Cryptocurrency has seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the last decade. Just over a decade ago in 2010, a Florida man paid for two pizzas with 10,000 Bitcoins. At the time of writing, these Bitcoins would be worth nearly $368 million, making this the most expensive pizza order in history.
If you want to get into cryptocurrency and get your hands on some Bitcoin or Ethereum, you’ve probably heard of cryptocurrency mining. This is the process of exchanging your computer’s power for crypto.
Yet with the market so saturated and crypto values running so high, is it still worth trying to mine crypto? How does it even work?
In this guide, we’re going to take a look at the state of cryptocurrency mining in the 2020s, and what your options are if you want to get involved in the world of cryptocurrency. Are you ready to learn more? Then read on!
What Is Cryptocurrency Mining?
Cryptocurrency mining is the most traditional way to get crypto. It involves using your computer’s processing power to verify transactions on the blockchain.
By doing this, you are ensuring the accuracy of the blockchain, which is crypto’s secret weapon, essentially. The blockchain is a ledger that contains a list of all crypto transactions, which its users then verify by mining, which makes it incredibly hard to commit fraud. Combine this with cryptography to keep the transactions private and anonymous (which this helpful guide can explain), and you have an incredibly secure currency.
In exchange for verifying the blockchain, you get rewarded with newly-created crypto, hence the term “mining.” However, there is a serious issue in crypto mining: diminishing returns.
Why Is It Harder to Mine Crypto Now?
The level of block production on the blockchain needs to be kept at a consistent rate. Due to the massive interest in Bitcoin and other high-profile cryptocurrencies, there are a lot more computers working around the world to mine crypto, which means that the difficulty of mining crypto has increased to compensate for this and keep the production rate even.
This means that to have any success mining cryptocurrency you need to have some serious computing power. Otherwise, you’ll find that the rewards that you get from mining will be outweighed by your power bill.
What Do I Need to Mine Crypto?
You can mine crypto with any computer, and even on your phone. However, you’re very unlikely to make a profit on this mining due to the increased power consumption.
You could dedicate your video card to mining crypto, which may net you some more success since GPUs are more efficient at mining than CPUs are. However, even then, an average PC will have little hope of mining enough crypto to make a profit.
If you really want to mine crypto, then you should look at a type of computer called an application-specific integrated circuit, or ASIC. ASICs are far better at mining cryptocurrency than normal machines, but they can be expensive, with some models costing upwards of $10,000.
Are All Cryptocurrencies Hard to Mine?
If you got in on the ground floor and were mining Bitcoin in the early days, you would have likely built up a very healthy amount of Bitcoins that would now be worth thousands or millions of dollars. Today, mining Bitcoin is very, very hard.
However, that doesn’t mean that other cryptocurrencies are this difficult. If you peruse a cryptocurrency list, you’ll spot a lot of new, up-and-coming cryptocurrencies that you can still mine with standard hardware (at least at first).
Currencies like Ravencoin, Monero, Zcash, and Ethereum Classic can all be profitable to mine with a CPU or GPU. If they grow in popularity, the mining will get a lot harder, but by that point, you should have made enough crypto that you’ll have a handsome profit.
However, there is no guarantee that these cryptocurrencies will ever reach the level of Bitcoin, which means that you could end up still losing money. It’s all a matter of risk vs reward, and you’ll need to decide for yourself whether the increased power bill is worth the potential gains.
What Are My Other Options?
If you don’t want to mine crypto, there are other ways that you can get your hands on it. Buying high-profile crypto can be very expensive, but as each singular coin can be broken down ad infinitum, you can buy everything, including Bitcoin, at any price you like.
How to Buy Crypto
If you want to buy cryptocurrency, you’ve got a few options. You can buy it through an exchange, which will act as a middleman between you and the seller to ensure that you get your crypto and the seller gets their money. You can also buy directly from a seller, which can cut down on costs and fees but also runs the risk of being defrauded.
If you’d like to buy cryptocurrency anonymously, you can buy it with cash at a Bitcoin ATM.
Working for Crypto
If you’d like to work for crypto but mining isn’t for you, you could consider offering your labor in exchange for crypto. For instance, some crypto sites will pay admins, writers, and other staff with cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency Mining: Is It Right for You?
Cryptocurrency mining is harder now than it’s ever been, at least for high-profile crypto like Bitcoin. If you still want to mine it, you’ll need to invest in some serious mining hardware such as an ASIC or an array of high-end GPUs. You’ll pay for your crypto via an increased power bill, but if you’re making a lot of crypto, it may still be worth it.
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