Cryptocurrency (Representative image: Reuters)
Mining cryptocurrency is no mean feat. But when it comes to the Texas-based Ishaan Thakkar (14) and his sister Aanya (9), who’ve made a successful business out of mining cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more in their summer vacations, a time most kids just lie back and chill, the situation is vastly and positively different.
At the first sight, Ishan might come across as just another high-school freshman with dreams of studying medicine at UPenn, and Aanya, a fourth grade, elementary school student dreaming of pursuing medicine at the University of NYC. But thanks to Youtube and the internet, Ishan converted his Alienware, which are gaming-intensive and dedicated computers into an ether mining rig, using his graphic card for performing all higher-order calculations.
For the uninitiated, mining to earn cryptocurrencies is a tedious, long process, where one has to solve difficult puzzles and mathematical questions in order for transaction validation to take place. And not to mention the complex infrastructure, high energy requirements, and the sophisticated hardware needed to solve these tough math problems, which makes the whole process extremely draining, both financially and intellectually.
In mining, the first computer to find a solution to the posed problems earns the upcoming set of limited-in-supply bitcoins, only for the process to restart again. But Ishaan makes it sound easy.
“Crypto mining is just like mining for gold or diamonds,” Ishaan told CNBC. “Instead of using shovels, you mine with computers. Instead of finding a piece of gold or a diamond in the mine, you find a cryptocurrency”, he says.
When the siblings first began mining ether, given that bitcoin mining was intense, since came with the challenge of surging demand and finite supply, Ishaan made $3 as their initial income. And gradually, as they took a liking to it, they continued to add more processors, making almost $1,000by the end of their first month.
Taking this a notch up, Ishaan and Aanya also incorporated their own mining company namely Flifer Technologies In April this year, with the aid of their father Manish Raj, who also helped them add more performance-enhancing processors to their repertoire. Currently, the duo has over 97 processors that allow them to process over 10 million ether algorithms per second and peg their expected income at almost $36,000, per data in September.
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While Ishaan and Aanya, who are looking to scale their operations and eventually balance this with their school activities mostly use Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics cards, which can cost anywhere between $2,500-$3,000, they’ve also added Ravencoin, a popular altcoin to their mining list, since they felt their equipment was optimum for mining the same. They hope that the profits can help them pay for their college fees as well.
Addressing the high energy consumption concerns that accompany mining, the siblings noted that they use “100% renewable energy for our mining because we want to be environmentally friendly".
As Ishan continues, “We moved from my desk to the garage, since the house was getting too much heat and noise. We outgrew the garage since heat and noise were too much for the garage too. We now use the garage only for building and testing mining rigs. When they are ready, we move them to a professional, air-conditioned, rented data center in downtown Dallas.”Notably, the total electricity bill for both these centers comes down to just below $3,000.
But when her friends ask about what they’re doing, “we’re just mining in the garage,” replies Aanya.