This is the second of two-part series. If you haven’t read part one yet, you can find it here.
In part one we looked at the benefits and pitfalls of ASIC and GPU mining. Part two looks at other methods to see if any of those are more viable for home crypto mining.
Central Processing Unit (CPU) Mining
The first Bitcoin was mined on Satoshi Nakamoto’s laptop, using nothing but his CPU. This now seems like a distant dream, with 99% of coins requiring, at least, the power offered by a GPU. Some coins however can still be mined on a decent laptop, such as Raven Coin and the recently launched Grin Coin. CPUs need a laptop or a computer which must be on 24/7, and don’t think you can play games or watch a movie while mining – anything less than 100% CPU power will be almost pointless, meaning the CPU must be left to focus on mining alone. Logistically as easy as buying a computer, CPU mining is limited in terms of scale (you can’t hook multiple CPUs up to one computer) and earning potential. You could also quickly fry the CPU and its host device as CPUs and average computer cooling systems aren’t designed to run 100% for days on end. Not really worth your time or potential component/computer cost.
Cloud Mining has become a popular way of mining without having to buy any of the equipment. Much like cloud storage, you pay a fee per month to rent hashing power and get the rewards. This has the benefit of keeping your home equipment-free and your electricity bills down, as well as outsourcing the hassle involved in building and maintenance. The more money you put in, the more hashing power you rent, the more you make back. Simple.
In theory, yes. But cloud mining comes with its own specific problems. Firstly, you can get scammed by a seemingly legitimate operation that doesn’t put the money you give them towards hashing power, and you have no way of knowing if this is happening. Secondly, mining difficulty changes, so while you are contracted to a fixed fee per month, your rewards might drop considerably if the difficulty increases. The same applies to the value of the coins you choose to mine, putting you in the same bracket as home-miners. This is a risky and as yet unproven way of mining crypto.
Home Mining Console
Last November, Coinmine released the Coinmine One. This elegant looking $799 box proclaimed to be the first cryptocurrency miner that didn’t have to be stuck down in a basement or garage like the deformed sibling in a horror film. This could sit proudly next to your games console or the TV, quietly mining cryptocurrency with no one any the wiser. To be fair, Coinmine were under no illusions about the money-making potential of the Coinmine One, which is just as well – Futurism.com calculated that, at November’s prices, it would take 45 years to pay for itself. It was more an example of how accessible mining could become in the future – a family could buy a box, plug it in and earn some holiday money. This may well be where we end up years down the line, but for the moment home mining consoles are more decorative than functional.
It’s Better Above Ground
In summary, it seems that the facts don’t lie – crypto mining at home is, generally speaking, a money-losing exercise. Even those who can somehow find themselves a free energy source will face years of work before they can pay off the equipment costs. This won’t last forever though. When the market picks up there will be a point where firing up the graphics cards will be financially viable, but for most of us the window will be so short that we’ll be better off using the money buying some cheap alts with potential for growth instead. And, at least the wife won’t complain about the noise coming from the garage.