For many, the idea of Bitcoin mining has long since faded. While mining for Bitcoin profits is still possible, the cost of electricity and equipment is significant these days. The days of mining on an ordinary computer were over before most even heard of Bitcoin – and even consumer graphics cards were obsolete in 2013. But do not despair! There are many other digital currencies that you can still mine with standard equipment. The big one is: Ethereum.
Also Read: Can I Make Money Mining Bitcoins?
Audio version of this article recorded by King Passive
Note: This beginner’s guide is aimed more at beginners. If you already have a clear idea of what hardware you need and how to build it, check out our more advanced mining guide from Bitsonlines-based Ethereum expert Utkarsh Anand.
Bitcoin: no longer for beginners
Let’s get the bitcoin thing out of the way first: to mine BTC these days, you’d have to invest $ 1,600 or more in specialized ASIC chip-based equipment – which is likely to be superseded in about six months to a year, so that you can reduce pocket money. Your annual profit after electricity costs (assuming an average of 0.13 cents per KWh for electricity and a bitcoin value of $ 6,000 per coin) would be around $ 3,745.
That’s not a bad return, especially if the price of Bitcoin continues to rise.
However, many looking to mine cryptocurrencies don’t have $ 1,600 or more to invest in equipment. When Bitcoin started all you needed was a PC and the belief that what you were mining for would one day become valuable. And indeed, those two investments have paid off for some. However, as Bitcoin’s value increases, so does the difficulty of mining it.
Why mine ether?
Ether is the cryptocurrency that “drives” the Ethereum network. Note that the Ethereum blockchain is slightly different from the Bitcoin blockchain. The Bitcoin blockchain exists solely to conduct financial transactions.
However, the Ethereum blockchain is designed to handle a lot more, including:
- Execution of financial transactions,
- Keeping ironclad records of copyrights and intellectual property,
- Execution of smart contracts (business contracts that are executed when financial transactions take place),
- Generation of new tokens and cryptocurrencies that companies can use as a reward or that can gain in financial value over time (many “ICOs” use Ethereum ERC-20 tokens).
The Ethereum blockchain is a software-based platform that companies can use to create decentralized tools and business structures. Because of this, many companies in the music, finance, real estate, and software development industries looking to get into the cryptocurrency space are using Ethereum to build their projects on.
Ether is now the second most valuable cryptocurrency by November 2017 at the latest (by total market capitalization, not per unit). Companies from almost all sectors view Ethereum as a building block of their business, not just a form of financial currency.
Sounds like a good investment, doesn’t it?
Not only is Ethereum remarkably promising as a financial investment, it’s still easy to get into Ethereum mining. You can still mine ether on a gaming PC or, if you’re more adventurous, build a “GPU rig” out of half a dozen or more gaming-style graphics cards.
This is how people used to mine bitcoin. In fact, they filled entire rooms with it:
If you want to go that far, make sure you also have enough fans, enough electricity … and probably a fire extinguisher on hand, just in case. You probably don’t want to operate this device in a hot climate or even in summer. Just a warning.
Build a mining rig or gaming PC
A gaming PC is the bare minimum you need for an Ethereum mining rig. We Do Tech recommends using a graphics card with 4GB or more of video RAM running software called Claymore’s Miner – available from Nanopool.com.
With a gaming PC, you can overclock your system performance and increase your hashrate and daily revenue by a few cents to a dollar.
In addition, the Nanopool DAG file is constantly being expanded. If your graphics card has less than 4GB of video RAM, you will lose significant mega-hashes per second. If your graphics card is less than 4GB, he recommends mining for a different currency like Zcash. Fortunately, Zcash is also gaining in value this year.
TechCashhouse looked at pre-assembled rigs on eBay that (let’s be honest) cost more than they’re worth. But if you’re not brave enough to build your own, you’re paying a premium for someone who makes it easier for you. Life is like that.
He shared that you can purchase the parts and remake the rig yourself for much less. However, it also showed that buying a pre-assembled (perhaps overpriced) rig can still make a profit.
Both TechCashHouse and We Do Tech calculated the average earnings for Ethereum mining with some tweaks like 0.10 to 0.13 cents USD / KWH for electricity, hashrates between 17 and 22 per MH / s and various power wattages, etc.
It looks like mining ether with a gaming PC or rig can net you around $ 3 to $ 4 a day *.
Mining Ethereum with a PC?
The Daily Decrypt also shared a tutorial on mining Ethereum with your PC only. In this step-by-step guide, it is recommended to use the Geth and Ethminer programs for this.
Amanda doesn’t just discuss the financial outlook for mining Ethereum with her PC. However, it is likely that by the time you are reading this the information is out of date.
However, you can visit CryptoCompare.com’s mining calculator and calculate the current amount you are likely to calculate per day, per week, or per month based on electricity costs and the other factors pertaining solely to your PC and equipment .
* Exact prices can fluctuate as much as the cryptocurrencies themselves, so please only use these as a rough guide. Use a mining calculator site (as mentioned above) to get a better idea.
Do you think it is a good time to start mining ether? Have you ever wondered how many bitcoins you would have if you first started mining when you first heard about bitcoin? Take a look below.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, We Do Tech, TechCashHouse