What were you doing in elementary school? These Frisco kids make $ 32,000 a month mining Ethereum

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Ishaan Thakur, 14, and his younger sister, Aanya, 9, typically ran a lemonade stand every summer that made them around $ 100 for their college fund.

But in February, their father told them a bedtime story about bitcoin prices reaching over $ 50,000, and the Frisco duo came up with a new lucrative idea: mining Ethereum.

“We wanted to invest in it, but we didn’t have the money to buy bitcoin,” Ishaan said. “So instead we bought the equipment to operate it instead. “

They started mining in March with an old gaming computer, earning $ 1,000 in the first month. For the past month, they made over $ 32,000. They are using their income to buy more mining equipment for their company, Flifer Technologies, which they set up on April 30.

“I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it because it’s too high a level, but we watched YouTube videos and my dad and sister helped me out,” said Ishaan, a ninth-grade student. Frisco High School.

Frisco resident Ishaan Thakur, 14, explains how he mines cryptocurrency with computers in his garage to earn money for the university on Wednesday, August 11, 2021. (Stewart F. House / Special Contributor )(Stewart F. House / Special Contributor)

Bitcoin is the world’s largest cryptocurrency with a value of around $ 44,455 per coin and a market value of $ 835 billion, according to Coindesk.com. Ethereum is the second largest with a value of around $ 3,055 and a market value of $ 357 billion. They decided that bitcoin had become too competitive and therefore chose to mine Ethereum.

Along with the construction of a cryptomining platform came a major complication of the COVID era: a shortage of chips.

Ishaan and Aanya, a fourth-grade student at Spears Elementary, signed up for supplies updates from Best Buy and Micro Center. When they received an email in the evening alerting them to the parts, they would line up for hours before the store opened the next morning.

“There are usually hundreds of them, but most are looking to resell the parts online for a higher price,” Ishaan said.

Other times, they may have found deals on eBay. Their father, Manish Raj, a former Wall Street investment banker, took out a loan to help them buy supplies to get started.

The main pieces of equipment needed are graphics cards, which use software to guess the right code to get bitcoin. They have 94 mining processors and mostly use Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics cards. When computers guess the right code, they get a bitcoin.

It’s a guessing game, and their current setup makes about 9 billion guesses per second.

“Crypto mining is like mining for gold or diamonds,” Ishaan said. “Instead of using shovels, you mine with computers. Instead of finding a piece of gold or diamond in the mine, you find a piece of cryptocurrency.

While the YouTube videos showed them step-by-step instructions, they estimate that it takes around 10 hours per platform to install. But once the platforms are installed, it becomes a passive income generator.

They have 14 platforms with 82 mining processors for Ethereum and five small platforms with 12 mining processors for Raven Coin (because those processors were not optimized for Ethereum). They ordered four additional platforms from China with integrated processors.

“We want this to become a big thing,” Ishaan said.

Ishaan and Aanya's portfolio as of mid-August 2021.
Ishaan and Aanya’s portfolio as of mid-August 2021.

A buzzing sound is constant in their garage, where some of their rigs are kept for construction and testing. Ishaan estimates that they have about 30 cards in their garage setup, costing around $ 90,000 in total, or $ 3,000 per card. Their main operations now take place in an air-conditioned data center in downtown Dallas, as the heat and noise were too great to be confined to a garage.

Ishaan and Aanya said it was important for them to use renewable energy, which costs around 12 cents per kilowatt hour compared to traditional energy which costs around 10 cents.

The difference in cost is insignificant compared to what they do, especially since Ethereum mining is more efficient than bitcoin. Last month’s electric bill, including their home and data center, was $ 2,500. A typical household electricity bill in the summer is $ 500 for them; with mining it rose to $ 850. The electricity bill for the downtown data center was $ 1,650.

This is not Ishaan’s first entrepreneurial quest. He also created a hat with a mini solar powered fan to help keep people like construction workers cool in the heat. He and his father have applied for a US patent for the product and plan to sell it. Outside of his business activities, he plays the saxophone.

The Thakurs hope that their profits will help them pay for their studies. Ishaan hopes to go to the University of Pennsylvania and become a doctor. Aanya wants to go to New York and also become a doctor. They are equal partners in the business.

Some investors are wary of cryptocurrencies due to their volatility. But the brother-in-law duo said they don’t have to worry about finding a buyer for their Ethereum when it comes to paying for their studies because the market is so good. It has a higher market value than the bigger companies, like Irving-based Exxon Mobil, which has a market value of $ 243 billion, they said.

So far, they have sold small amounts to pay for expenses such as the electric bill, graphics cards, software, and the data center.

Cryptocurrency has grown in popularity this year, causing lawmakers to think more seriously about how to regulate it. Recently, Texas enacted HB 4474, the Virtual Currency Bill, which allows the 216 state of Texas chartered banks to provide custodial services for virtual currencies. This week, the U.S. Senate passed the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that requires more tax reporting for cryptocurrency transactions.

Ishaan said he tries to keep abreast of news in the cryptocurrency world. But neither he nor Aanya told their friends about their latest adventure.

“Most kids like to play games on their computers,” he said. “We like to build them, I guess.”

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