Nick Sears helped establish a Bitcoin mining farm in Dalsport, Washington, when he was 17 years old. When he was first legally allowed to buy Bitcoin, he was 18 years old. Now, Sears, who is only 19 years old, has doubled his life as a Bitcoin miner, saying “no” to college and saying “yes” to the data center room, which contains 4,500 rotating ASICs.
“My room is sound-locked,” said Sears of the acoustic retrofitting of his living quarters. “So I can’t hear the machines when I close my door, but they are definitely noisy if I have my door open.”
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.
“I don’t think about going to college at all, just pursuing further knowledge in the repairs of the miners,” continued Sears.
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.
“If you’ve been to any of these data centers, the first thing you’ll notice is just how vast and how impressive they are. They’re huge,” said explained Thomas Heller, chief business officer for Compass Mining, which works with Sears’ employer, SCATE Ventures.
“There’s so much noise, and there’s so much heat. 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.”