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I've been reading about mining, and that to get the reward it basically comes down to brute force. The difficulty of this brute force being adjusted every 2016 blocks.

I also understand that some hardware are better at brute force than others.

So, if I were to tinker in my garage an amazing mining rig, connecting together many ALUs or whatever (sorry I'm not a hardware guy) to give myself a significant advantage - would this work?

I'm not saying it would work forever, but would it work until someone built an even better machine, or until the difficulty self adjusts again?

I assume it's not the case since it would happen a lot. But seeing how people are racing to build the top mining rig, I feel like there is some degree of truth?

  • Yes, but it's not really something you can do in your garage - the "ASIC" mining companies have already invested in doing this. – pjc50 Jan 10 '18 at 15:32
  • Please explain how you are going to assemble more processing power in your garage, than this company has in a single warehouse? genesis-mining.com/img/Version3/… – abelenky Jan 10 '18 at 16:54
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    Well I guess this is what I am talking about, a warehouse like that. But thanks I better understand now that it’s not just how much more powerful my machine is versus the next best machine, but rather how much powerful it is versus the SUM of all the other machines. – Nathan Hazout Jan 10 '18 at 16:59
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    "sorry I'm not a hardware guy", proceeds to talk about hardware. Do you even know what an FPGA is? or what an ASIC is? Or what VLSI stands for? Or the non-bitcoin mining applications of all these things? Or the business environment surrounding computation? – Sam Jan 10 '18 at 16:59
  • I only know what I read in the bitcoin wiki, and no I don’t know what all those other acronyms means :) But see the comment I just posted now. – Nathan Hazout Jan 10 '18 at 17:01
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If the total hashing power of the BTC network around the world (including your rig) equals 16,000,000 TH/s and your rig is providing 40% of the power (which means 6,400,000 TH/s), you will likely mine 40% of the blocks.

When going higher it will raise the 51% attack problem, which is explained in detail here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxyGt58EPa4.

It is pretty much impossible to acquire that much hashing power though.

  • I think my question was triggered when I read (bitcoin wiki) that regular CPUs don’t stand a chance against GPUs because of much more efficients they are at computing hashes, so I thought what about an even better hardware? But considering all the above, whether a CPU or GPU it will be a drop in the ocean, so it’s not that big of an advantage ... – Nathan Hazout Jan 10 '18 at 17:08
  • Also my mistake I think was to think of it as a race, with everyone going over the same hashes. But really every machine is going over different hashes ... – Nathan Hazout Jan 10 '18 at 17:40
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Lets see, following on from the other answer, you're going to need 6,400,000 TH/s. Currently you can buy the Antminer S9 which will give you about 13.5 TH/s, so you'll need a mere 475000 of them.

If you are buying that many units I reckon you could negotiate a pretty good discount, if you don't cause an international shortage. Lets say you could get them for $3000 a unit. This would cost you only $1,420,000,000.

You are going to need about 3900 m/3 of space to store the devices, unpacked. By my reckoning that is about 4 tennis courts filled about 2 meters deep. Not a vast area but bigger than most garages. In reality, you'll need more space for ventilation and access.

To run all the devices concurrently you'll need about 66,500,000 Watts of power, that is enough to supply about 88,000 domestic homes. Your electricity bill would be at least $50,000 a day.

By my reckoning, you'll need about 45,000,000 BTU's of cooling, this could be achieved with 661 of these costing around $7,000,000. I haven't accounted for the additional space, electricity and airflow requirements.

The S9's internet bandwidth requirements are relatively economic, averaging out at something like 500 bytes a second. So, you'll only need 238 Mb/s bandwidth. This could be be supplied via and OC-12 line which will cost at least $700 a day, or more depending on distance. You're going to need something like a 1 Cisco Catalyst 6513-E switch, 180 Cisco Nexus 2348TQ and 10,000 Cisco Nexus 2248TP-E switches. The switches alone will cost something like $51,000,000. There is likely a more cost effective solution but you'll need to speak to your engineering team to work that out.

None of this takes in to account other concerns like expert cable management and racking, maintenance and security.

Finger in the air, you need a couple of billion dollars to get started. Given the current market cap this might actually pay off but you can see the risk and, don't forget the cleanup cost once you have devalued the market.

Good luck.

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Yes you can do this. You simply need a million of these Antminer S9 to have just shy of 50% mining power (doubling the current hash rate) They have a price point of 5500€ per piece though, so that's an 5.5 billion investment.

  • Not to mention the power requirements that would be needed: You would need at least your own substation! You can't do that with Residential or even Commercial Power. – abelenky Jan 10 '18 at 16:53
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    @abelenky: Each one draws 1.4 kW, so you need at least 1.4 GW. For comparison, the generating capacity of Hoover Dam is about 2.0 GW. – Nate Eldredge Jan 10 '18 at 18:50
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If you allow for building a warehouse, then the answer is Yes

If you rent a warehouse, and get massive amounts of power connected to it, and buy several million dollars worth of equipment, and hire a small staff to configure it and maintain it, then you can be a competitive miner and collect the rewards too. Nothing is stopping that from happening.

You just have to be prepared to outlay millions of dollars upfront, and work at mining for anywhere from one year to 5 years to recoup your initial investment, then you may be profitable after that.

But as you originally phrased it, this is NOT a "garage" project that can be done with many ALUs. It would require substantial engineering, management, and risk.

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