At 19 years of age, Nick Sears could be one of the youngest people in the world to be making a career out of bitcoin. Two years ago, Sears built a bitcoin mining farm in Washington, and has made this farm his business ever since. Right now, Sears has completely thrown himself into his work — so much so that he presently lives in a room within the mining firm. He says his room is soundproof, and thus he cannot hear the mining rigs all day, which is good because he says that they are extremely noisy, and they would prevent him from sleeping or concentrating on anything else if his room had not been designed in such a way.
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Singing the same score
Nick Sears was 17 when he helped build a bitcoin mining farm in Dallesport, Washington. He was 18 when rules allowed him to buy bitcoin for the first time. And now, at 19, Sears has doubled down on his life as a bitcoin miner, saying "no" to college and "yes" to living in a room inside a data center that houses 4, whirling ASICs.
The machines generate about 80 decibels of noise apiece — but Sears says he likes being as close to the action as possible. It also beats making the half hour commute each way from his parents' house in White Salmon. The 19 year-old has spent pretty much every single day for the last two years teaching himself the nuances of how mining machines work — and crucially, how to fix them. He believes his education in soldering and electronics is worth a whole lot more to him than a university degree.
CNBC spoke with multiple miners for this story. Many explained that the allure of mining comes from being able to tangibly grasp the power of bitcoin. There's just so much action going on. It is quite cool to walk into a data center for the first time that's mining bitcoin, because you can really connect the intangible aspects of bitcoin as a currency, with the physical nature of these machines consuming power and doing these calculations.
Once the physical infrastructure was up and running, Sears got into more of a rhythm. He's now up at 7 A. He remains on site afterwards, just in case of an emergency, and there is a technician who works night shifts so that Sears can get some sleep.
Some days, that means Sears repairs walls and other physical infrastructure. But the biggest part of the job is monitoring and managing every one of those 4, Bitmain and Whatsminer ASICs to ensure they are running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If even one of those machines goes offline, or is only running at partial capacity, the SCATE Ventures mine loses money. That's because when someone is mining for bitcoin, what they are actually doing is lending their computing power to the bitcoin network.
The more machines you have online, the better your chances at winning bitcoin. Roughly every ten minutes, 6. In order to mint these new tokens, a global pool of miners are all contributing their computing power to running a hashing algorithm.
But these miners aren't working in a vacuum. They're competing against each other to see who can unlock each batch of new bitcoin first. So the stakes are high for Sears. Being diligent and knowing how to triage issues across the entire facility is critical to success. Some mining sites use more sophisticated software to monitor the machines, which includes checking the temperature of each hashboard within the individual miners. But most important for Sears is just figuring out which of his machines aren't functioning at full capacity.
You've got to find out why it went offline. It could be a power outage, which would affect all the machines, or it could be a network outage which could impact all of the machines or just some. I think with a Bitmain machine, if more than four chips on a single hashboard are broken, the whole hashboard will switch off. Storms can lead to power outages or other disruptions.
Heller says that in the summer, the machines can also overheat, especially at the farms which have upgraded to using more powerful units over the course of the last two years. SCATE's mine in Washington seems to have found a way around this problem by using its own immersion cooling technology , which involves submerging bitcoin miners in a non-conductive fluid to dissipate heat, rather than relying on fans.
Sears may not need a diploma to mine, but taking online training courses run by Chinese engineers who work for Bitmain has gone a long way toward helping him repair specialized mining equipment. Last month, Sears and another employee completed a virtual class through Bitmain to learn how to work on the ASIC chips on hashboards, as well as the power supplies of the S17s, one of the most popular machines now used to mint bitcoin.
Next, he hopes to attend an in-person class in Atlanta, Georgia, to learn more about soldering. Sears' boss, Scott Bennett, is big on giving his team access to the resources they need to get better at their jobs.
Bennett, CEO of SCATE Ventures, is a self-taught miner who started his business in his parents' garage back in , just before the last crypto "winter," when prices of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies plunged. Similar to Sears, Bennett once lived at one of his data centers — only he opted for an on-site camper, rather than a room inside the facility itself. Big investors bought up bitcoin as hoped and in the process ruined its usefulness as a hedge.
With rising rates and inflation, investors are split on how to value bitcoin. The mining facility where Sears works is next to the Columbia River and directly adjacent the Dalles Dam. It's cheap, renewable, and very abundant," he said. Bennett also runs some mining machines exclusively for his employees. That amounts to about. It is also possible to become a crypto miner without physically handling any mining equipment at all.
Adam Gitzes decided in early that he really wanted to mine for bitcoin. After his wife vetoed the idea of installing equipment in their home, he began to look for alternatives. So a typical day in the life of a miner like Gitzes consists of waking up and checking online to see how much bitcoin his machines mined overnight and to ensure that none of his units are down. Gitzes owns six machines that he says are on the "higher end. After paying the mining pool fee of 1.
At that rate, he'll recoup his investment in about 11 months, assuming no major fluctuations in energy or bitcoin prices. Gitzes was so impressed by the Compass business model that he quit his job at Amazon to join the team in March.
Clarification: This story was revised to clarify that a trading rule allowed Sears to buy bitcoin at Skip Navigation. Key Points. Nick Sears was 17 years old when he helped build a bitcoin mining farm in Dallesport, Washington. Sears oversees a hydro-powered data center with 4, ASICs, all mining for bitcoin. Mining for bitcoin isn't a glamorous job. But beyond the hours, there is no typical work day for Sears.
But the hardware fix isn't always as simple as that. Read more about cryptocurrencies from CNBC Pro Big investors bought up bitcoin as hoped and in the process ruined its usefulness as a hedge With rising rates and inflation, investors are split on how to value bitcoin.
It helped that he lives within minutes of some of the cheapest power in the world. Mark Zuckerberg's botched cryptocurrency project is reportedly for sale. MacKenzie Sigalos. Bitcoin millionaires are moving to Puerto Rico for lower taxes and island living.
This rarely used tax loophole is helping some bitcoin holders save tons of cash. Read More.
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Now, he hopes to team up with students across the country and help market their skills when entering the job force for the first time. Then he shifted to Android, where he took on the role as co-founder and chief strategy officer before Google purchased the operating system in July Sears remained involved at Google, working on Android product development and marketing. By every account, Sears spent more than seven years creating and perfecting the modern-day smartphone.
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Nick Sears shuts out No. 3 Westfield baseball as No. 10 Cathedral wins second straight
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Cathedral baseball's Nick Sears shut out Westfield Thursday afternoon, After dropping four in a row, the No. The Panthers dropped rival Westfield , the No. Sears pitched seven innings of seven-hit ball, striking out one and walking one, to lead the Panthers The defense did it's job, collecting 20 outs in the field without committing an error.
Nick Sears and Katie Dumont
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