Russian computer stores report severe shortages of videocards that nearly doubled in price in the last two months. Some customers purchase 200, 300 or even 600 of them. The demand for videocards has almost tripled recently and now exceeds supply, distributors tell Vedomosti.
A surge in gaming activity? Not really. Rather, the demand is linked to a hike in bitcoin rate to dollar, from $1,000 in March to $3,000 in June, along with other cheaper cryptocurrencies like Etherium and Lightcoin. Emitting (“mining”) such coins requires a machine capable of performing certain computations, best done with top-of-the-line videocards.
Since the computations get harder with every new coin, Russian miners, whose numbers are growing rapidly, pool their resources together. The viability of the business model ultimately comes down to the cost of power, so people rent videocards in mining centers set up in such regions as the Irkutsk Oblast, where energy costs less than one rouble (1.6 US cents) per kilowatt-hour.