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Bitcoin servers go up in smoke in a very modern mining disaster

Mining Bitcoin may not carry the same risks as traveling deep underground to chip away at rocks, but it’s by no means worry-free. In a very 21st century mining disaster, a Bitcoin facility in Thailand suffered a serious fire that left servers and other hardware out of action — the kit was reportedly uninsured too, so mining operations will be on hold for some time.

It looks like the incident happened back in October, though news of the blaze has only just surfaced. Details are pretty sketchy but there are images and a discussion of the incident on a lengthy discussion thread at Bitcoin Forum, while local media reports say the fire affected an area of a couple of acres and was under control in 30 minutes. From the details that we have it looks like the cost of the damage will run into the millions of dollars.

Related: Dell, Newegg start accepting Bitcoin as payment

The cause of the fire hasn’t been confirmed — various theories have been suggested and rebuffed by the parties involved, and arson hasn’t been ruled out as a possibility — but it’s a timely reminder of the risks involved with any large scale data server storage. While the big companies like Google, Apple and Facebook may make data centers look easy, that’s far from the case.

As CoinDesk reports, the facility was operated by mining cooperative Cowboyminers and used kit supplied by Spondoolies-Tech and Innosilicon. No one was injured in the blaze but the damage will take some time and a significant amount of cash to repair — on-site operators are currently trying to salvage what hardware they can from the ashes.

After peaking at $1,147.25 late last year, one Bitcoin is worth $341.71 today. While the crypto-currency hasn’t attracted the same kind of headlines and coverage as it did at the start of 2014, it looks like it’s here for the long-term: Google recently opened up a Bitcoin ATM at its London headquarters, and the virtual currency is accepted at a number of high-profile retailers.