ATLANTA — Bitcoin mining businesses and digital currency investors alike are calling metro Atlanta home.
Peter Saddington, of Norcross, is truly one of the prospectors and fortunate ones in crypto. He started buying Bitcoin very early on.
“My first initial purchase was November of 2011 at $2.53. It was an amazing purchase,” Saddington said.
Saddington gained national attention when using the Bitcoin to purchase a Lamborghini.
“I learned an interesting lesson in 2017, when I bought a bitcoin Lamborghini for 45 bitcoin. People thought I was a fool and now I think it is worth about $5 million in Bitcoin,” Saddington said. “My general rule of thumb is to mine Bitcoin as much as possible and to hold it as long as possible. I see Bitcoin as the most valuable asset in the world.”
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He told Channel 2 Action News that $2.50 purchase is now worth about $43,000 for just one Bitcoin.
So what is Bitcoin?
Matthew Schultz, Executive Chairman of CleanSpark, which operates out of College Park, told Channel 2′s Justin Farmer that Bitcoin “started as a hobbyist thing.”
“People were mining in their basements, garages, etc., using computers to solve an algorithm that would ultimately result in the reward of a bitcoin,” Schultz said. “The currency is digital and does not have a central bank that’s controlled globally. No one person will ever have more than 51% of the network, which makes it secure.”
CleanSpark mines a few hundred Bitcoins every quarter and many of them are mined using power generated in Georgia.
Schultz showed Channel 2 Action News 48 mobile data centers, each with 166 Bitcoin mining computers inside.
Each of the computers runs through quadrillions of calculations per second to solve complex “blocks.”
The confirmation of the calculation becomes the Bitcoin, an accepted currency.
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It’s like the way people accept value in a paper dollar. The paper itself is worth almost nothing, but society collectively agrees on the general value of a U.S. dollar.
CleanSpark is also investing more than $6 million at a large data facility in Norcross. This, as crypto mining is getting attention for its environmental concerns.
In 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted his company would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment.
The concern: companies buying up old coal mining facilities to make digital money.
Two weeks later, Musk also said he saw a future for crypto if mined responsibly.
“Their approach was we’re going to dust off this plant and create 100 megawatts of power burning coal. And we are going to make Bitcoin with that, and Bitcoin is going to be profitable. That’s the wrong approach. When we come into a facility like this, we enter into large power agreements. We guarantee to buy power which enables College Park to buy more renewable. Which serves the surrounding communities by keeping renewable energy in the mix and keeping costs low,” Schultz said.
For that reason, many companies in the crypto space are making money in Georgia.
“Fortune” and “Bloomberg” report Georgia as the top crypto mining hot spot in the country.
Channel 2 Action News asked Valerie Thomas with Georgia Tech’s School of Industrial and Systems Engineering about the future of Bitcoin and its impact on energy consumption and the environment.
“There’s increasing realization that there are more energy efficient ways to have cryptocurrencies,” Thomas said. “We’ve cleaned up our electricity a fair amount already over the past two decades. And so, there’s been a real shift toward natural gas and increasing use of renewable.”
People dabbling in the space as investors have to have the stomach for the wild swings in prices.
Saddington said if you’re going to get in, it’s smart to first learn the process.
“How can I earn it and gently learn to invest it, lose it, because sometimes that happens,” Saddington said.
It doesn’t take a $12,000 piece of equipment. There are many hot spots on the market that let you learn and mine cryptocurrency from home, including his Emrit CoolSpots.
Miners plug into a wall outlet and do the work.
Saddington said he believes crypto and Bitcoin are long-term investments.
“In the future, I think Bitcoin is going to be a household name that everyone will not only accept but embrace as a part of their lifestyle,” Saddington said.
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