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Cryptocurrency Firms Require Backup Power

What is Cryptocurrency?

Digital Block Chain Network Concept
Cryptocurrency is not based on the United States dollar, Euro, or any other printed monetary system. It is a completely digital system with each supplier generating its own currency that can be purchased. The vendors listed on CNBC.com are:
  • Bitcoin - Using USD Bitstamp, USD Coinbase, USD Gemini and USD Bitfinex
  • Bitcoin Cash - Using USD Bitstamp and USD Coinbase
  • Ether - Using USD Coinbase, USD Gemini and USD Bitfinex
  • Litecoin - Using USD Coinbase and USD Bitfinex
  • Ripple XRP - Uses USD Bitstamp
  • Stellar Lumens - Uses USD Bitfinex
  • Zcash - Uses USD Bitfinex
  • Ox - Uses USD Bitfinex
  • Basic Attention Token - Uses USD Bitfinex
Cryptocurrency works much like electronic banking transfers. Most are familiar with the use of direct deposit, ATM debit cards, electronic checks, and electronic transfers between accounts. The banks and government-issue currency and regulations with these styles of transfer. Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is transferred between peers without a middleman, such as a bank. These transactions are recorded in a digital public ledger called a blockchain. The ledger and transfer are encrypted like bank transfers. 

How Does it Work?

The transfer software used between peers utilizes software called a crypto wallet. Encrypted transactions between peers are broadcast to the cryptocurrency network and cued to be added to the public ledger. Transactions are added to the public ledger using a process called mining. All users of a given cryptocurrency have access to the public ledger. A third-party wallet, such as USD Coinbase or USD Bitstamp, holds the coins from the digital transaction. Software such as full node allows users to skip the third-party wallets. 

Transactions are public, but who sent the transaction is encrypted. Each set of transactions leads back to a unique set of keys. Whoever owns a set of keys, owns the cryptocurrency associated with those keys, much like a bank account. Many transactions are added to the ledger at one time. Miners add the blocks of transactions, and altcoins use unique transactions that do not utilize the blockchain technology.

Bitcoin Mining

Racks of Bitcoin Mining Equipment
Bitcoin is backed by millions of computers called miners. The computers all form a network, and they perform the same function as Visa, Mastercard, and the Federal Reserve - with a few differences. Bank and credit card transactions cannot be accessed by anyone. However, Bitcoin transactions are in a public list that can be accessed by anyone, and the process does not have to comply with federal regulations. 

The miners are high-powered computers that solve complex computational math problems. When someone makes a purchase or sale using Bitcoin, the miners clump transactions together into blocks. Adding blocks to the public record is called a blockchain. Part of the miner's job is to make sure the transaction is accurate and is not a duplicate. Once the miner has completed the transaction, it is awarded a bitcoin for making the transaction.

The bitcoin miner must verify one megabyte's worth of transactions, and solve the complex computational math problems called the proof of work. This is a 64-digit hexadecimal (base 16) number called a hash. Capabilities of miners range from mega to tera hashes per second until they arrive at the solution. The chance of producing a hash below the target is less than 1 in 6 trillion. For more Bitcoin mining information, go to Investopedia.

Quad-Core Servers Fail

iDrive conducted an experiment that used 600 quad-core servers to mine for bitcoin. Matthew Harvey of iDrive said:
  • "It's a waste of time, so any other company thinking about mining with their infrastructure, learn from us."
  • "Don't do it. You need custom machines to effectively generate a real ROI."
The bitcoin network computing power has increased to a global network with 150,000 petaflops per second of computing power. This figure represents approximately 600 times the combined power of all supercomputers on the Top 500 list. Professional bitcoin miners now are using Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) or Application Integrated Specific Circuits (AISC) for specific work-load optimization.

Facilities that use mining hardware and software have what could be considered a critical power requirement. They must have a constant power supply free from interruption. Diesel or Natural Gas (NG) powered generators are the industry standard for  that backup power requirement. Generator Source has more than 35 years of experience in the generator industry. To see our in-stock inventory go to Inventory. Below are examples of equipment used in the Bitcoin mining process and how backup power interfaces with these systems.

Cryptocurrency Mining Equipment

UPS Using Batteries for Backup Power
The complex computers that perform the mining run 24-hours per day, 365 days a year. One rating is hashes per second per watt of power. Each unit will consume a large amount of power, creating heat as it operates. Keeping the units cool is the same operational concern as in data centers. The three basic mining computers are:
  • FPGA
  • ASIC
  • GPU
Not all mining hardware will work with every blockchain. ASIC based hardware will work with blockchains associated with Bitcoin but will not work with ZCash. The ZCash algorithm is resistant to ASIC. All mining hardware requires supporting systems and equipment for continuous operation.

Installation & Cooling

Each mining computer is set on a rack that will allow for the routing of cool air. They must be placed and spaced properly to allow for maximum use of cool air. Cable management systems allow each cable to be routed in a industry-standard method. 

Powerful room air cooling units are needed to keep the room the required ambient air temperature. Humidifiers remove damaging water particles in the air to prevent damage from a high humidity atmosphere. Environmental monitors can be placed throughout the room to signal cooling system controllers and humidifiers for automatic operation. 

Redundant or Backup Power

It's not if utility power will be lost, it's when will power be lost - and how long will it be out. Mining equipment must have a constant power supply. Backup power systems are designed the same as systems for other industry's critical power requirements. The Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) is the first line of defense. In large systems, electrical converters supply charge to battery banks. When utility power is lost, battery bank power is routed through an inverter to change Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC). The AC is routed through a switching and distribution panel.

Miners are high consumers of electricity. Battery banks begin the discharge process as soon as they are placed on the grid. So, UPS is a short-term power solution. Some businesses have turned to green power, such as solar panels or wind generation to supply power to the batteries. This offers savings on power costs. In power loss situations, if the rate of battery discharge is not equal to the rate of battery charge, the equipment will drop offline because of a lack of power. 

Backup GeneratorsCaterpillar 2000 kW Diesel Generator

Both solar and wind power systems can be utilized in a building's electrical infrastructure design. Weather events are a major contributor to utility electrical failures. No sun disables solar charging panels, and wind systems do not produce power during high wind speed events.

An emergency or backup generator can provide power and is not weather-dependent. When power is lost, in what is considered a building with critical power requirements, the following events occur:
  1. The generator starts and prepares to accept the load. UPS is switched onto the building electrical grid.
  2. When the generator is ready to accept the load, an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) transfers the load from the UPS to the generator source.
  3. Once utility power is available, ATS transfers building load from the generator to the utility power. UPS battery banks resume normal charging.
Electrical equipment such as circuit protection and distribution panels, ATS, and parallel panels are commonplace in most installations that have large power requirements. Cummins, Caterpillar, Generac, Kohler, MTU, and SWP are all generator manufactures. Generators are constructed to meet most every electrical requirement. 

Generator engines are fueled by diesel or Natural Gas (NG). NG fueled engines connected to a utility gas supply have an unlimited fuel source. Diesel engines can be placed in remote locations and do not need any utility support during power outages. A generator consists of an engine, alternator (generator end), and radiator mounted on a skid framework. 

These generators are manufactured for the three following applications:
  • Outdoor - Generator framework has fuel tanks sized for the engine. A weather-resistant or weather-tight, sound attenuated container surrounds the entire generator. It can be located on any flat level surface that will support operational weight, including rooftops. Ready to connect to ATS and supply power.
  • Indoor - The gnerator must be located indoors. It must have auxiliary systems support. Radiator attaches to building cooling louvers for outside air access. The exhaust system must be routed through the building and to the outside air. Fabrication includes insulation piping and mufflers. Fuel must be supplied to the engine. Typically, day tanks supply engine fuel requirements and main tanks supply individual day tanks using a completely automated system.
  • Portable - The construction theory of an outdoor generator is used in manufacturing portable generators. The generator is mounted on a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved trailer system that has size-dependent connections for towing. Popular in the construction industry for ease of transportation.
All generators require maintenance. Generators serving critical power assignments are commonly load tested to ensure proper operation during a utility power failure. Generator Source offers installation, removal, troubleshooting and repair, and maintenance services to a nationwide audience. Contact Us for more information.
 
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