FARMER MINER GEEK

Kune from a long line of fanners,” proclaims Sam Cx>Ie, his voice seeming to eiffie both pride and an undertone of irony. Ilie pride comes from his clear sense onaentity as a farm kid growing up in the pastoral environs of 1980s southern England. The irony likely comes from the rich juxtaposition of that imagery with his professional passion for the supercomputers and other Bitcoin mining equipment that he now manufactures with his partners in KnCMiner, which operates one of the worlds largest cryptocurrency mining operations in his adopted home of Stockholm, Sweden.

The delivery company came and dumped these massive cables on the floor. I said to the teacher, I can do it. And I did. Go yeah, computers and geekdom have been in my bones for a very long time.”

For Cole, its not as if farming and computer activities ever existed in alternate universes. The land was there from the beginning, and so was the family computer, both ready at hand as objects of his childish curiosity and exploration.

“I dont remember not having a computer,” says the 34-year-old Cole, who also enjoyed employment-related stops in Scotland and Switzerland before settling in Sweden. Another thing he doesnt remember: having anyone around to fix the computer when it malfunctioned. So, betraying what one can only conclude is a natural prodigal talent for such matters. Cole took to fixing the familys computer—and soon everyone elses in his orbit—himself.

He was all of 10 years old.

“I knew it was up to me,” he says. “I had actually written my first computer program when I was 6 years old, a basic logic puzzle. So when it came time to fix them, I just read a few things and practiced trial and error. It didnt really seem hard. Pretty soon, I was setting up the computer network for my school. No one knew how to plug them in. The delivery company came and dumped these massive cables on the floor. I said to the teacher, I can do it And I did. So yeah, computers and geekdom have been in my bones for a very long time.”

Fortunately for Cole, his self-diagnosed geekdom is not the type that sees him buried in dark basements communicating only in computer code, however elegant that might be in its own right. He instead exudes an amiability that would surely find him as a natural in one of his home countrys fabled pubs, if he ever had time to hang out in them.

But as a central figure in the Bitcoin world, where, he says, chip production that not long ago took two to three years now happens in a frenetic four to five months, theres no time for pubs or much of anything else. After working dawn to dusk, Cole commutes a half-hour to his home outside Stockholm, where the family dinner and bedtime snuggles await with his two young children, a daughter and son.

“Im one of what the) call love refugees,” he says. “Its actually an official term here. My wife is Swedish, so we moved here after we got married. No one comes here for the taxes, thats for sure.”

Coles entrepreneurial spirit manifested itself early, in the wake of all the computer assistance he provided gratis to family, friends and schools in his boyhood.

At 18, he made it his profession, attracting an immediate and growing list of clients whom he served as an IT consultant over nearly two subsequent decades.

“I had been studying to be a civil engineer since I was 16, but I realized it would be 10 years before I could really do anything to rise above average in that field,” he says. “I didnt want to wait that long. Im not very good at being average.”

That drive saw Cole snag contracts with hundreds of companies over his prosperoas IT years, from sole proprietor hairdressers to Nestlé, Hewlett-Packard, GlaxoSmithKline and other titaas of the corporate worid. last year, sensing favorable winds for Bitcoin and the crypocurrency movement and seeing a wide gulf between demand for mining equipment and its supply, he teamed with partners

Andreas Kennemar, Marcus Kdandsson and Michael Unneback to launch KnCMiner. The company quickly went on to sell millions of dollars worth of equipment and (literally) set w orld records for speed of chip production, taking mining equipment to rarefied heights of raw computing power.

With it all has come rather high visibility in the highly technical Bitcoin world for a man still not that far removed

from his boyhood farm—nor the values it engendered.

“I still have my tractor drivers license,” Gole muses, “lo this day I have no trouble with early morning starts. There are no lazy farmers. When my father stopped farming, he went on to own a sawmill, so you can say he went from farming to forestry and didnt miss a beat. 1 come from a long line of people who are willing to commit.”