A fire in a three-storey building in Chiang Mai, Thailand, was caused by a suspected cryptocurrency mining farm. CityNews reports that 72 servers were destroyed in the fire, which broke out Friday, December 3, with local police estimating $2 million baht (roughly $60,000) worth of damage.
No one was hurt because no one was in the building, but it's possible that a heck of a lot of consumer-grade GPUs—the ones widely coveted due to the ongoing silicon shortage—were lost.
Crytominers made up 25% of GPU purchases at the start of 2021, which amounts to around 700,000 high-end and mid-range graphics cards. Those still seeking out a cost price GPU that doesn't come attached to a pre-build PC have been waiting for Ethereum to shift away from its proof-of-work model, which should lessen the demand on consumer GPUs, since it'll eliminate a lot of mining activity. That was initially expected to happen some time this year, but will now happen some time in 2022.
Mining cryptocurrency requires a lot of electricity: Part of Sweden's case for making it illegal in Europe is that Bitcoin mining, in Sweden itself, is consuming as much electricity as 200,000 households. That power hunger is environmentally deleterious, but also potentially dangerous: if a dwelling isn't properly equipped to deal with the amount of power used by a 72-server strong mining farm, then yeah, it'll possibly catch fire.
CityNews has a bunch of photos of the building and the damage, and to say the hardware is unsalvageable is a bit of an understatement.