Whether you think bitcoin is an incredible advancement, or just a weird Internet fad, it has been very, very good for a Stockholm-based company called KnCMiner.
That’s because KnCMiner makes special computers that “mine” these coins. That’s the process that creates the cyber-money.
There are even bitcoin alternatives. In less than a month, KnCMiner sold $US12 million worth of a new special computer, called the Titan, which mines bitcoin alternatives that are based on the cryptographic program called scrypt, co-founder Sam Cole tells us.
Scrypt is responsible for currencies like Litecoin, Dogecoin, Iceland’s Auroracoin, even Stalwartbucks, a Dogecoin clone created by Business Insider’s own Joe Weisenthal. Dogecoin started as a joke but became a real thing last year, a popular way to give someone a tip.
The company raked in the first $US4 million just hours after the machine went on sale, Cole says. And that beats its sales last November, when KnCMiner sold $US3 million worth of bitcoin-mining computers in just four days.
Mining these coins involves solving a series of difficult cryptography maths problems. The typical home PC doesn’t have the computational power to do that, hence the need for specially designed computers. These computers do only one job: mine for coins.
It’s become a serious business. A bitcoin-mining machine will set you back about $US3,500 to $US6,000; the Titan costs almost $US10,000. (The team is working on a less expensive version of the Titan, too, that will cost a mere $US5,500.)
Cole says the company generated $US45 million in sales in 2013. So with 2014 sales so far, KnCMiner has brought in $US57 million in about 16 months.
And yes, it does accept payment in bitcoin — and Litecoin, too. These computers are supposed to literally pay for themselves.