QIWI CEO Sergey Solonin has revealed that the former chief technical officer (CTO) of the company mined BTC 500,000 using 100,000 payment terminals back in 2011. This might be the most Bitcoin any single person has mined besides Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin who is estimated to have mined roughly BTC 1.1 million.
Solonin confronted his CTO after realizing that QIWI terminals were using more electricity than they should at night. Since it was using QIWI equipment, Solonin asked the CTO to forfeit the Bitcoin to the company. The CTO refused and resigned, without revealing the details of how the mining was accomplished. At the time, the mined Bitcoin was worth USD 5 million, but now are worth USD 4.1 billion as of this writing on 26 July 2018.
Solonin tried to replicate the CTO’s mining operation when he realized it was more profitable than the original purpose of the payment terminals. It took QIWI about three months to implement mining on their terminals, but it was already too late. The computing power of the terminals couldn’t cope with the rapidly increasing Bitcoin mining difficulty. In 2011, Bitcoin’s hash rate increased from 0.1 TH/s to 8 TH/s, and by the end of 2012, the hash rate was up to 25 TH/s. Exponential growth continued after that and currently, the hash rate is over 45 million TH/s.
According to Solonin, the CTO lost the Bitcoin and if this were true, these are among the millions that are considered lost and out of circulation. However, it seems improbable that someone smart enough to implement a mining operation across 100,000 payment terminals would make the mistake of losing so much Bitcoin.
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