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Background

I have a relative who has been trying to get into Bitcoin mining. He accidentally installed malware onto his home PC twice, thinking it was a mining tool. He understands mathematics but is not well versed with modern technology, PCs, etc.

Question

What sort of hardware/software/etc would I purchase if I want to have a standalone device sitting (quietly) in the corner of my office that would have a reasonable expectation (95%+ CI) of earning a single coin within, ideally, 6 months? The power/hydro bill isn't a problem, as I'll be paying it. It's to my understanding that I need to consider ASIC/FPGA-based boards to be remotely competitive.

Goal

My goal is to pre-mine a single coin, give him the box as a birthday present, and have a cron job add the coin to his wallet at a set date. I think it'd make his day (day he always felt lucky).

Additional info

How do I help him legitimately cash-out his single bitcoin, so that the bulk of the face-value is cashed out, and he has a receipt he can file properly at tax time?

  • You can pre-mine a block, but that might become invalid if you sit on it too long. – jiggunjer Oct 3 '17 at 7:15
  • @jiggunjer what? How do you 'pre-mine a block'? – MeshCollider Oct 3 '17 at 11:56
  • @meshcollider I'm not sure, I just figured it would be theoretically possible. You just need to not broadcast it when finished? – jiggunjer Oct 3 '17 at 15:22
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    @MeshCollider After looking through this more thoroughly, your assertion sounds correct. If you convert that comment to an answer, I'll mark it "accepted". Thanks. – Cloud Oct 3 '17 at 17:06
  • @jiggunjer mining is a race, if you didn't broadcast it when finished you'd be wasting your time completely and would get nothing because someone else would find a block and yours wouldnt make it into the chain – MeshCollider Oct 3 '17 at 18:08
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At current difficulty, you aren't going to be able to mine an entire bitcoin in 6 months with even the Antminer S9 ($3000 each), you'd probably need two of them, are you sure you don't want to just buy 1 BTC and a cheaper miner for the show?

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Bitcoins aren't mined individually; they're awarded to miners who discover a block. This process is like a race that restarts every ten minutes when a new block is mined (the miner gets a block reward plus transaction fees).

In order to have a shot at winning these races, mining operations use expensive arrays of custom hardware. So, without that, you would have a pretty slim chance of discovering a block before one of them did.

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    This answer ignores mining pools completely. Of course you'd use a pool. – MeshCollider Oct 3 '17 at 6:51
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The days of individuals having a decent probability of solo mining bitcoin are long gone because of reasons mentioned by the first two answers. Yet bitcoin prevails as the crypto currency 90% of people initially encounter when delving into digital currency. So many still consider mining bitcoin, almost pointlessly, and that’s the lifeblood of btc mining hardware companies who are selling hardware which is guaranteed to be worth about 0.25% of what you pay for it 12 months later.

An alternate suggestion for anyone new to mining, is mine Proof-of-work crypto currencies where you actually have a chance of buying a handful of gpus and catching a block every now and then. Without massive investment this is highly unlikely with bitcoin

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