Mining Crypto Using Your GPU
Is it still worth it in 2022?
It was in the not-too-distant past when you could have mined Bitcoin using your computer, and earn significant rewards along the way, especially for those still holding their BTC. However, as its network has grown (similar for several other blockchains), there is relatively less of an incentive to mine crypto with a CPU or GPU. For this article, I will focus on the latter, and make a brief reference to Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners for those willing to take this to the next level.
In 2022, this begs the question…
Is it still profitable?
It depends. I know this is a vague answer, but this is genuinely the case, like several things in life.
The first two assumptions to make that would influence the profitability include for how long you are willing to hold your crypto, and how skilled you are in trading the small amounts that you earn to gradually grow your balance, in turn, potentially making it fairly lucrative.
For the former, the major caveat here is that you are relying on Bitcoin or your preferred altcoin(s) to substantially increase in value in the coming months and years. However, past performance does not guarantee a return to current all-time highs that we have witnessed in recent years.
Nonetheless, the increasing presence of institutional investors (not to mention retail investors too) and clearer regulations in this asset class are instilling more confidence to pour money into the space. From this, many crypto investors and traders are anticipating increasing prices and trading volumes as the market continues to mature, with the expectation of Bitcoin and several altcoins to set new all-time highs sometime in the near future.
There is no one-size-fits-all provider or a particular crypto that will remain profitable in a year or two. Hence, I have links to various profitability calculators for graphics cards, with some sites also providing suggestions about the best altcoins to mine.
There are multiple websites that function as a hashpower marketplace and/or crypto-mining platform, so I will refrain from mentioning any particular names, due to misconceptions about providing incentivised endorsements, despite never having received such a promotion. Hence, I recommend doing your own research, using the terms above as a starting point to see what works for you.
Other considerations to make when contemplating GPU mining
Besides the hardware you have available, or what you are planning to purchase (standalone or as part of a computer), other variables to factor in include:
— Commission rates charged by these marketplaces or mining platforms, which can vary depending on the amount of trading you do through their platform as well.
— Electricity costs and in certain cases, supply reliability.
— indirect costs: Mining equipment that is constantly operating will release varying degrees of heat depending on the GPU size and activity. For example, overclocking your unit will push the graphics card to more extreme temperatures, and can be substantially shortening its life when the heat and airflow to the system are not correctly managed, particularly during warmer months or in hotter climates. Coolers often help mitigate or avoid this issue, which have their own upfront and operational expenses.
— Period of daily operation: I find this is more relevant to laptops if you are planning to use them for mining crypto. Many daily estimates assume either typical or optimised GPU settings and that you are operating the equipment at or near 24 hours a day.
Moreover, it is worthwhile determining whether a desktop, laptop or standalone PC tower with multiple cards is the best setup for you. For more serious mining, desktops tend to be better value for money and are generally more equipped for ongoing operations over consecutive days uninterrupted. However, I have read conflicting advice relating to how long laptop users can continuously operate their laptop without being shut on or turned off, so you be the judge and do your due diligence prior mining any crypto.
I should acknowledge that I stopped participating in such mining due to my Internet-security software continuously overriding the anti-virus exemption that I set through the advanced settings, which abruptly ceased operations on my laptop. Imagine having this running just before going to bed, only to realise that the AV software halted the mining shorty after going to bed?
Despite some AV providers restricting various legitimate crypto marketplaces and mining platforms (though I respect their decision to be extra cautious, especially for the layperson who is not that tech-savvy), I came across this article about an offering their own in-house crypto miner for their clients. Nevertheless, I would rather choose an independent service, but each to their own.
What about ASIC miners?
ASIC miners are designed for dealing with a significantly higher hash rate (or Gigahashes and Terahashes per second), predominantly targeted towards Bitcoin, Litecoin/Dogecoin and Ethereum miners (though the latter will most likely migrate to Ethereum Classic due to the Ethereum Merge). These crypto assets use SHA-256, Scrypt and Ethash mining algorithms respectively.
If you are willing to fork out larger sums of money for such equipment, ASIC Miner Value is a useful website, providing you with a breakdown of all of the related specifications, alongside a colour-coded daily profitability calculator. ASIC miners are more efficient than CPUs and GPUs per Mh/s mining rate; something to bear in mind when exploring mining options over the medium-to-long term.
In summary, the novelty of GPU mining and the small rewards earned along the way could possibly be profitable, depending on your setup and how much time and effort you are willing to dedicate upfront in research to see what is most appropriate for you. If prices were to appreciate and you are willing to hold your assets for several years, then modest amounts earned upfront from mining could turn into a worthwhile sum of USD equivalent down the track. Taking the abovementioned factors on board will most likely help boost the productivity of your graphics-card mining experience.
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None of this is financial advice and I am not a financial advisor. Please do your own research prior to investing in any crypto assets, let alone any product affiliated with this space.