Bitcoin rig
Components used to make a bitcoin mining computer.Reuters

A cloud-based bitcoin mining operation which rents out computing power to customers could soon be churning around around $20 million worth of bitcoins each month.

Earlier this week a bitcoin mining operation near Seattle opened its doors to a local TV station, showing two warehouses filled with racks of bitcoin mining rigs.

It's operator Dave Carlson told the Komo news station that he was operating with a processing power of one petahash and was mining an estimated $8 million (£4.8m) worth of bitcoins every month.

While Carlson's operation may be "the largest mine in North America and most of the rest of the world" it is about to be dwarfed by that of bitcoin mining company

2.5 petahashes per second

The company, which is registered in London, is currently operating at a capacity of 1.5 petahashes per second, but a spokesperson for the company claimed that by the end of March it will have expanded that capacity to 2.5 petahashes per second.

While calculating exactly how many bitcoins this processing power will generate is difficult, it is safe to say that mining bitcoins is all about processing power, and with using the latest in ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) technology, estimating that its entire network will generate somewhere in the region of $20 million worth of bitcoin is probably a safe bet.

Of course as the equations which need to be solved in order to mine a bitcoin become ever more complex - and therefore take longer to solve - this figure will drop unless CloudHashing invests in more powerful machines.

The $20m figure will also of course be dependant on the price of bitcoin. The cryptocurrency is currently valued at around $635 but should that increase or decrease, the value of CloudHashing's network will be directly affected.

Formidable cloud supercomputing network

CloudHashing says it has built what it calls "a formidable cloud supercomputing network of mining machines" which it rents out to individual customers at rates of between $999 and $8,999 per year, dependant on the processing power you want to wield.

CloudHashing Bitcoin Mining Rates
CloudHashing Bitcoin Mining Rates

At the end of each day, divides up the bitcoin spoils between its customers, but it also retains 20% of its network's capacity for itsself - meaning it could soon be raking in around $4m worth of bitcoins a month.

It has datacentres dotted around the globe including one in Iceland where the company takes advantage of clean and abundant energy - something which is vital if its operation is to remain profitable.

MtGox Customer Relief Effort

The company typically rents out its network at a price of around $25 per gigahash, but in an attempt to help out the thousands of people who have lost bitcoins following the closure of MtGox it is offering people who can prove they were customers of the Japanese exchange access to the network for the cut-rate price of $8 per gigahash.

The MtGox Customer Relief Effort - as CloudHashing is calling the campaign - was inspired by one of its own employees, Lukas Gilkey, who personally lost more than $40,000 overnight when MtGox became insolvent.

Gilkey said he and the CloudHashing team developed the MtGox relief effort to support others like himself:

"I was angry and outraged by what happened, and I know many feel the same way. I wanted to create something to help people like me. If we can come together as a community and help pick others up when they're down, it will say a lot about who we are as a group and our commitment to one another's success."