Cryptomining is surprisingly easy


Date: 21.02.2018

I've started to mine cryptocurrency, and it's surprisingly easy — but I'm still 8 months away from breaking even

For two years, I owned a cryptomining machine and didn't even know it.

I have two of the most powerful graphics cards you can buy: the GTX 1080, which I then upgraded to the GTX 1080 Ti. And they just so happen to be some of the best graphics cards for mining cryptocurrencies.

Cryptomining is the process of solving complex problems to verify digital transactions using computer hardware — in this case, a graphics card. Miners can either create a cryptocurrency or get paid for their processing power in a cryptocurrency.

Those graphics cards cost me a pretty penny, even if I bought them before the massive graphics-card price hikes caused by cryptominers buying them up. And when I wasn't gaming, my GTX 1080 and GTX 1080 Ti just lay there, doing nothing, not making me money.

No more. One day, I decided to try mining cryptocurrency with them.

I was making some profit at first, but not very much. So I got curious. What if I added moregraphics cards? How much could I make?

Check out my new messy mining-rig experiment to see how much in bitcoin I'm making.

I could just buy cryptocurrencies instead of mining. But that means I'd be paying for it.

My goal here is to amass as much bitcoin as possible for less than I can buy it at market price — within my means, of course.

And if I'm making a profit, even if it's not exactly huge, why not? Just so long as it covers the cost of the electricity it uses, as well as the extra parts I bought for the experiment. The moment mining becomes more expensive than buying the cryptocurrency, I'll stop.

What I'm not doing is mining bitcoin so I can immediately turn it into cash.

I just want a stockpile of bitcoin that I can do whatever I want with.

I have two separate mining setups: a dedicated mining rig in the basement of my house, and the gaming PC in my office. Here are the parts — graphics cards — I'm using that are integral to the mining process:

  • 1 GTX 1080 Ti in my gaming PC
  • 1 GTX 1080 in the mining rig
  • 3 GTX 1060 6 GB in the mining rig

I already own the GTX 1080 Ti and the GTX 1080, which I used for playing games on my PC, so those aren't factored into my "investment" in bitcoin mining.

For my costs, I'm factoring in only the extra parts I bought as part of my mining experiment, which include the three GTX 1060 graphics cards, a cheap processor, a cheap motherboard, and a power supply.

All the extra mining parts come to a total of $1,601, which I'll need to recoup via mining.

It's not the prettiest mining rig, but it's in the experimental stage, so I'm not taking the time to make it look good as long as it performs the way it's supposed to.

Some miners make their rigs look beautifully organized, like this one:

After a few minutes of research, I found a piece of software for Windows called NiceHash that was called the "easy button" for mining. It seemed like a good place to start.

What is NiceHash?

NiceHash is like a marketplace with buyers and sellers, and it's all dealt with bitcoin.

  • Buyers on NiceHash make offers in bitcoin for the processing power — or "hashing power" — of a seller's graphics cards.
  • NiceHash will automatically switch the seller's hashing power to mine for the buyer with the highest offer, so it's a competitive market for the buyers.
  • Since bitcoin is the most valuable cryptocurrency at the moment, I chose to use NiceHash instead of mining others like ether.

It's also worth noting that NiceHash takes a small cut of the seller's profits.

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