(Source: NPR) Since long before anyone can remember, the big, fertile slopes of the Alazani Valley in eastern Georgia have been planted with grape vines. It’s the heartland of wine-making in the country that invented it 8,000 years ago. But in recent months, the valley has been going through a new kind of ferment, because of bitcoin.
Cryptocurrency mining is the digital equivalent of minting real money, except that anyone with the right hardware and software can do it, by taking part in what amounts to a giant virtual competition. Think of it like a lottery, where computers linked across the Internet compete to solve complex mathematical puzzles, with the number of players constantly rising. The owner of the computer that finds the right solution is rewarded with a “block” of bitcoin or other cryptocurrency, which is then registered and verified on a decentralized database system known as the blockchain.
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