Most miners find solo mining no longer profitable and cloud mining notoriously tricky, all while large-scale industrial mining is out of the reach of most people’s purse strings. In contrast, decentralized platforms short-circuit risks, offer definite income, and are both transparent and accessible.
We would like to thank the team at OddoCash for their contributions to the design and implementation of the research and to the analysis of the result.
Home Mining, Cloud Mining, Large-Scale Mining: Are They Profitable?
People turn to mining for one of two reasons: either it’s their hobby or they hope to make it rich. If it’s a hobby, you can use your own computer with no additional investments. If you hope to strike it rich, experts say that you’ll be entering a business with little returns.
In 2009, you could have used a standard multi-core computer to earn about five dollars a day. As certain cryptocurrencies (particularly Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin) became more valuable, competition to mine them intensified, and you had to invest in heavy-duty equipment to make a profit. As of 2018, you have to spend longer hours at your computer resolving algorithms that become more and more complex. Additionally, because the price of computing power rises as cryptocurrency prices fluctuate, the possibility of returns becomes nail-bitingly uncertain.
When it comes to Bitcoin, this most popular cryptocurrency is halved every four years to reach its ultimate number of 21 million Bitcoins by 2040. Right now, there are about 16.9 million Bitcoins out there. The scarcity of this coin caused the research firm Fundstrat to recently predict that the price of Bitcoin is nearing a break-even of 1.0x, meaning the reward for mining a Bitcoin equals the total cost.
Miners turn to cloud mining to slash hardware and energy costs by leasing mining hardware or hashing power from a remote datacenter. Since cloud mining is provided as a service, those cloud providers that are reliable are rarely profitable, and those that seem profitable usually turn out to be scams. For reliable companies like Hashflare, you have to pay an annual contract price of not only $0.80 per 10 GH/s but also a Maintenance and Electricity Fee (MEF) of 0.0035 for every 10 GH per 24 hours. The GH/s is a miner’s hash rate. The higher your hashrate, the more you mine. For 13.5 TH/s (13.5 thousand trillion hashes per second; the equivalent of an Antminer S9), your initial investment comes to $1,080 and your maintenance fees are $1,417.50 per month, based on Hashflare’s calculator.
If everything stays constant in the cryptocurrency world you could break even after six months. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against you since crypto rates fluctuate and mining difficulty increases.
Your most expensive option is industrial-scale mining rigs that forks out certain and higher results. Large-scale commercial mining uses powerful processors that draws several megawatts of electricity, enough to light a thousand houses. A mining rig that consumed five megawatts of electricity would have made $140,000 per day, when Bitcoin prices were at their peak in December 2017. These rigs spend every day, all day, just mining Bitcoins and are mostly situated in countries like China and Venezuela, where energy costs are nearly free. In China, for instance, energy drops down to $0.08/kWh (compared to the US – $0.13/kWh).
Home mining or specialized mining: How much money can you make?
Based on WhatToMine, mining profits calculator, we’ve created an infographic to better explain this idea to you:
Nowadays, mining at home is relatively expensive. A minimal list of requirements includes:
- A computer: Depending on the cryptocurrency you mine, some algorithms can still be run more or less “effectively” on CPUs (eg, Cryptonight), while others work best on GPUs (Ethereum, Zcash, Vertcoin.) As of 2018, a top quality ASIC miner, with 13.5 TH/s, costs $800 to $1,500. The most popular option remains the Antminer S9.
- Energy: Each Antminer has its own wattage power. For S9, run it straight for a month (30 days), and you pay $396.24 (12.7 cents/kWh, US) according to WhatToMine. That’s aside from the fans that most miners use for cooling, too.
- Miscellaneous costs: Miners pay for transactions and for mining pool memberships where costs range from one to three percent of the income for the most popular pools as of 2018. Currently, the top three mining pools are:
- Slush Pool – represents around 11.4% of hash power, with pool fees at 2%.
- AntPool – has just over a quarter of the hash power worldwide, and charges users 4% on payouts plus 2% of any transaction fees earned.
- KanoPool – has only 0.3% of the global hash power, but the lowest mining fees of 0.9% and transaction fees are included in the block reward.
Cloud mining services remove these costs, but then you have to pay a hefty commission for those services.
In short, the greatest cost of home mining is really the huge amount of electricity needed. If you move to a country where energy costs are cheap, you narrow your costs tremendously.
Large-scale industrial mining
- Mining hardware – $1.85 million.
- Heat Sinks – Thermal conductors that redirect heat from the processors to fans or water blocks.
- Water Blocks – These are the equivalent of a heatsink and help cool the heat released from the processors.
- Fans – To cool the vast amounts of released heat.
- Support hardware – Similar to enclosures that protect hardware from water, sun, and pollutants.
- Energy – $1,286.40 per month ($0.08/kWh, China,) based on WhatToMine.
Add in the money for an operating team, suppliers, maintenance costs, repair costs, and the constant upgrades and purchases needed and this becomes an expensive venture. The last expenses are needed for the decreasing lifespan of mining hardware, growing competition, and a steep increase in network difficulty.
It’s a small wonder then that in mining it’s the suppliers rather than the miners who make the money. In short, crypto mining is a hobby that Joseph Wang, cryptocurrency investor and adviser in Hong Kong, says is not profitable for the “ordinary” person.
What Are Your Alternatives?
More recently, several decentralized platforms sprang up to address the gaps in mining, the expense of mining equipment, the lack of transparency in cloud mining, the risks in cryptocurrency returns, and the remoteness or inaccessibility of large rigs. Three of the most innovative platforms are the following:
OddoCash helps miners use its platform and cover costs that include cutting-edge equipment, technical and maintenance expenses, and energy. Their smart contracts have been verified by ABDK Consulting.
- Operational structure – Users are guaranteed a certain income depending on the amount of their investments, number of invited users, activity of those invited users, and layers of their pyramids (i.e. exponential number of invitees).
- Cryptocurrency – Oddo uses ETH rather than Bitcoin because of the speed of Ethereum (20-30 seconds), its smart contracts, and its powerful block technology.
- Minimal investment – The user pays 0.01 ETH.
- Payment structure – OddoCash gives users weekly and daily pay (ETH).
- Token – The system has its own ERC20 ODC token. Holders receive a weekly payment in ETH.
- Benefits – Unlike cloud mining, Oddo is open source, so it’s transparent. Users don’t need to invest time in learning the subtleties of mining, nor do they need to wait for months until they see their first earnings. And its website says that it harvest thousands of dollars a day through mining.
To offset the inaccessibility factors of specialized giant mining firms, Terraminer ships mobile mining farms that are equipped with all the necessary means of communications, an alarm system, a fire safety system, and an advanced immersion cooling system (to cool the resulting heat from the immense energy requirements).
- Operational structure – The more you invest, the more mining power you buy.
- Payment structure – The revenue from mining is shared between the token holders and founders on an equal basis. Miners receive daily revenue.
- Minimal investment – The minimum investment fee is $100 with no upper limit.
- Token – TRM2.
- Benefits – The company promises investors “access to the most flexible and reliable mining farm with the shortest payback period available on market.” Their farms use cheap electricity and the company is transparent and based in Bulgaria, a country that favors ICOs.
Miner One pools miners, and in so doing leverages the power of the community to get modern technology, lowest costs, and the best possible returns.
- Operational structure – Professional miners work together and share resources as well as distribute income in the way that mining pools do, but without the hardware and energy expenses of centralized mining.
- Token – Minor One uses the MIO Token, which represents membership in the Miner One Community as well as a share in the output.
- Benefits – The selling points of Miner One are that it saves you the hassle of mining yourself. It is more reliable than “cloud” mining, more efficient than most mining pools, and more stable than buying cryptocurrency outright. The ICO insists that mining done right can be very profitable.
Miners can expect little to no return from cryptocurrency mining. For most people, home mining is not profitable, cloud mining is a risk that provides little return, and specialized mining is inaccessible. In all cases, mining is costly and cryptocurrency fluctuations promise uncertain returns. In contrast, blockchain platforms like OddoCash, Miner One, and Terraminer resolve these issues by making mining cheaper, therefore more profitable, easier, and more accessible. Since their services are decentralized they are also transparent and may provide you with substantial income.