Co-Founder & CEO, Genesis Mining Inc.
Strange as it may seem to many people who have still barely heard of Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency has been busy maturing in the fashion of all new technologies. That means a steady shakeout of early players and the consolidation of companies whose assets and brands have stood the test of the sector’s early, tumultuous months and years. That’s where Genesis Mining Co-Founder and CEO Marco Streng finds himself, four years after he dropped the pursuit of an academic/scientific career in his native Germany to heed the siren call of Bitcoin, which he had stumbled upon while conducting networking research online.
“It’s a very fast-moving field, very exciting. Many companies have already come and gone, but we’re just getting bigger, launching new mining technologies and really pushing the innovation envelope.”
Like many people in the Bitcoin world, Streng has an outsized math-and-physics oriented intellect that helped him both gravitate to and quickly grasp the complexity, symmetry and opportunity that Bitcoin’s blockchain technology offers the world. He dove directly into mining on his home computers, first for Bitcoin and then Litecoin. The venture proved to be both lucrative and a dazzling intellectual challenge. He was all of 21 years old.
“Bitcoin was just too attractive to resist,” Streng says. “It’s a very fast-moving field, very exciting. Many companies have already come and gone, but we’re just getting bigger, launching new mining technologies and really pushing the innovation envelope.”
Streng launched Genesis late in 2013 with partners Dr. Marco Krohn and Jakov Dolic. The trio has built the company into the largest cloud-based Bitcoin miner in the world. It built and operates mining facilities in Eastern Europe, China and Iceland. (The latter’s renowned cold weather is particularly conducive to providing cheap cooling for hot-running mining computers.)
Recently, Genesis launched a cloud mining protocol named X11, based on a fundamentally new algorithm that makes it more efficient and lucrative for miners, who can mine all other “alt currencies” and then cash them into Bitcoin for optimal returns. “Our service is not technically difficult either, which makes it a major innovation given how technical cryptocurrency mining has been in the past,” Streng says.
“I love what I do, and when you love what you do, you can’t get enough of it.”
Another innovation with which Genesis hopes to reduce mystery, further transparency and shake up the Bitcoin world in a fun way: a live streaming website of life inside abitcoinmine.com that shows a Genesis mine in full operative mode. While it won’t make viewers forget their favorite Academy Award winners, the site does help demystify the whole notion of “mining” as it might be popularly (mis)understood.
Streng marvels at his luck in finding a way of life so in sync with his passions and interests. “It’s quite funny that when we’re dealing with businesses not involved at all with Bitcoin, all our contacts turn off their mobile phones at 6 p.m. and never do business on weekends,” he muses. “In the Bitcoin world, we work almost all the time, every day, because every day counts! It’s not a problem at all, though. I love what I do, and when you love what you do, you can’t get enough of it.”
Still, he concedes, there is such a thing as life outside Bitcoin, though it is spare. What there is of it he spends with his girlfriend, who happily is as flexible as he is regarding the demands of work. “I’m always telling her we’ll be going on holiday soon, and though we do manage to get away sometimes, it’s not as often as we’d like. Things move so fast that planning much ahead is just not possible. Meanwhile, we get a few hours in the evening or an occasional day off. But almost never two in a row.”