Bitcoin skeptic and liberal mouthpiece Bloomberg News was up in arms today after a report from Labor International documented poor working conditions in Bitcoin mines in the developing world. “There is widespread abuse” one investigator reported.
“Children are being forced to mine for blocks to add to the master block chain. But the difficulty is astronomical. These kids don’t even earn the transaction fees they’re mining for.”
Child labor in Bitcoin Mining has long been a staple of the industry. An owner of a mining outfit explained, “The blockchain was built off the sweat of child labor. I can get a solid 1, or even 2 hash per minute from each kid. Give them an abacus and it skyrockets to 3 or 4 hash/minute. Do you have any idea how many idle children there are in India? That’s a lot of Satoshi.”
But while lucrative, the practice has its critics. A socialist, tenured academic wearing leather elbow-pads explained, “Children overseas will hash for a fraction of what American children hash for. It’s unfair competition. We’re losing share in the mining pool to unscrupulous foreign competitors.” Many in the US are worried that traditional, homegrown mining may be under threat.
Others cite an incident in which two child miners both found blocks within the 10 minute window. The children fight to the death in such circumstances. Such blocks are called Blood Blocks. “There can only be one”, a programmer grimly observed.
Observers worry that the children’s frailty will slow the blockchain. In one mine, children dart their abaci back and forth, dejectedly computing hash after hash. They have lost all sense of language, speaking only in base58. Scores perish from exhaustion as they verify a Peppermint Mocha Latte bought with Bitcoin in San Francisco, or the 0.000464 BTC paid in winnings by Satoshi Dice. When a New York metrosexual’s online adult subscription payment was delayed 20 minutes, whole villages were rounded up in Bangalore. “The blocks must flow, at all costs” said one overseer. “We must increase capacity.”
As for those looking to get into Bitcoin mining themselves, experts say it’s already too late. The long delayed release of the new Augmented Speed Iteration Children will push hash rates well into decahash-per-minute territory, making regular children obsolete. “I can’t believe I just invested in all these kids,” said one dejected mother-slash-miner. “Pretty soon they’ll all be completely useless.”
All donations go to the yet non-existent Bitcoin Mining Child Foundation: