I have recently learned about Bitcoin and would like to get rich quickly into mining.

I have control of a

  • laptop
  • library full of ancient computers
  • powerful gaming PC
  • cluster of GPUs
  • an old ASIC, I got for three times its worth off eBay
  • a cluster of EC2 servers

My power bill is

  • frightfully expensive
  • dirt cheap
  • subsidized by my neighbors included in rent
  • non-existant, because I produce a power surplus

Is it worth getting started with mining?

  • 2
    This question has been asked a lot, and is currently being asked frequently again. The above question is meant to serve as a Canonical Question with a broad answer to cover the whole question. It may serve as a lightning rod and duplicate target. Please add more answers to cover points I may not have covered well enough. – Murch Nov 7 '15 at 10:56
up vote 48 down vote accepted

Generally, it's not worth your time and effort to mine at home! (Some exceptions may apply.)

Age of ASIC mining

CPU mining has been unprofitable since 2011, GPU mining just slightly later.

Today, ASICs rule mining. The Bitcoin network has more than 1.7 Ehash/s (Oct 2016) now which is 1,700,000,000,000 Mhash/s. Your graphics card will be running full blast to churn out a few hundred Mhash/s, your CPU maybe a few dozen.

With CPU or GPU you will never collect a sufficient balance with a mining pool that you could even get paid out. It's a waste of time, even if you don't pay for power.

Mining has gone big scale

Meanwhile, ASIC mining has gone industrial. Corporations are building mining centers in regions with very cheap power, and filling them with millions of USD worth of ASIC miners. Greater mining power in one hand does have some slight advantages which adds to their more efficient processes.

Finally, ASIC miners have been catching up quickly technologywise: Every few months new chips get announced moving the scale down a few more nm. Currently, we are reaching 16nm technology (Oct 2016), which is already pretty close to the general state of the art. The problem with that is that every step of miniaturization comes with a leap in power efficiency, quickly obsoleting older generations of ASICs. Chances are that your investment will outdate before it pays for itself – even when you are just looking at cost of acquisition and have no cost of power.

Mining profits tend to zero

The mining market tends to reach an equilibrium: While it is very profitable to mine, there is room for investments. The additional mining power increases the difficulty for all which in turn reduces the profitability. When the difficulty rises, it drives out the least cost efficient mining operations, in turn increasing the profitability of the remaining miners. If you're not in a particularly advantageous position, you will be quickly pushed out of the market.

Also see: Why does mining profitability tend towards zero?

If you're not paying for your power, someone else is

Anyway, if you're "not paying for your power", because it's included in rent (e.g. in a dormitory), you're either privatizing profits by socializing costs, i.e. stealing from your neighbors, or you'll be paying for it next year when your landlord increases your rent to cover the higher power bill.

If you produce a power surplus or use the ASIC to replace electric heating, hey, you might be one of that exceptions I mentioned going in.

There might be some altcoins that can still be profitably CPU/GPU mined and traded for Bitcoin thereafter, but I am not sure whether even they are worth it when you factor in your time investment.

If you have understood all of the above, please feel free to check out

Bitcoin, as the answers imply, is long out of the reach of home miners, however other coins can use all your hardware, e.g. Gridcoin (GRC).

Gridcoin rewards work done on the BOINC platform which is a distributed super-computer. This clearly needs peers with general purpose computing resources, not ASICs which can only perform one task.

Anyone can make a BOINC project. Once the Gridcoin community vote on its inclusion in the 'whitelist', users processing work for the project receive GRC.

  • @Murch If Bitcoin is out of the reach of a home miner, can a group of home miners form a mining pool whereby Bitcoin is reachable again? – Casey Harrils May 16 at 21:23

protected by Community Aug 5 '16 at 12:12

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.