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Illustration by Daniel Hertzberg

Rockdale, Texas, wasn’t attracting much business before Bitcoin came to town.

A modest town of 5,600, an hour outside of Austin, Rockdale lost a major employer after Alcoa shut down its aluminum smelter in 2008. But the electrical infrastructure that Alcoa left behind is being put to new use: mining Bitcoins.

More than 11,000 computers hum…

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