Internet Cafes Shift To Lucrative Cryptocurrency Mining To Survive COVID-19
The devastating effects of COVID-19 are still being felt throughout the world, and obviously the loss of life is the primary concern. Secondary to that, there is a big economic fallout from the pandemic in certain segments. As such, businesses are doing what they can to survive, which in some cases includes converting spaces into cryptocurrency mining farms.
Pictured above is an internet cafe in Vietnam called Internet Cafe Computer Star, which now mines cryptocurrency instead of serving customers. According to the business owner, it is easier to make a buck this way during the pandemic.
"Transforming business i the pandemic. Profits are higher than net business, net room owners who want to do it, please contact me to do it for free," the cafe owner wrote on Facebook (via Facebook's translation tool).
It is an understandable shift, given that frequenting internet cafes is probably not the most popular pass time right now—cramming people into relatively small spaces, even with masks on, is not the safest thing in the world to do during a pandemic that spreads through airborne particles.
In addition, we are in the midst of a cryptocurrency resurgence. Bitcoin is trading at an all-time high at nearly $50,000, sparked in part by companies like PayPal and Mastercard joining the fray. And while Bitcoin is primarily mined with specialized ASIC hardware these days, it is common for miners to focus on other currencies, and trade them for Bitcoin.
Ethereum, which is still mined with GPUs, has also seen a rise in valuation lately. It's up to around $1,790, versus around $260 a year ago. That means mining Ethereum is almost seven times more profitable now than it was 12 months ago.
Computer Star is leveraging GeForce RTX 3080 graphics cards to mine cryptocurrency, and perhaps dozens of them (it's not clear how many of the cards pictured are RTX 3080 models). This should help the cafe stay afloat until things eventually return to normal, provided crypto-pricing says where it's at (or thereabouts).