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Digitally mining Quebec's future

A former metal factory in Quebec's Eastern Townships has been modified to house thousands of powerful computing systems built for a single purpose: mining for digital currency. Known as hashing, the hunt for cryptocurrency is essentially an exhaustive attempt by a computer to solve a mathematical problem. Since BitFarms' inception in November 2017, the Montreal-area company has been rushing to retrofit factories in Quebec regions emptied out by the decline of the province's manufacturing industries. Every second, each computer in Bitfarms' factory in Magog, Que., conducts 13.5 trillion attempts at solving a math problem. Bitfarms' machines are solving math problems in order to collect or mine Bitcoin, the world's most famous digital currency. Bitcoin began in 2009, and its creator is unknown. Every time a Bitcoin is bought and sold online, the transaction is recorded in a public, electronic ledger. The technology behind the ledger is called blockchain, which is composed of a series of linked "blocks" that each contain up to one megabyte worth of transaction data. Every time a block of transactions is closed, a complex mathematical problem is created. The hashing machines located in Bitfarms' four factories are in competition with all the other hashing computers around the world to solve the problem. The first computer to come up with the winning number is authorized to create a new block in the chain, in which more Bitcoin transactions can be recorded. The winning computer is also awarded a set amount of Bitcoin, which can be transferred into hard currency or used to buy anything from food to homes.
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