Enter multiple symbols separated by commas

For bitcoin 'miners,' nice work if you can get it

For Steve Vittitoe, bitcoin is a fun way to make some extra money.

This unassuming 31-year-old family man, who is a computer programmer for a cybersecurity firm, runs a mini bitcoin-mining operation from the basement of his home in Valparaiso, Ind.

"It's as if there's a machine in my corner printing money," Vittitoe said.

In one corner of his basement he has set up a rack of specially equipped computers. These are called "miners" in the world of bitcoin. The machines run 24 hours a day, competing against other computers around the world to solve complex math problems. The first computer, or group of computers, that solve the problem receives a fixed amount of bitcoins.

Vittitoe's mining operation produces 1.2 bitcoins a day. If bitcoin trades for $600, that means $720 worth of bitcoins a day, or $262,000 a year. But that is a big "if" given bitcoin's volatility. In the last six months, bitcoin's price seesawed between $400 and $1,150.

George Frey | Getty Images

Read MoreBitcoin's back to the wall as it fights to survive

Vittitoe, who has done well so far, doesn't mind the volatility.

"If I can get in at the right time, and get out at the right time, I've made money," he said.

How much has he made? Enough to pay for his son's private preschool and more.

Click here for the full documentary of "The Bitcoin Uprising"

What Vittitoe calls a "fun experiment" nets him less than 5 percent of his total income. His partner provides most of the computers so he gets most of the bitcoins, and Vittitoe covers the cost of electricity which can be more than $500 a month.

Eleven hundred miles to the south of Vittitoe, in Austin, Texas, a start-up company sees mining as a business, not an experiment.

Read MoreHow I created my own bitcoin-like currency

The megaminer Cloud Hashing expects its nearly 3,000 computers in Dallas and Iceland to produce $100 million worth of bitcoins this year, divvied up between investors who buy contracts from Cloud Hashing.

"People pay anywhere between $1,000 all the way to $1.5 million to mine with us," CEO Emmanuel Abiodun said.

Abiodun, a former programmer for JPMorgan Chase, didn't buy into the bitcoin uprising at first.

"I thought bitcoin was a scam back then," he said.

His conversion came studying the program. Abiodun said he saw it's potential to revolutionize the existing payment system.

Read MoreWhy Warren Buffett's wrong on bitcoin: Bill Miller

"This thing is solid, this is well-written. This thing is going to really solve a lot of problems," Abiodun said.

For Vittitoe and Abiodun to keep making money on bitcoin, the digital currency has to get wider acceptance and to gain wider acceptance, Abiodun believes introducing regulation into the currently unregulated digital currency is key.

"Probably people want to stone me for saying that, but I do believe the lack of regulation is holding a lot of money on the sidelines," Abiodun said.

—By CNBC's Karina Frayter.

  • Andrea Day

    Andrea Day covers Crime & Punishment for CNBC. She and her team have reported nearly $1 billion in fraud this year.

Inside the SEC

  • The Treasury estimates that $21 billion in potentially fraudulent refunds due to identity theft could be issued in the next five years.

  • A Rare Look Inside the SEC

    CNBC's Gary Kaminsky takes a look at the massive amount of digital data that pours into the SEC's enforcement division, which is in charge of investigating violations of securities laws.

  • SEC: Finding Where the Bodies are Buried

    CNBC's Gary Kaminsky spent time with SEC's Bruce Karpati to learn more about his division, which investigates allegations of fraud committed by investment advisers. Kaminsky reports that if you're breaking the law, the agency will find you.

Madoff Trustee: Investigations Inc

Selling the American Dream

Investigations Inc.: Cyber Espionage

  • When a person enters information on a website, like an email or credit card, it gets stored in that company’s data base. Those web-based forms are a simple tool for users, but they are also another way hackers can exploit a company’s system. Instead of inputting a name into the website, cyber spies can put in a specially crafted text that may cause the database to execute the code instead of simply storing it, Alperovitch said. The result is a “malicious takeover of the system,” he said.

    By attacking business computer networks, hackers are accessing company secrets and confidential strategies and creating huge losses for the overall economy.

  • lock_laptop.jpg

    China is working feverishly to counteract its slowest GDP growth in recent years, and one of the ways it’s doing so, say U.S. officials, is through the theft of American corporate secrets.

  • hacker_keyboard_200.jpg

    US businesses are enduring an unprecedented onslaught of cyber invasions from foreign governments, organized crime syndicates, and hacker collectives, all seeking to steal information and disrupt services, cybersecurity experts say.