With Bitcoin (BTC) prices reaching new all-time highs almost every year, it’s no surprise that a lot of people are paying a lot of attention to the crypto space. One aspect that a lot of people are curious about is Bitcoin mining and whether it’s possible to do at home. But is it possible to do it with your home computer? Let’s take a closer look.
The possibility of mining Bitcoin at home
Bitcoin mining is simple in concept. You use computer hardware to solve puzzles or problems dictated by Bitcoin’s algorithm in order to arrive at the next block. If you’re the first miner to arrive at the solution, you are awarded Bitcoin. After that, all you’ll need is a way to exchange your Bitcoin for cash.
The complexity begins when we start looking at the pace at which people are currently mining Bitcoin just to remain operational. You might have seen some of the videos circulating of mining operations that fill a whole room, all working together to solve that same problem. Now, consider your own computer or laptop and you’ll have to admit that you’re at a disadvantage here.
How the hash rate affects mining and energy usage
If you’re new to Bitcoin mining, you’re probably wondering what the hash rate is in cryptocurrency. Hash rates are the rate at which the Bitcoin network is running which helps gauge the efficiency of the mining rig.
The hash rate is typically measured in thousands, so prefixes like kilo, mega, giga, and the rest are used. The hash rate will vary depending on the cryptocurrency the rig is going to mine as various hardware and software differences will come into play.
This is the same reason why mining operations will most often have a lot of high-powered machines working together, as it’s the best way to increase your hash rate. Let’s not forget, though, that high-powered machines mean more heat to displace. Keeping the room cool, especially in the summer, will have you pumping fresh air into the room anytime your machine is running.
This brings us to power efficiency. The power you need to supply all this equipment with enough electricity will be a huge factor when it comes to operating at a loss or profit. For this reason, we see crypto mining operations located in areas where utility costs are cheaper than average.
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Bitcoin’s limited supply and halving
Lastly, we’ll be talking about how Bitcoin has a supply cap of 21 million coins. As of March 04, 2022, the current supply of Bitcoin is at 18.965 million, which means we are approaching the point where mining won’t be possible anymore.
To prevent us from reaching the supply cap immediately, though, the developers of Bitcoin regularly half the rate miners earn Bitcoin, which further slows down the rate Bitcoin is being mined at, an occurrence known as “the halving.” Every time another 210,000 blocks are mined, the reward is halved along with the mining rate.
The efficiency of PC and laptop mining
The sad truth is that Bitcoin has matured to the point that smaller mining operations have a harder time keeping up with the rigors of modern Bitcoin mining. That said, it’s not impossible, but there will be some things you need to accept before you can even begin.
The reason you might have considered mining at home is that, in the past, it was profitable to mine with a personal computer (PC) or laptop since the network was much smaller. Starting 2010, though, the pace picked up as developers introduced a way to utilize a graphics processing unit (GPU) to mine Bitcoin. Over the next few years, application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) miners would gain popularity as the most cost-effective way of boosting a mining operations hash rate.
Different hardware will compute at different efficiencies. For example, Nvidia’s GPU NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti mines at a hash rate of 60 megahashes (MH) per second. Considering how this GPU is currently priced at about 900 USD and that the GPU runs at 200 W (remember: more power = more heat), it’s easy to see how this can quickly become an expensive venture.
For laptops, the situation is a lot more complicated. Laptop cooling capabilities are limited for now, with most gamers relying on cooling pads or well-ventilated nooks to help minimize the maximum temperature of their device. Given how laptop components are smaller, densely packed, and operate at lower speeds than their desktop counterparts, their role in the mining industry is minimal.
In other cases, though, some people just want to experience crypto mining. This makes for a good experience and enthusiasts can take a closer look at the other side of the crypto space. Software like Awesome Miner, Honeyminer, and Nicehash are great examples of programs that let you do this at home, each one flaunting its own special features.
Finding your place in the crypto space
We’re not ones to tell people to stop trying, but Bitcoin mining at home is becoming a very difficult way to make money. It’s only natural, after all, given how Bitcoin was introduced in 2009 and how it has grown both in popularity and efficiency.
Granted, there are other cryptocurrencies that you can mine while they are new. If you really want to explore the world of crypto mining as a whole, the best thing you can do is to do your own research. It’s the only way for you to make sure that you’re one step ahead. Plus, it should also make it a lot easier to find your place in the world of cryptocurrencies.