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I’m pretty well versed in Bitcoin trading but am really new to Bitcoin mining. I hear a lot of conflicting views regarding the profitability you can achieve with Bitcoin mining. I was wondering if I’m better off mining Bitcoins or to try and look into mining other crypto currencies such as Dogecoin or Litecoin.

closed as off-topic by Murch, Greg Hewgill, John T, Salvador Dali, Joe Pineda Feb 18 '14 at 23:57

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This question has been asked before here and here but this was a long time ago before the difficulty leaped in November of 2013. Bitcoin mining is getting more and more difficult as time progresses. This is because the Bitocin protocol is designed in a way that the mining difficulty increases as the network’s hash rate increases - This chart shows Bitcoin difficulty over time. Hash rate is the computing rate of the system - so the more miners come aboard, the higher the difficulty for mining Bitocins - This chart shows the network’s Hash Rate.

Today if you want to mine Bitcoins you will probably need to join a pool of miners working together in order to compete with this difficulty. For a detailed explanation look here. If you want to calculate exactly how much you can make with Bitcoin mining use a mining profitability calculator like this one. From my own experience I can say that using the most powerful home-made miner you can make a few hundred bucks per month which usually would barely cover electricity cost. Here’s a real live example from a guy on Reddit.

One more option to mine would be CEX.IO which is a cloud mining service where you basically buy mining capabilities without the hassle of operating your own miner. I haven’t tried it myself so I can’t recommend it.

If you want to mine Bitcoins today it will probably be purely for hobby or ideology. You can however try mining altcoins and then exchange them for Bitcoins. The problem is that there are so many altcoins it may sometimes be hard to know which one is worth wasting the time on. This chart shows you some sort of a mining profitability indicator for different altcoins. So even though you may have “missed the bus” on Bitcoin mining you can still try to mine altcoins.

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The short answer is "no", for a very simple reason. Any time Bitcoin mining is reliably more profitable that anything else people could do, then more people will be doing it, which raises the difficulty. So the difficulty will rise until Bitcoin mining is not going to be profitable for the average person. If you have some special advantage, such as paying a particularly low cost for power or you need electric heat anyway, then maybe,

  • Bitcoin mining market behaves as a very close real world analogue of a perfect competition market, one of whose characteristics is precisely that profits tend to diminish to almost the level of costs. I.e. the only way you can get rich is by continuously innovating. – Joe Pineda Feb 18 '14 at 23:55

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