Type “bitcoin farm” into Google images, and the pictures you’ll find resemble nothing like the farms many farmers are used to.
In fact, the “farms” look more like some unorganized wires, a few shelves and a slew of fans, chords and motherboards. It’s something you’d expect to see in a government building behind locked doors and armed guards.
Many of these farms, however, are in apartments and houses around the globe.
It’s called a Bitcoin farm, or a Bitcoin mine. What the computers are doing is basically, as the name suggests, mining Bitcoins —or if you’re a Bitcoin novice, making currency out of 1s and 0s. But will agriculture see this new currency anytime soon? According to a story by NPR, it’s already here.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that has recently gained oodles of media attention. It’s like other currencies in that there’s nothing physical backing it (the U.S. dollar was backed by gold until 1933). What gives Bitcoin value, just like the dollar, is people’s faith in it.
Unlike the dollar, however, Bitcoin is decentralized — meaning it doesn’t originate from a bank or government. Bitcoin can be made anywhere, by anybody. That has led some lawmakers to call for regulation of the cryptocurrency, especially after news broke that the untraceable money was being used to purchase drugs and other contraband online.
There’s around 12 million Bitcoins, valued at over $4 billion, currently circulating throughout the world.
It used to be restricted to only digital purchases, but now Bitcoin ATMs have sprung up in Vancouver and San Diego.
With the amount of retailers accepting Bitcoin as payment, the currency is making its way into the mainstream.
NPR’s story focused on a farmers markets that now accepts Bitcoin as payment, La Nay Ferme in Provo, Utah. The benefit to accepting Bitcoin as payment is that it converts back to U.S. currency for a cheaper fee than credit cards would charge to accept payments.
With the increasing value of Bitcoin, it may be something that farm market managers should look into accepting in the near future.
Watch a clip of the documentary Life on Bitcoin: