What is Cryptocurrency Mining?
Cryptocurrency mining refers to performing transactions for the network on a computer system and getting rewarded in cryptocurrency for getting this task performed. Though this article on cryptocurrency mining by Investopedia mostly uses Bitcoin as an example, it provides a simple but comprehensive explanation, and the basics apply to various kinds of digital money.
Mostly, you should understand that crypto mining provides an incentive for creating new coins and keeps the blockchain operating as it should.
Is Mining Bitcoin at Home Still Profitable?
Since PayPal started buying and selling Bitcoin, a lot of people grew interested in finding a way to acquire this famous crypto without having to pay for it. Is mining bitcoin at home worth it? Well, first you might want to invent a time machine to take you back 10 years. Back in the day, most bitcoin miners used a home setup and only competed with others on that same level playing field.
Since then, mining for Bitcoin has grown both more difficult and competitive. Also, as was the original plan for this OG crypto, rewards have and will continue to decrease over time. That means mining for Bitcoin has consistently become more difficult and resource-intensive. At the same time, it’s less profitable in terms of the equipment and power needed.
As just one example, written testimony before the U.S. Senate reported that Bitcoin mining uses up about one percent of the world’s energy supply. It’s actually a good thing that other kinds of crypto have emerged because the problem with Bitcoin is that its grown so resource intensive to mine and use.
In summary, trying to mine for Bitcoin on a home PC isn’t really feasible anymore. It’s not even a good idea for people concerned about conservation. Also, if you could really invent a time machine, you could probably also think of even more profitable ways to use that technology.
Can You Still Mine for Cryptocurrency at Home?
The great thing about cryptocurrency is that you can exchange one kind of digital money for another one. The Motley Fools says that over 1,600 different cryptocurrencies have hit the market. Of course, only a handful truly have good potential, which is why The Motley Fool also called digital money a very top-heavy market.
In any case, you can still find some crypto that you can mine at home. However, before you invest your time and money in mining, you should do some research to maximize your chances of making a profit.
3 Best Cryptocurrencies to Mine At Home
Investing in any kind of crypto, either through buying or mining, is speculation. So, you want to carefully choose one of the most promising contenders. While the Frugal Pig admits that the editorial staff lacks a time machine to move either forward or backward, it’s possible to suggest some better contenders for potential cryptocurrencies to mine from a home PC.
- Ethereum: Really, you would need to acquire a GPU, or graphics processing unit, if you want to mine seriously. On the plus side, ETH is second only to Bitcoin by market cap and the mining process is generally described as relatively simple. To get started, visit the official ETH website to download its blockchain, change settings for mining, and go.
- Monero: Monero, or XMR, has gained popularity as an anonymous digital currency, which Bitcoin really isn’t. Positives include the fact that XMR was developed with home PC mining in mind. Plus, the market cap exceeds $2 billion. Beyond a PC, you will need a wallet and mining software, like Multiminer, that can support this coin.
- Dogecoin: Doge started out as a humorous meme and then transformed to a legitimate cryptocurrency with a market cap of $350 million. Unlike Bitcoin’s finite supply and termination date for mining, Doge was created to add new coins. You can use your home PC’s CPU, but you can mine more efficiently with a GPU. Suggested software include Doge’s Core Wallet and for a home PC, CPU miner.
The list above included the three most well known coins that people can still mine at home, either with a PC or GPU. For some suggestions for a handful of other cryptocurrency coins to mine at home, see this article on BraveCoin. Some of the crypto that they suggest include GRIN, Beam, Bytecoin, Vertcoin, ETH Classic, and AEON.
If you’d like to do more of your own research on crypto, here’s a list of the top 20 digital coins by market cap. While this list won’t tell you which coins are easy to profit from by mining, it can give you a good starting point to figure out which ones are worth the trouble.
It it Really Possible to Profit With a Home Crypto Mining Setup?
Honestly, mining any large-cap coin will present a challenge. First, large-scale operations will still offer competition. Also, learning to mine will take something of a learning curve to download the right mining software and blockchain, though you can find most of what you need for free online.
Also, for performance, you will probably want to dedicate a machine to mining, or at least, only mine when you’re not using your PC for something else. For the best results, you may want to invest in a GPU.
At the same time, you can get started with your home PC to ensure you found a good opportunity. It’s always wise to test various options and learn the ropes before you plunge down several hundred dollars on sophisticated equipment. Once you decide that you like crypto mining, you may want to reinvest some of your earnings in better equipment.