Many people jump on the Bitcoin train, trying to get rich.
The promise of getting money for 'minimal effort' is something that draws thousands of people into investing. Especially with cryptocurrencies, which can grow hundreds of dollars in a day.
To get into the Bitcoin world, you need to either buy some or mine some. The latter option is more difficult and requires a significant initial investment, but can pay off in the long term.
The information provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be seen as investing advice. Our opinions on this site are only that, if you are considering an investment into cryptocurrency or anything we speak about on this site, please advise a trusted financial professional first, before doing so.
Bitcoin Mining Options
Today, we'll explore Bitcoin mining options and create a short guide on how to get your feet wet in ASIC mining.
The Bitcoin network uses a proof-of-work algorithm to validate blocks. This means that computers perform millions of calculations with hardware in order to "mine" the crypto. At the beginning, Bitcoin could be mined with a GPU, just like today's currencies Monero and Ethereum.
You didn't need a high end GPU, either. Nowadays, it's largely impossible with a common PC. Only ASIC, a piece of hardware using 'Application Specific Integrated Circuits', can stand a chance with the current difficulty of the Bitcoin network. Expect to pay few grand for such a product.
However, nowadays you aren’t stuck with needing to have hardware in order to mine.
Purchase Mining Power
There are cloud mining services, like NiceHash or Genesis Mining, where you can purchase mining power. You can get Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, and a couple of other coins. Unless the price of the coins you just mined increases, it’s kind of like an investment fund, really.
Nevertheless, if you want to mine Bitcoin with your own hands, or rather hardware, get an ASIC. The benefit of mining over purchasing Bitcoin, and trading it as a source of income, is that mining is a passive, stable source - not requiring great expertise in the cryptocurrency markets.
Trading can be profitable, but it requires knowledge and most importantly, luck. Thus, ASICs might be a safer investment.
Some noteworthy products are the Antminer series by Bitmain. The Antminer S9 is perhaps the best ASIC miner out there. It will cost you anywhere from $1400 to $3500, but it can give about $650 profit per month, depending on the electricity price in your area. The $650 figure is for $0.12 per KW/h. Your investment could be returned very quickly. Its big downside is that you will need a pricey power supply, with a tag of more than $200, such as the APW3-12-1600-B2. Even though the whole operation has a high price tag, the Antminer S9 is a very power efficient ASIC miner and an excellent hashrate of 14TH/s.
The second most efficient ASIC product is the Avalon 6. Made by Canaan Creative, it contains eighty 18nm A3218 chips, running at 500MHz, giving us about 3,5 TH/s hashrate. It's cheaper than the Antminer S9, and has the advantage of being very silent. It can go from $250 to $1000. You can overclock it, provided you load 3rd party firmware. A splendid product for large mining farms of up to 50 miners at once. Control with Raspberry Pi software is simpler than ever. Pulling about 1050 watts of power, at the rate of $0.12 per KW/h for electricity you'll get about $110 of profit per month, $1330 per year.
Starting mining is very easy once you get the hardware. All you need to do is plug in the miners and connect them to the Internet. Turn them on, set up configuration, and you're done.
It's usually no different to setting up a home router, so if you can do that, you can set up a mining farm. If you find yourself stuck at some point in the process, many handy guides are available all over the Internet and on YouTube. Remember to get adequate power supplies and keep power costs in mind when calculating the profitability of your mining operation.
In addition, it's most probably not worth it for you unless you mine in a pool, or sell your hashrate on services such as the aforementioned NiceHash. Thus, let's look at the top Bitcoin mining pools and see which one is the best for your needs.
Join Mining Pools
If you're in Europe, I would recommend the first Bitcoin mining pool out there, also the most reliable one – Slush Pool. Located in Czech Republic, it has about a 3% share in the global Bitcoin mining network hashing power. It's a public pool, with fees at 2%, making it one of the cheapest pools to mine on.
You can also use it to mine ZCash, if that interests you. The protocol Slush uses doesn't change; the pool has kept mining Bitcoin even when a large portion of miners switched to Bitcoin Cash. Thus, you can expect high stability mining using Slush.
Another Bitcoin mining pool I would recommend is ViaBTC. A recent, Chinese pool, ViaBTC offers good rates for its miners, in addition to being a hashrate seller. It has servers worldwide, meaning it's irrelevant where you mine from. Support for ETH, BCH, LTC, ZEC and DASH is included. Hashrate of the pool is transparent – everyone can see what it amounts to. More than 99.9% uptime gives great stability to its users, just like Slush Pool. 4% fees for PPS payments (Pay Per Share), 2% for PPLNS (Pay Per Last "n" Shares) scheme.
ViaBTC has also added an exchange platform to its range of products recently. The pool is a good option, but personally, I wouldn’t use any Chinese pool. Why? Because I am a believer in the core philosophies of Bitcoin. Namely, decentralization.
Over 80% of the Bitcoin network hashrate is located in China. By mining in a Chinese pool, you contribute to centralization of the cryptocurrency, which would defeat one of its main purposes. Still, it’s up to you.
Once you’ve made all the necessary choices and planning to set up a Bitcoin mining rig or farm, you can start mining! Be on the lookout for protocol changes, changes in ToS of pools you use, and for the price changes.
Simply setting and forgetting is unadvised, as this could quickly lead to losses.
Always be on the lookout!