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2021 Crypto Mining From Home: Can You Still Make Money?

As hashes become more challenging, crypto value fluctuates, and hardware devices take over mining, is there any point in trying to make money mining from home?

Picture of a computer chip with the Bitcoin logo etched on it.
Image courtesy of Canva

The problem with mining cryptocurrency from home is that mining has become more complex than the average household computer can handle. In addition, home computers can’t cost-effectively resolve hashes, unlike the early days of crypto. Also, companies built better machines to handle hashing specifically. Not to mention fluctuating crypto markets can leave a novice miner losing money.

Once again, the average person who doesn’t have the time or money to invest in serious mining analysis and technology is left with little recourse. The advancement of the crypto industry stripped the power away from the individual and placed it in the hands of people who already have both money and time to capitalize on what is supposed to be the people’s currency.

So, what can you do with your computer sitting at home while you’re out working to provide food and shelter for yourself and your family? In this article, I’ll help you understand the roadblocks, how we got here, and what you can do to add some extra income using a home computer. Then, you can assess whether it’s worth your time to mine at home or not.

Mining competition

When the first block of Bitcoin was mined, it was possible to mine using a standard computer. You could use your home computer and make some money on the side. As time went by, people started making their own hardware devices designed explicitly for hashing called ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits). These specialized machines made mining more complex and expensive.

As more people invested in ASICs, the average Joe was left out in the cold. Mining became so competitive that you had to spend money on equipment to gain some extra hashes. You also had to justify the cost of that equipment by making more than it cost over time, which is very difficult with fluctuating crypto markets.

To make matters worse, people began using pools to band together and solve hashes faster. The more people you have in a pool solving those problems, the less time it takes to find a solution, which means you receive your payout from the pool sooner.

In essence, mining became too complex for an average household computer. In addition, the cost of ASICs, mining pools, and fluctuating crypto prices make it too expensive for the average household to run. As a result, mining has become a business venture designed for those who have money to burn on equipment and time to dedicate to updates and maintenance.

Mining difficulty

The more hashes you solve at once, the less time it takes until you have to do another, and you can see how quickly this gets difficult with a bit of math. For example, let’s say someone mines at home and makes ten hashes a minute. In a year, they will mine 3628800 hashes if their computer is running all the time.

How many hashes do you think a person would mine if they joined a pool with 100,000 people? That number comes out to be 362880000! Now imagine a pool with 1 million people mining at once. Hash rates go up exponentially when you add more miners to the equation. The network adjusts the difficulty every two weeks to control the speed at which blocks are found.

So, while you may be mining at home by yourself and finding a block every few days or even weeks, the chances are that it will take much longer than two weeks for your pool. This means you could miss out on payouts during that time because the difficulty will have changed before you find a block. In the end, people joined mining pools to help offset the cost and remain competitive.

You must determine your computer’s CPU (processor) and GPU (graphics card)

First, you need to know the hash rate of your PC. The device manager in Windows can tell you. Second, you need to pick the proper crypto to mine. Then, you’ll need to find crypto with the correct cost and algorithm (we will use BTC for our test). Third, calculate how much money your machine can make in a day. And finally, determine how much power your computer uses per day and subtract that number from your crypto earnings.

A note on low-end computers: You will not make money from them. They will use more power than the crypto you can mine in a given time. Still, it’s good to know how this all works. So, no matter if you have a cheap laptop or a developer’s workstation, let’s go.

Determine Hardware

Nicehash is a site to check your general profitability given your CPU and GPU. You can download a little program that runs to detect hardware or enter it manually. If you’re wary of executing programs from websites, then go manual.

You can check your hardware by pressing the start button on your computer and typing Device Manager. The listing should pop up at the top of your menu.

Once you click it, the device manager will open, and you need to look for Display Device and Processor. Click the little triangle next to each to expand their listings, and you will see the name and type of your CPU and GPU.

Calculate profitability

Next, go back to Nicehash and choose “Enter Hardware Manually” to see if they are listed in the dropdown menu. Pick one that matches (at least closely). After that, enter what currency you use and how much your electricity costs. If you don’t know, then go to Electric Choice for the answer. Scroll down, and they are listed by state. Enter that number in the kwh field. Lastly, you’ll enter your CPU or GPU. Try each of them. The GPU should give you more power, but it depends on whether the system is high or low end.

You should see an amount per day you could make. Example: $2.20. Note that my laptop, which I’m writing this article, resulted in a whopping $0.07 per day. Also, note this is for mining BTC. Still, we’re getting the primary data we need to see if it’s worth contemplating mining any other crypto as well.

If your hardware isn’t listed, then it’s safe to say it won’t be worth your time to try and mine with your current hardware (it still might not be even if it is, such as in my case).

What if my computer isn’t up to the task?

Don’t give up if you’re still interested in mining crypto. There are other ways to mine by paying miners. But, once again, the cost to payout ratio must be worth it. Of course, you can also pick up a better computer one you can dedicate to mining. But, it’s always worth checking to see if what you’ve got in stock works first.

This article is about checking the viability of hardware on tap, but there are computers designed especially for crypto mining. However, they aren’t cheap, and they are beyond the scope of this piece. But keep a lookout for my upcoming articles on mining hardware.

Conclusion

It’s safe to say that profit still exists for mining crypto from home, but it will not be enough to quit your job. You may even need to spend some money on the front end if your computer cannot turn enough profit for mining to be worth your while. Still, you can make money in 2021.

Please read my cryptocurrency articles on Medium, LinkedIn, and Quora!

Also, don’t forget to mention Medium to your friends! Their membership fee directly supports me. Plus, they’ll get full access to every story on Medium! Click here to sign up.

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A new tech publication by Start it up (https://medium.com/swlh).

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