Everyone is talking about crypto currencies, and for good reason: unlike traditional currencies such as euros and dollars, Bitcoin, Ethereum and Co. are not dependent on a central authority such as the central bank of a currency area. In addition, unlike traditional credit cards, PayPal and comparable payment systems, they are virtual cash. In other words: The change of ownership takes place anonymously, state authorities can hardly intervene here. This is also the reason why cryptocurrencies are not only enjoying great popularity in the Darknet, but have also become a popular means of payment and even an investment object for normal users. The value also results from the limited amount: With Bitcoin, for example, there is a limit to a total of 21 million virtual coins.Other systems like Ethereum or Monero are less limited here. What they have in common, however, is that units of the currency are “mined” using pure computing power: so-called CPU mining.
What is CPU Mining?
Cryptocurrencies are based on peer-to-peer technology and the so-called blockchain, a huge database in which all movements and transactions are recorded. A lot of computing power is required for the network to run and the blockchain to work. This is exactly what users provide by letting their computer solve cryptographic tasks, so-called hashes, for the blockchain. Units of the cryptocurrency are issued as a “reward”. The more computing power is used, the higher the chance of generating cryptocurrency units. With currently around 9,500 US dollars for a Bitcoin and around 200 dollars for an "Ether", mining is of course very profitable at first.Especially since virtual currencies tend to rise in price and can be exchanged for "official" money at any time at crypto currency marketplaces - and vice versa..
Enormous computing power required
What sounds like a great idea at first, unfortunately has a big catch: The days when Bitcoin and Co. could simply be mined with the home PC are over, at least with Bitcoin: The cryptographic tasks to be solved become as the computing power of the More and more complex. The more participants and coins there are and the larger the blockchain, the more complex the calculations and the slower the currency units are generated. The level of difficulty increases, which means that more and more computing power is required per unit. Computing power that can no longer be achieved in this form by normal PCs. If you still want to deal with Bitcoin mining, you should first keep three values in mind:
- The hash rate of the mining system in tera-hashes (trillion hashes) per second.
- The purchase price of the mining device. Regular PCs are not suitable, Bitcoin miners like the Antminer cost around 2,200 euros.
- The power consumption of the mining system.
Private mining no longer makes sense
CPU mining was only possible efficiently at the very beginning of the Bitcoin era. In the meantime, during the “Bitcoin gold rush” of recent years, the scene switched to so-called GPU mining: Certain graphics cards were particularly efficient in calculating the necessary hash values, which is why they were sometimes difficult to get and at high prices. However, the gold rush is now over, the required power is too high and the yield too low to continue mining with normal hardware. How low is shown by websites like the Bitcoin Profit Calculator, which throws a gloomy picture on "private" mining: Even with a powerful mining device, the profit is usually in the negative range at the high German electricity price, in other words: if you have crypto currencies generated, pays for it even with highly efficient miners.And that doesn't even include the hardware price.
Mining in the cloud
As a result, cost-covering mining in the private sector has not been possible for a long time, especially not in Germany. The professionals are now turning to special computer systems that are optimized for crypto mining. So-called ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits), which are optimized for the computing routines for Bitcoin generation. These are operated in large quantities in places where electricity is cheap and cooling is easy, such as Iceland. Due to their high efficiency, the ASICs ensured that the computing effort for Bitcoin increased overall, which made the calculation even more demanding. This is why the ASICs are no longer efficient enough in some cases, and entire cloud farms are now being used for this task. Corresponding providers such as Bitdeer , Genesis mining or Hashflare allow private miners to participate in mining for a fee - a much more efficient method than operating their own hardware..
Is CPU mining still relevant using a browser?
As always, when it comes to a lot of money, the half-silky contemporaries are not far. The corner-stone milieu in cyberspace tried at times to access as much computing power as possible with as little effort as possible and to outsource crypto-mining to third-party hardware. Java scripts such as the now discontinued Coin Hive were delivered to Internet users' browsers on hacked websites or even via advertising banners. Here they charged Bitcoins at the expense of surfers. The sheer mass of visitors provided the necessary computing power, which is why well-visited warez and torrent sites or other half-silly offers on the web made use of this technology. Of course, malware can also subjugate Internet users with corresponding scripts. The technology still exists, for example from CoinIMP , however, such scripts are now recognized and blocked by many browsers, ad blockers and virus scanners.
Conclusion: Better to buy than mine
Overall, the days when users could independently mine important crypto currencies such as Bitcoin are over. As soon as another crypto currency gains a certain relevance according to a similar principle, the professional miners are not far away, who increase the level of difficulty with corresponding effort. CPU and GPU mining therefore makes sense at best for exotic or new cryptocurrencies. If you want to use Bitcoin and Co. or speculate on increasing value, you should buy them at one of the numerous Bitcoin exchanges on the Internet - this not only saves time and money, but is also much more convenient..