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Ready-made cryptocurrency mining kits lure more than geeks in Singapore

cryptocurrency-mining rigs are on offer at a computer repair shop for S$5,500

Krystal Chia | Bloomberg 

Cryptocurrency mining
A store-available mining rig sits on a desk at Wilson Josup’s office in Singapore | Photo: Bloomberg

The volatile and mysterious world of cryptocurrencies is now a shopping mall away — at least in Ready-made computing machines used to facilitate transactions in and other have appeared on the city-state’s shop shelves even as its central bank sounds a note of caution. The availability of store-bought ‘mining rigs,’ each contributing its computing power to solve the complex mathematical problems needed to confirm transactions in digital currencies, means would-be cryptocurrency ‘miners’ in the country no longer have to assemble their own machines out of separate components. At Sim Lim Square, a popular shopping complex focused on electronics, at least five stores were selling machines in recent weeks. Shopowner Wilson Josup sells about 10 machines a week, up from one to two when he first started selling them about six months ago. Buyers range from those in their 20s to retirees, he said. The bulk of his customers use the S$4,000 ($3,062) rig to mine Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation. “Most of my customers would ask me to help transfer the rigs from their homes to a data centre because they don’t like the heat and noise,” said Josup, adding that his profit margin on each rig was around 10 per cent.

Based on customer testimonials, leaving a machine running for a full month can net about S$400 a month, Josup said. Two floors down the same complex, are on offer at a computer repair shop for S$5,500. Shopowner Trecia Tay hasn’t sold a single machine but says she gets some 10 queries about it a week, five times the rate three months ago. In December, authorities in neighbouring Malaysia shut down two in the state of Selangor after neighbours complained of frequent

First Published: Sat, January 27 2018. 01:17 IST