Do you have a computer and broadband? Rent it out to churn bitcoin from Baidu Gold Mine

Chinese internet giant Baidu will pay cash for use of spare computer capacity

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 8:23pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 November, 2017, 1:51pm

A service launched by China’s internet giant Baidu can make you money if you are willing to share your desktop computer’s spare computing power for faster downloads, smoother online videos and maybe even mining bitcoin.

Baidu, the operator of China’s dominant online search engine, has launched a service called Baidu Jinkuang, which roughly translates as Baidu Gold Mine in English, to allow users to exchange extra hard disk space on their computers and broadband connection into real money.

But Baidu Jinkuang has put in place some requirements for those who want to become a “super miner” – a computer equipped with at least a “16-core CPU, 64 gigabyte of storage and 1 gigabit broadband network connection”.

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Baidu said in a statement on Wednesday that by using a peer-to-peer content delivery network (CDN), the service can gather the extra computing resources and broadband connection in individual homes and use them to help store and speed up the distribution process of various online products.

“CDN enables users to share their unused bandwidth,” said Hu Yongjun, chief operational officer of Huangpu Community, an online platform for digital currency and blockchain technologies. “Bitcoin mining may be one of the uses but it could definitely help live streaming and e-sport platforms and generate hype to lure users as bitcoin is so hot right now.”

Baidu did not specifically name mining cryptocurrencies as one of the products that could benefit from the service.

The internet giant emphasised that it would pay those who contribute their computer resources cash, without specifying the returns that could be made.

Bitcoin mining may be one of the uses … and generate hype to lure users as bitcoin is so hot right now

The move comes amid China’s rise as the worldwide leader for mining bitcoin, which has rocketed from just US$10 in 2012 to US$8,200 on Tuesday.

Cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, need a broad network of computers to process transactions. A typical personal computer can crank out about one bitcoin every 4.5 years, according to data provided by BitMiner, an online currency mining group.

Despite banning domestic exchanges from conducting renminbi-related transactions for cryptocurrencies, the room has been left open in China for individuals to hold digital assets or for mining activities. China is home to four of the five largest bitcoin mining operations, controlling roughly 70 per cent of the computational power, according to research by the Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge.

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Xunlei, a Chinese cloud computing provider, saw its shares surge four fold after the Nasdaq-listed firm launched content delivery network services, which delivers data to end users through distributed channels and which can also be used for sharing bandwidth to mine bitcoin.