mining must achieve two goals that may even seem at odds with one another.

“Mining requires that the mining systems not only compute the possibilities for the next ‘block’ (the consensus-approved, collected record of bitcoin transactions) very quickly but do so using as little energy as possible,” says Nishant Sharma, International Marketing Manager of Bitmain Technologies Limited.

According to Sharma, Bitmain’s value proposition is that the company helps crypto-enthusiasts participate in the new area of networked computing by offering the most widely used and tested equipment available. The company produces miners, the devices used to mine both Bitcoin and Litecoin.

Headquartered out of Bejing, China, Bitmain receives a considerable number of orders from countries in Southeast Asia. Though one might assume these purchases tend to come from the countries with low electricity costs and more temperate climates, Sharma emphasizes that those are only two data points in a much larger picture.

“Low electricity costs or favorable temperatures are important factors in deciding the success of a mining farm in a region, but they are not the only factors. There are various factors such as the regulatory environment, reliability of electricity, availability of labor, and the speed of setting up the infrastructure — all of which are equally important factors in deciding the success of a mining farm,” he says.

As a country will never be favorable across all these variables, miners (the people, not the devices) have to weigh the trade-offs.

“Sometimes, a region's suitability in terms of some of these factors can compensate for its unsuitability in others. Anecdotally, we’ve heard from crypto-influencers and miners that there’s a contingent of people who are focusing their mining efforts in some Southeast Asian countries while working with the local governments to receive subsidized electricity prices,” Sharma says.

If entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia do decide to get into mining, they can rely not only on Bitmain but on the larger community for support.

“Although Bitmain provides whatever guidance it can to all customers, the mining community is very good at publishing how-to materials that [can be easily found online]. They do an excellent job of staying ahead of trends and freely distributing this information to the rest of the community,” Sharma says.

Though cryptocurrency mining is only poised to grow, Bitmain has already expanded into another space.

“Bitmain has successfully taken its leading expertise in creating very fast, efficient circuits for mining cryptocurrencies and applied it to artificial intelligence,” Sharma says.

The company launched Sophon, the brand for their AI-accelerating hardware with applications for motor vehicles, human/object detection, and facial recognition.

For other companies who want to be successful in the region, Sharma says founders must dispel the idea of a single “Southeast Asia.”

“The main advice one can give is that there is no such country as ‘Southeast Asia,’ though people tend to behave as if there is, and tend to refer to that region as a bloc. Though countries in that region are connected via ASEAN, each has very different needs, political environments, openness to cryptocurrency, familiarity with the category, and so on,” he says.