How is difficulty calculated? - Bitcoin Stack Exchange
Bitcoin Difficulty Einfach erklärt Blockchainwelt
Bitcoin Difficulty Chart CoinWarz
Difficulty - Bitcoin Wiki
[Hopefully] Extensive Genesis Mining Math - Looking at network difficulty: -38.6% terminal ROI (yes that's a negative)
I recently got into an argument with someone spewing referral links and touting Genesis (and BitConnect, smh) so I decided to run the numbers the best I could for his situation. tl;dr You will have a return of investment of -38.6% (yes, negative) before your contract is cancelled because of increased network difficulty. Methodology
I'm ignoring price fluctuations in BTC. I'm assuming that it doesn't drop enough to invalidate the contract. This is a very important point because a lot of people use this in their argument, but there's no reason you need to mine for this, you can just buy and HODL.
I'm using CoinWarz for the profitability calculator, and I'm using the upfront contract cost as hardware cost (it's a one time capital expense), and distribute the maintenance fee as an electricity cost - shown more clearly later.
I assume that network difficulty doubles every 6 months. This is based on looking at BitcoinWisdom. I haven't been able to find a bettemore precise indicator, but if this is relatively close it makes the math very convenient.
I'm using an average over time. If a value changes linearly over time (network difficulty) and you know the values of the endpoints, you can say that the value of the each individual point in that time period is the average between the endpoints. More illustratively, if I am earning $1/day today, and I believe I will be earning $0.50/day in one year, I can say that on average my earnings over the next year are $0.75/day.
The Numbers I started w/ 16.5 TH/s because that is how much the other person said he had. At today's rates, it costs $2,175 to buy 16.5TH/s. Maintenance rate is $0.00028/GHs, so maintenance fee is $4.62 fee per day or $0.1925/hr. I inputted this CoinWarz calculator w/ the $2,175 as the hardware costs, I used power and power costs of 192.5 Watts and $0.001/Wh, which equals the same $0.1925/hr maintenance fee Initial (read: the one Genesis wants you to look at but is actually misleading) verdict: 228 days to break even. NOTE: this is really important because some people seem to forget this. An investment in Genesis cannot be withdrawn. It's money gone. So after 228 days you haven't doubled your money or even earned $2,175, you have $0. You spent $2,175 and then you got it back. $0 total. Now, stepping it up, I introduce the effect of network difficulty. From my methodology, we assume that the difficulty doubles every six months. That means that you're making (after maintenance fee) the full $9.54/day on day one, but at month six it's $2.46. Wait a minute, that's not half!! I made this mistake too! Of the initial $9.54, you're earning $14.16 but paying a maintenance fee of $4.62 - so after network difficulty doubles you earn $7.08/day but still have to pay the same $4.62 maintenance fee (your Gemini contract includes nothing about them ever having to provide a better maintenance fee ever). The network difficulty continues to increase and around the 9 month mark (to be precise, once network difficulty increases 3.065 times or day 280 of your contract) you're earning $4.62/day and your maintenance fee is $4.62 and imminently your contract is cancelled. You've hit the end of the road. Based on the virtues of linearity, if you're earning $9.54/day on day 1 and $0/day on day $280. Thus you're earning an average $4.77/day over 280 days for a total of $1,335.60, which is a net loss of $839.40 or a return of -38.6% on your initial $2,175. Conclusion You will not make money with Genesis. You will lose money, a lot. The only way to make money is through referral links. That makes Genesis an MLM scheme. EDIT: formatting.
I've been working on a bot for crypto subs like /r/bitcoin for a few days now. Say hello to crypto_bot!
Hey guys, I've been working on crypto_bot for some time now. It provides a bunch of features that I hope will enhance your experience on /bitcoin (and any other subreddit). You can call it by mentioning it in a comment. I started working on this a few days ago. I'm constantly adding new features and will update this post when I do, but if you're interested I'll post all updates and some tips at /crypto_bot. Please either comment here, message me, or post there if you'd like to report a bug, request a feature, or offer feedback. There's also one hidden command :) You can call multiple commands in one comment. Here's a description of the commands you can use:
Responds with the USD price of one bitcoin from an average of six of the top bitcoin exchanges (BTC-E, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Coinbase, Kraken, Cryptsy).
Responds with the USD price of one bitcoin at seven exchanges (all of the ones listed above, plus LocalBitcoins). Also lists the average at the bottom.
Responds with the USD price of one bitcoin from [exchange] (any of the seven listed above).
Responds with the USD price of one litecoin, or the price of 1 doge and 1,000 doge.
crypto_bot litecoin|ltc [exchange]
Responds with the USD price of one litecoin from BTC-E, Bitfinex, Kraken, or Cryptsy.
Responds with the price of one bitcoin in the specified currency. Available currencies (symbols): JPY, CNY, SGD, HKD, CAD, NZD, AUD, CLP, GBP, DKK, SEK, ISK, CHF, BRL, EUR, RUB, PLN, THB, KRW, TWD.
crypto_bot [about|info] [arg]
Responds with a short description about [arg], as well as a link to an external site (Wikipedia, bitcoin.it, and some others) for more information. You can list multiple arguments and get a description for each. Available arguments: bitcoin, block chain, transaction, address, genesis, satoshi, mining, confirmation, coinbase, gox, cold wallet, hot wallet.
Responds with calculations and information about how a miner would do with the above data (mining calculator). The only required field is mining speed. Order of the arguments does not matter. Everything other than hashrate defaults to the following if not given: w (watts): 0, kwh ($kilowatt cost/hour): 0, difficulty: current network difficulty, hc$ (hardware cost): $0, $: current bitcoin price in usd (according to Coinbase), % (pool fee): 0. The calculator does not account for nor allow for input of the increase/decrease of difficulty over time, though I may add this feature soon. Working hashing speeds: h/s, kh/s, mh/s, gh/s, th/s, ph/s. Example usage: "crypto_bot calc 30th/s 10w .12kwh hc$55 1.5%" (to make it easier to remember, th/s can also be inputted as ths). This calls the bot with a hashrate of 30 th/s, electricity usage of 10w, a cost of $.12 kWh, a hardware cost of $55, and a pool fee of 1.5%.
crypto_bot number of btc <$amount to convert> [bp$bitcoin price]
Responds with the number of bitcoins you could buy with <$amount to convert>. If the comment specifies a [bp$bitcoin price], it calculates it with that exchange rate. Otherwise, it uses the rate from Coinbase. Example usage: "crypto_bot $419.29 bp$180.32" This calculates how many bitcoins you can buy if you have $419.29 and the bitcoin exchange rate is $180.32.
Signs a message in the bitcoin block chain in a transaction using OP_RETURN. The message must be less than 40 characters. Example usage: "SignMessage! "Post messages in the block chain!"" I hope you find this bot useful! Again, if you have any questions or comments, please either comment on this post, message me, or post on /crypto_bot. Update 1 (June 24, 2015, 17:35): The bot now responds with information if you post a link to a block, transaction, or address on Blockchain.info in a comment, even if you don't call it. For example, if I wrote "https://blockchain.info/block/0000000000000000126448be07fb1f82af19fbbf07dd7e07ebcd08d42c2660cb" in a comment, it would respond with information about block #362,377. Update 2 (July 10, 2015, 1:59): The bot now has two additional commands: "unconfirmed transactions" (or "unconfirmed tx") and "explain transaction delay" (or "explain tx delay"). The first command responds with the number of unconfirmed transactions, and the second explains why transactions might take extra time to confirm. Update 3 (August 24, 2015, 1:34): The bot now responds in a better way than before when transaction ids or addresses are posted. Before, it only responded when the transaction id or address was used in a link to Blockchain.info. Now the bot will respond whenever a transaction id or address is posted at all; a link to Blockchain.info is no longer necessary. Update 4 (August 27, 2015, 3:00): The bot can now sign messages in the Bitcoin block chain using OP_RETURN.
How to get $100 million in VC funding to build an industry that makes $300 million profit without spending a dime
Yesterday I received an unexpected gift: a link to a copy of the slides of the presentation that 21inc gave to investors, apparently between October and December 2014, when they were still calling themselves "21E6". (The sender asked to remain anonymous, and I am not sure about the copyright status of the file; so I would rather not repost it here yet. But it seems that several other people, including some of the 21inc competitors, have got a copy too; so anyone who is really interested can probably get it too.) The slides don't have much new factual information, and basically confirm what we already guessed about the 21inc business plans. But they show that we severely underestimated their chutzpah and hype. Here are some random highlights (as far as I can decipher from the slides):
They had three relevant mining rig designs in the plans, that would require funding:
The "TH/s", "Cost", and "kW" columns are per "system", i.e. a mining unit containing many chips. The last column is the expected profit to be made from each set of mining hardware over its expected lifetime. (The slides have some other details that do not seem to be important.) The first line is the hardware that they were mining with at the time of the presentation; that must be why the "Cost" (as far as investors are concerned) is given as zero. The second line seems to be an upgrade of their previous mining hardware from v1 chips (which gave 2.7 PH/s total at the time) to v3 chips (which would give 17 PH/s) . In reality, we have seen that their share of hashpower dwindled through all of 2015, and (AFAIK) they haven't mined a single block in the last six months. Were they still mining with CyrusOne on extra-life, or were they using the upgraded IO which was turned off prematurely? What happened to Brownfield?
However, their mining operations were secondary; the meat of their plan was the embedded chip, called BitSplit at the time. The BitSPlit chip (as we suspected) was hard-wired to send 75% of the block reward to the 21inc wallet, whose address was burned in the silicon, and 25% to the user's wallet. By my calculations, assuming 50 GH/s and no increase in the difficulty, the BitSplit would mine one block in 570 years, on average, and collect less than 2 BTC of reward in that time. So, of course, the chip was hard-wired to mine into a pool run by 21inc, that would spread the user's 25% of those 2 BTC (expected) into a daily regular trickle of a couple thousand satoshis. Their own mining operations would provide the BTC needed for the pool payouts of all the millions of chips that they expected to be running out there. They projected to release 3 versions:
Model Qty GH/s W Cost Deploy Profit($) --------------- ---------- ---- -- ---- ------------ ------------ USB hub-charger 250,000 38 15 $35 Mar 2015 ~8,000,000 Embedded chip 1,000,000 63 15 $8 Aug 2015 ~103,000,000 BitSplit Inside 10,000,000 20 5 $0 Oct 2015 ~292,000,000
The "Qty" is the expected number of units sold. The last column, IIUC, is the profit that 21inc expected to make from the 75% cut of the BTC produced by all the chips, over their expected lifetime. In the above "USB hub-charger" model was a USB charging unit, roughly 3 x 2 x 1 inches, with 2 USB outputs and a mining chip inside, produced by 21inc themselves "to seed the market". The second line, which I called "Embedded chip", seems to refer to discrete BitSplit chips provided by 21inc and included in consumer devices (like routers etc.) by OEM manufacturers. The "BitSplit Inside" model would be the BitSplit integrated into the chipsets of other manufacturers, and manufactured by them. Its cost is listed as "$0" (for 21inc) because they expected those manufacturers to shoulder the cost of manufacturing and integrating the mining chip. Apparently the market-seeding "USB hub-charger" was later replaced by the "Bitcoin Computer" (aka the PiTato). In one slide it is called "multifunctional BitSplit device", and depicted as a sleek shiny black box, the size of a cigarette pack, with a power cable and 2-3 USB or similar outputs. If that is supposed to be the PiTato, presumably they had not yet realized that a 15 w computer would need a cooling fan with a miniature wind tunnel on top. In the last two entries, the manufacturers (not the device owners!) would be rewarded with the 25% slice of the BTC mined by those embedded chips. As an example, the slides say that a manufacturer who produced one quarter of the embedded BitSplits would get the 25% cut on the BTC yield of those chips, that was estimated to be between 2 and 4 million dollars per year of revenue in 2015--2018. Those numbers are based on the following predicted mean BTC prices: $350 for 2015, $1000 for 2016, $2200 for 2017, and $5500 for 2018.
New people please read this. [upvote for visibility please]
I am seeing too many new people come and and getting confused. Litecoin wiki isn't the greatest when it comes to summing up things so I will try to do things as best as I can. I will attempt to explain from what I have learned and answer some questions. Hopefully people smarter than me will also chime in. I will keep this post updated as much as I can. Preface Litecoin is a type to electronic currency. It is just like Bitcoin but it there are differences. Difference explained here. If you are starting to mine now chances are that you have missed the Bitcoin mining train. If you really want your time and processing power to not go to waste you should mine LTC because the access to BTC from there is much easier. Mining. What is it? Let's get this straight. When making any financial commitment to this be prepared to do it with "throw away" money. Mining is all about the hashrate and is measured in KH/s (KiloHash/sec). Unlike the powerful ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) that are used to mine bitcoins using hashrates in the GH/s and even TH/s, litecoin mining has only been able to achieve at the very best MH/s. I think the highest I've seen is 130 MH/s so far. Which leads us to our next section. Mining Hardware While CPU mining is still a thing it is not as powerful as GPU mining. Your laptop might be able to get 1 a month. However, I encourage you to consult this list first. List of hardware comparison You will find the highest of processors can maybe pull 100 KH/s and if we put this into a litecoin mining calculator it doesn't give us much. Another reason why you don't want to mine with your CPU is pretty simple. You are going to destroy it. So this leaves us with GPUs. Over the past few months (and years) the HD 7950 has been the favourite because it drains less power and has a pretty good hashrate. But recently the introduction of the R9 290 (not the x) has changed the game a bit. People are getting 850 KH/s - 900 KH/s with that card. It's crazy. Should I mine? Honestly given the current difficulty you can make a solid rig for about $1100 with a hashrate of 1700 KH/s which would give you your investment back in about a month and a half. I am sure people out there can create something for much cheaper. Here is a good example of a setup as suggested by dystopiats PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.
Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-29 00:52 EST-0500
Estimated Hashrate (with GPU overclocking) : 1900 KH/s Hardware Fundamentals CPU - Do you need a powerful CPU? No but make sure it is a decent one. AMD CPUs are cheap to buy right now with tons of power. Feel free to use a Sempron or Celeron depending on what Motherboard you go with. RAM - Try to get at least 4 GB so as to not run into any trouble. Memory is cheap these days. I am saying 4 GB only because of Windoze. If you are plan to run this on Linux you can even get away with less memory. HDD Any good ol 7200 RPM hard drive will do. Make sure it is appropriate. No point in buying a 1TB hard drive. Since, this is a newbie's guide I assumed most won't know how to run linux, but incase you do you can get a USB flash drive and run linux from it thus removing the need for hard drive all toghether. (thanks dystopiats) GPU - Consult the list of hardware of hardware I posted above. Make sure you consider the KH/s/W ratio. To me the 290 is the best option but you can skimp down to 7950 if you like. PSU - THIS IS BLOODY IMPORTANT. Most modern GPUs are power hungry so please make sure you are well within the limits of your power consumption. MOTHERBOARD - Ok, so a pretty popular board right now is Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 and the ASRock 970 Extreme4. Some people are even going for Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 and even the mighty Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7 because it has more PCI-E slots. 6 to be exact. However you may not need that much. With risers you can get more shoved into less. PCI-E RISERS - These are called risers. They come in x16 to x16 and x1 to x16 connections. Here is the general rule of thumb. This is very important. Always get a POWERED riser otherwise you will burn a hole in your MoBo. A powered rise as a molex connector so that additional power from PSU can be supplied. When it comes to hardware I've provided the most basic knowledge you need. Also, take a look at cryptobader's website. This is very helpful. Please visit the mining section of Litecoin Forums and the litecoinmining subreddit for more indepth info. Mining Software Now that you have assembled your hardware now you need to get into a pool. But before you do that you need a mining software. There are many different ones but the one that is most popular is cgminer. Download it and make sure you read the README. It is a very robust piece of software. Please read this if you want to know more. (thanks BalzOnYer4Head) Mining Pools Now that your hardware and software is ready. I know nothing about solo mining other than the fact that you have to be very lucky and respectable amount of hashing power to decrypt a block. So it is better to join pools. I have been pool hopping for a bit and really liked give-me-coin previously known to the community as give-me-ltc. They have a nice mobile app and 0% pool fees. This is really a personal preference. Take a look at this list and try some yourself. How do I connect to a pool? Most pools will give you a tutorial on how to but the basics are as follows:
Signup for a pool
Create a worker for your account. Usually one worker per rig (Yes people have multiple rigs) is generally a good idea.
Create a .run file. Open up notepad and type cgminer.exe -o (address_to_the_miningpool:port_number) -u (yourusername.workername) -p (your_worker_password_if_you_made_one). Then File>Save As>runcgminer.run (Make sure the drop down is set to "All Files" and .txt document.) and save in the same folder as cgminer. That's it.
Double click on runcgminer.run (or whatever you named it) and have fun mining.
Mining Profitability This game is not easy. If it was, practically everyone would be doing it. This is strictly a numbers game and there are calculations available that can help you determine your risk on your investments. 4 variables you need to consider when you are starting to mine: Hardware cost: The cost of your physical hardware to run this whole operation. Power: Measured in $/KwH is also known as the operating cost. Difficulty rate: To put it in layman's terms the increase in difficulty is inversely proportional to amount of coin you can mine. The harder the difficulty the harder it is to mine coin. Right now difficulty is rising at about 18% per 3 days. This can and will change since all you miners are soon going to jump on the band wagon. Your sanity: I am not going to tell you to keep calm and chive on because quiet frankly that is stupid. What I will tell you not to get too carried away. You will pull you hair out. Seriously. Next thing you will need is a simple tool. A mining profitability calculator. I have two favourite ones. coinwarz I like this one cause it is simple. The fields are self explanatory. Try it. bitcoinwisdom I like this one because it is a more real life scenario calculator and more complicated one (not really). It also takes increasing difficulty into account. Please note: This is the absolute basic info you need. If you have more questions feel free to ask and or google it! More Below.
So you’ve got your miner working, busy hashing away … but what is it really doing?
Posted for eternity @ https://vertcoin.easymine.online/articles/mining Your miner is repeatedly hashing (see below for detail about a hash) a block of data, looking for a resulting output that is lower than a predetermined target. Each time this calculation is performed, one of the fields in the input data is changed, and this results in a different output. The output is not able to be determined until the work is completed – otherwise why would we bother doing the work in the first place? Each hash takes a block header (see more below, but basically this is a 80-byte block of data). It runs this through the hashing function, and what comes out is a 32-byte output. For each, we usually represent that output in hexadecimal format, so it looks something like:
The goal in Proof-of-Work systems is to look for a hash that is lower than a specific target, i.e. starts with a specific number of leading zeros. This target is what determines the difficulty. As the output of the hash is indeterminate, we look to statistics and probability to estimate how much work (i.e. attempts at hashing) we need to complete to find a hash that is lower than a specific target. So, we can therefore assume that to find a hash that starts with a leading zero will take, on average, 16 hashes. To find one that will start with two leading zeros (00), we’re looking at 256 hashes. Four leading zeros (0000) will take 65,536 hashes. Eight leading zeros (00000000) takes 4,294,967,296 hashes. So on and so on, until we realize that it will take 2 ^ 256 (a number too big for me to show here) attempts at hitting our minimum hash value. Remember – this number of hashes is just an estimate. Think of it like rolling a dice. A 16-sided dice. And then rolling it 64 times in a row. And hoping to strike a specific number of leading zeros. Sometimes it will take far less than the estimate, sometimes it will take far more. Over a long enough time period though (with our dice it may take many billions of years), the averages hold true. Difficulty is a measure used in cryptocurrencies to simply show how much work is needed to find a specific block. A block of difficulty 1 must have a hash smaller than:
So the higher the difficulty, the lower the hash must be; therefore more work must be completed to find the block. Take a recent Vertcoin block – block # 852545, difficulty 41878.60056944499. This required a hash lower than:
The achieve finding this, a single miner would need to have completed, on average 179,867,219,848,013 hashes (calculated by taking the number of hashes needed for a difficulty 1 block - 4,294,967,296 or 2 ^ 32 or 16 ^ 8 – and multiplied by the difficulty). Of course, our single miner may have found this sooner – or later – than predicted. Cryptocurrencies alter the required difficulty on a regular basis (some like Vertcoin do it after every block, others like Bitcoin or Litecoin do it every 2016 blocks), to ensure the correct number of blocks are found per day. As the hash rate of miners increases, so does the difficulty to ensure this average time between blocks remains the same. Likewise, as hash rate decreases, the difficulty decreases. With difficulties as high as the above example, solo-mining (mining by yourself, not in a pool) becomes a very difficult task. Assume our miner can produce 100 MH/s. Plugging in this into the numbers above, we can see it’s going to take him (on average) 1,798,673 seconds of hashing to find a hash lower than the target – that’s just short of 21 days. But, if his luck is down, it could easily take twice that long. Or, if he’s lucky, half that time. So, assuming he hit’s the average, for his 21 days mining he has earned 25 VTC. Lets take another look at the same miner, but this time he’s going to join a pool, where he is working with a stack of other miners looking for that elusive hash. Assume the pool he has joined does 50 GH/s – in that case he has 0.1 / 50 or 0.2% of the pool’s hash rate. So for any blocks the pool finds he should earn 0.2% of 25 VTC = 0.05 VTC. At 50 GH/s, the pool should expect to spend 3,597 seconds between finding blocks (2 ^ 32 * difficulty / hashrate). So about every hour, our miner can expect to earn 0.05 VTC. This works out to be about 1.2 VTC per day, and when we extrapolate over the estimated 21 days of solo mining above, we’re back to 25 VTC. The beauty of pooled-mining over solo-mining is that the time between blocks, whilst they can vary, should be closer to the predicted / estimated times over a shorter time period. The same applies when comparing pools – pools with a smaller hash rate will experience a greater variance in time between blocks than a pool with a greater hash rate. But in the end, looking back over a longer period of time, earnings will be the same. Hashes A Hash is a cryptographic function that can take an arbitrary sized block of data and maps it to a fixed sized output. It is a one-way function – only knowing the input data can one calculate the output; the reverse action is impossible. Also, small changes to the input data usually result in significant changes to the output value. For example, take the following string:
“the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”
If we perform a SHA256 hash of this, it results in:
Blocks A block is made up of a header, and at least one transaction. The first transaction in the block is called the Coinbase transaction – it is the transactions that creates new coins, and it specifies the addresses that those coins go to. The Coinbase transaction is always the first transaction in a block, and there can only be one. All other transactions included in a block are transactions that send coins from one wallet address to another. The block header is an 80-byte block of data that is made up of the following information in this order:
Version – a 32-bit/4-byte integer
Previous Block’s SHA256d Hash – 32 bytes
Merkle Hash of the Transactions – 32 bytes
Timestamp - a 32-bit/4-byte integer the represents the time of the block in seconds past 1st January 1970 00:00 UTC
nBits - a 32-bit/4-byte integer that represents the maximum value of the hash of the block
Nonce - a 32-bit/4-byte integer
The Version of a block remains relatively static through a coin’s lifetime – most blocks will have the same version. Typically only used to introduce new features or enforce new rules – for instance Segwit adoption is enforced by encoding information into the Version field. The Previous Blocks’ Hash is simple a doubled SHA256 hash of the last valid blocks header. The Merkle Hash is a hash generated by chaining all of the transactions together in a hash tree – thus ensuring that once a transaction is included in a block, it cannot be changed. It becomes a permanent record in the blockchain. Timestamp loosely represents the time the block was generated – it does not have to be exact, anywhere within an hour each way of the real time will be accepted. nBits – this is the maximum hash that this block must have in order to be considered valid. Bitcoin encodes the maximum hash into a 4-byte value as this is more efficient and provides sufficient accuracy. Nonce – a simple 4-byte integer value that is incremented by a miner in order to find a resulting hash that is lower than that specified by nBits.
Thinking of ordering an ASIC? There is most likely nothing you can order right now that will earn you more BTC than you can buy right now. In fact, there is not really anything you can order right now that will ROI, even using generous figures.
Disclaimer: I am a miner and have ASICs, so there is a conflict of interest in posting this. But I'm not just trying to talk potential competition out of mining. If you think you'd enjoy it and aren't driven solely by making a profit, I've always recommended it when asked. Disclaimer 2: You will likely see much better ROI on buying Bitcoins than mining them. Some already understand this and want to mine anyway, and I am one of those (although I had bought coins along with ordering ASICs). I'm sure this point will be echoed repeatedly. Disclaimer 3: This is based on the mining calculator and ASIC info currently listed on TGB (using default 117% monthly increase in difficulty). This is only a guess based on past performance, which many consider to be too low of a guess. But for the sake of this post, I'd rather take a conservative (low) guess to present a best-case scenario. Disclaimer 4: I'm tired. I apologize for the disclaimers, but I've used reddit enough to know I need to qualify every sentence before I write it. After receiving the ASICs I ordered 7+ months ago, I wanted to compare my investment with the new miners that have appeared since I ordered. It turns out that anything you were to order right now will most likely lose money, it's just a matter of how much you want to lose. If anything is incorrect here feel free to prove otherwise. I'd appreciate any corrections. My reason for posting is because I was honestly surprised by what I found, but maybe my math is wrong or maybe TGB's data is wrong. The lowest cost-per-Gh/s available to pre-order right now is $3, but those miners won't be shipping until January 2014 (Cointerra). The next option would be $4 shipping in December (Bitmine). Even at these low prices-per-Gh/s, that is too late. The lowest cost-per-Gh/s shipping in November is $9.10 (KnC) but even if you start mining November 1st, that is not enough. This is all assuming these companies ship and ship on time. KnC has started shipping, but if you were to order today you definitely won't be mining all of November. Take these figures with a grain of salt. You'll want to make your own calculations before making any investment decision, but these are rough estimates.
If you start mining at the beginning of November, you'll need to have paid less than $8/Gh/s to see ROI (less than 0.15 BTC profit).
If you start mining at the beginning of December, you'll need to have paid less than $3/Gh/s to see ROI (less than 0.4 BTC profit).
If you start mining at the beginning of January, you'll need to have paid less than $1/Gh/s to see ROI (less than 0.4 BTC profit).
These calculations are based on a 100Gh/s miner running at 50W (0.5W/Gh which is below what any listed miner is capable of achieving: lowest is 0.6W/Gh). If you scale it up to a 1Th/s miner running at 500W, you get about $0.60 extra to spend per Gh/s and still get the same ROI. So unless you have free electricity or you're an Electrical Engineer that dabbles in the black arts, your ROI will be even less likely. This is also using a $0.10/kWh rate, which I think is also low for many people. There are a lot of variables here, so this is in no way a guaranteed outcome. To determine ROI I used BTC instead of USD, so the future price of Bitcoin is not a factor here. If you're buying a miner in USD (or other fiat) and are basing ROI on that same currency, then the future BTC price when you sell your mined coins would matter. This also doesn't account for "miner protection plans" which we have yet to see in action so it's difficult to say how well they'll work. The way I personally look at it: most hobbies don't ROI and if you think mining is valid hobby and can take a loss then go for it. There can be more to mining than "plugging it in and watching it" as is usually the argument of people who don't mine. Again, please feel free to correct any mistakes. It's very late here and I did this quickly. This is as much of a question asking if my thinking is correct as it is a notice to potential ASIC buyers. I'll edit this post as necessary. TL;DR - If profit is your only goal, don't buy an ASIC right now.
I'm trying to estimate the amount of electricity used by Bitcoin miners. Is my approach accurate?
According to https://bitcoinwisdom.com/bitcoin/difficulty the total hashrate of the network is 37,498,417,926 GH/s which is 37,498,417.926 TH/s. To get an estimate of the amount of miners on the network, I am using the Antminer S9 as the baseline. So with 13.5 TH/s for each Antminer S9, we can guess the amount of Antminer S9s on the network to be 37,498,417.926 / 13.5 = 2,777,660 Antminers on the network Each Antminer has power consumption of 1310W. When I put that into https://www.rapidtables.com/calc/electric/energy-consumption-calculator.html I get 8.73296e+7 KWh/day Does this seem right? I also need to consider adding the energy spent on cooling, but I'm trying to get the base down first.
Has the Bitcoin Hash Rate Peaked? Comparisons with Oil Show Interesting Findings
https://preview.redd.it/85lpl2md4e221.png?width=690&format=png&auto=webp&s=2d3bab69f0570a96f55d790d25f1b1ab08c0a49b https://cryptoiq.co/the-bitcoin-mining-hash-rate-has-similarities-to-peak-oil/ The Bitcoin mining hash rate had been exponentially increasing on average since the genesis block in 2009, from MH/s, to GH/s, to TH/s, to PH/s, to EH/s, and it reached an all-time record high of 62 EH/s on 26 August 2018. Since this peak was reached, the Bitcoin mining hash rate gradually plateaued and has now decreased. The chart of Bitcoin mining hash rate actually looks quite similar to a peak oil chart except on a much faster time-scale, as can be seen in the comparison between Bitcoin’s hash rate over the course of 2 years from Blockchain.com and North Sea oil production from an article in The Oil Drum: Europe by Euan Mearns. As explained below, the dynamics between peak oil and peak Bitcoin mining are similar, with the key difference that Bitcoin mining is decentralized and oil is not. https://preview.redd.it/op5ept1g4e221.png?width=512&format=png&auto=webp&s=2b3b35eb631f31a64ed7beb01f283832bd231e4c https://preview.redd.it/nfyhlf4h4e221.png?width=678&format=png&auto=webp&s=46a0ca7e11f274c5678f6421b1eebb788eab5197 Geologist M. King Hubbert is the founder of the peak oil theory, which states that there is a point when the maximum extraction rate of petroleum is reached, after which a terminal decline in production ensues. The peak rate of extraction of Bitcoin of course occurred during the period after the genesis block and before the first block halving, when the block reward was at its maximum of 50 Bitcoins. However, this is not the peak rate of mining profitability, since Bitcoin increased in price by orders of magnitude through the year 2017. The peak rate of Bitcoin mining profits undoubtedly was simultaneous with Bitcoin’s all-time record high of USD 20,000 in December 2017. The reason the peak hash rate did not coincide with the peak rate of Bitcoin mining profits is because the rally happened so quickly that mining operations were not able to add rigs fast enough, so there was a lag effect. Even for mining operations with large amounts of capital it can take months to obtain the amount of mining equipment that they want, and for other mining operations it took even longer because they had to obtain investors, buy land, build infrastructure, and only then could they install the rigs and begin hashing. The Bitcoin mining hash rate chart implicitly indicates that 30 EH/s of Bitcoin mining equipment has been taken offline due to lack of profitability, which represents tens of billions of USD of wasted rigs. This suggests that Bitcoin miners were caught by surprise by the decline in Bitcoin’s price from USD 20,000 to less than USD 4,000 as of 4 December 2018. Coming back to the peak oil comparison, the current Bitcoin mining scene is like a rapid version of peak oil, combined with lack of coordination. Oil mining is a centralized and coordinated activity, where the oil is prospected, land is leased out and then an appropriate number of wells are drilled. With oil mining, companies cannot drill as many wells as they want, or drill wells on someone else’s lease, since this is all closely controlled by contractual agreements. Bitcoin mining is decentralized, and no one has a lease or contract to only mine with a certain amount of hash rate. Anyone in the world can run as much Bitcoin mining rigs as they can afford. The effect is that people all around the world are sticking their straws into the Bitcoin mining network all at the same time, and they sucked it dry. Essentially, so many people started up new mining operations at once without coordination, that the Bitcoin mining hash rate went way past its equilibrium, which hurt everyone involved. This is akin to if oil drilling was a decentralized process, and anyone who wanted to drill for oil could drill in the same field. The oil field would be sucked dry really quick, and then most of the drills would be shut down due to lack of profits. There is hope for Bitcoin miners however. The price of Bitcoin simply has to rally, and all of the disenfranchised miners could restart their rigs, and then it would be back to the races and new rigs could begin being added. However, due to the decentralization of Bitcoin mining, the network hash rate will likely periodically rise past its equilibrium point, leading to catastrophic conditions for miners like we are experiencing today at points in the future. The only thing that could prevent the scenario we are experiencing today is a Bitcoin rally that lasts forever, which is obviously not possible. James McAvity tweeted that Bitcoin mining is still profitable in the current environment, and does some simple linear calculations to prove this point. He also argues that miners are forced to keep mining due to business agreements, choose to HODL in expectation of a rally, and continue mining in expectation of a downward difficulty adjustment as other miners go offline. https://twitter.com/jamesmcavity/status/1069669073552736256 Some of what McAvity says is true, but the reality is that Bitcoin mining is a highly non-linear system, and calculating the support level for mining is somewhat pointless, since it is different for every miner. Bitcoin mining profitability depends on Bitcoin’s price, the Bitcoin network hash rate which is directly correlated to mining difficulty, and the technological efficiency of Bitcoin mining rigs. These 3 factors are related in a non-linear and ever-changing way. Instead of trudging away at trying to develop a set of equations that determine mining hash rate behavior, one could simply look at the Bitcoin mining hash rate chart at the beginning of this article to understand what is going on. Bitcoin mining profitability is different for each individual miner, and the hash rate has trended downwards as individual miners have made the decision to shut down rigs. Clearly there was a fundamental mining profitability support level in the USD 6,000-7,000 range, since that is where Bitcoin’s price was when mining peaked and plateaued. There are clearly numerous miners who became unprofitable on the descent from that level to less than USD 4,000 today, and now approximately 50% of the Bitcoin mining equipment that exists cannot profitably mine. The decrease in Bitcoin’s mining difficulty of 15% on 3 December 2018 could help bring some of those miners back online, at least if the price stays at current levels around USD 4,000, but this will not change the overall trend. When it comes down to it, Bitcoin’s price is in control of Bitcoin mining profitability, and if the price goes up we could see a reversal of the hash rate downtrend and eventually a 2nd peak in Bitcoin’s network hash rate. However, if price continues to go down, the Bitcoin mining hash rate chart will follow a similar pattern to peak oil charts. The reality will likely be a combination of both. Bitcoin bear markets tend to last years, and get more severe, but eventually the rally comes and then Bitcoin exceeds its all-time record high. This would lead to a steady decrease in Bitcoin’s mining hash rate like the peak oil chart, followed by a rapid re-engagement of old mining rigs that have been taken offline, and then the addition of new generation Bitcoin mining rigs once the equilibrium hash rate exceeds 60 EH/s.
Bitcoin Tax Attorney here. I am around for discussion or questions related to Bitcoin Tax treatment, including tax planning opportunities for businesses and individuals.
Anyone have issues with their tax returns due to lots of Bitcoin usage or from the sale and disposition of Bitcoin? Anyone looking for any tax favorable planning opportunities? Either as an individual who sold a bunch for profit or for a business who has begun accepting Bitcoin for the first time. My practice has focused on helping both individuals and businesses for Bitcoin tax related matters for much of this year. I am available for discussion here in the comments, and for more specific matters, please PM me. I'm a tax attorney based in Los Angeles and big bitcoin fan and miner going way back. I've been lurking hear on bitcoin for years. I was a miner back in 2011-2013, build my own custom rigs with 6 Radeon 7970s. Then I was among the first to receive a couple of BFL's 5 gh/s cubes and then one of the first 50 Gh/s. (I knew that was a lawsuit waiting to happen against BFL. Scoundrels) Good memories all around. I still have my spreadsheets keeping track of what I mined. Altogether, with the pools, I mined over 100 bitcoin. Alas, I sold many of them when the price was $300 or less. All this time I was focusing on tax law, finishing Tax LLM courses in Los Angeles. So, it was inevitable that the two interests would merge. I ended up writing a proposal to treat Bitcoin as currency as opposed to property. Here is a link to my paper on this which Tax Notes published as their cover story a few months back, which was completely unexpected but kinda cool to see this niche interest rewarded. Paper: "Bitcoin: Property or Currency?" http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2708188 Got to go on a State Bar Delegation to DC to enlighten folks with the power to actually do something about it. Delegation met with IRS Chief Counsel, including people who drafted the Notice treating Bitcoin as property. Also folks from Treasury Dept, Senate Finance Committee, House Ways & Means, etc. I urged for currency treatment (as opposed to property treatment) of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, in fact anything built on the basis of the Blockchain meant as a mode to transact money. If any of you guys had to do your taxes this year, and have bought and spent a lot of Bitcoin, or even just mined and sold, you probably know some of the difficulties I'm alluding to without even mentioning. Should we really have to calculate capital gains/loss on the purchase of a cup of coffee at your neighborhood cryptocurrency friendly coffee shop, for example? Even with purchases at Overstock.com or Dell, you were technically supposed to calculate capital gains and losses and provide supporting backup on your tax returns this year. What a practical and administrative nightmare for both taxpayers and for the IRS who has to wade through this. I feel like some of what I wrote got through to them. As we all know, government lags far behind emerging technologies. But they did seem genuinely interested, and I do not believe my paper and proposal fell upon deaf ears. I have my own law office these days and work with or for many attorneys on various matters, just as I have a number of attorneys assist me. No such thing as a pure solo practitioner these days. No man can afford to be an island. This tax year has been very rewarding and helped a great many tax clients with Bitcoin issues from anything to bookkeeping to strategic planning for the short-term as well as long-term. Any accountant knows the terms LIFO and FIFO, but there's seemingly no hard and fast rules for measurement for when a particular bitcoin was bought and sold for purposes of calculating gains/losses. Also, no hard and fast rules as to where the particular market price of Bitcoin is found on a particular day. Everything is loose, open to interpretation by the tax payer, and with strategic guidance, can prove incredibly tax favorable ultimately. It is wise for a business to accept Bitcoin for many reasons, including that broad opportunity for interpretation while staying true to the property guidance. So, it is ultimately very taxpayer friendly due to this broad leeway. More than that, treating bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as property rather than currency is also taxpayer friendly by definition. Your bitcoin gains will only be taxed at your capital gains rate instead of as ordinary income, a higher rate. I assisted a lot of individuals and even businesses who accepted bitcoin for the first time this year. I intended to post on /bitcoin before to offer my services and to also just allow people to send me questions, which I am happy to discuss in private for free. I got pretty slammed up to tax day, but I'm free now. Just hit me up by private message or shoot me an email at thebitcoinlawyer at g mail. Any questions or thoughts, I'll be around. I'm often around /bitcoin anyway. Love this community. And if I can serve as help for any of you, all the better. Thanks. TL;DR Bitcoin Tax Attorney available for discussion on tax issues here in comments, or for more personalized issues, hit me up by PM
New Miners: it's NOT profitable to build a rig today -- a more realistic calculator
Every day on the bitcoin irc channels, I hear people talk about the profitability of mining according to some calculator. Lets face it: The easy money came and went a couple months ago and the gold rush is over. I hate to see people deluded by false information, because of calculators that don't take into account the rising difficulty. Here's a more realistic calculator for 1 GH/s if someone were to build a mining rig today, and the price remained constant. It accounts for a 25% difficulty increase each period, which is reasonable. Link: A More Realistic Mining Calculator Don't enable "Predict exchange rate", because that part is seriously flawed. So please, save your money. Don't throw it away on a rig that probably won't be able to recuperate its original value.
Where is the network difficulty headed, come November?
Reposted for accuracy. (Read: My math skills are the result of public education.) KNCMiner announced today that they're doing encapsulation on their new Scrypt ASIC chips, and then when they're completed, will be shipping to Stockholm for integration and testing, buildout and finally...shipping! I have read on forums that they have sold 3,000 Titans via pre-order, for batch 1, at 250MH/s nominal performance, each. I figured it was time to look at my "hashrate/difficulty prediction" again and see where it may actually be, by the time the snow's falling. All of the below is calculated with a Litecoin price of around $5. Let's assume for a moment that both Alpha Technology and Mining ASICs Technologies have also sold around 3,000 systems on pre-order (probably a safe bet) and all three expect to ship in September-October. 9,000 systems @ 250MH/s = 2,250,000MH/s. That's somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.25 TH/s being added to the network in roughly two months' time...that we can account for. The current network hashrate, as I post this? Not quite 1 TH/s...it's 896 GH/s. But at the current rate of network expansion, we're going to be 1 TH/s by the time these systems ship, easily. So...let's say we're looking at a 3.5 TH/s Litecoin network by November. What does that mean? When the Bitcoin network hit 3.5 TH/s back in May of 2011, the difficulty was around 244,000. Litecoin's difficulty is currently around 28,000. You can probably see where this is going, already. Fun with mining calculators time. Say you have one 250MH/s miner and deployed it TODAY (impossible, but for the sake of argument). You're looking at pulling in 9 LTC/day with it. If you pay $.10/kwh you're very lucky not to live in California, but we'll say that's the case. You pay around $4.50/day in power. So you walk away with $42.50 worth of Litecoin, at $5/each. If you somehow managed to freeze the network at that difficulty and the coin at that price, you'd pay off your $9,200 purchase of hardware in roughly seven months or so...or if you bought a Titan at $10,000 you're looking closer to eight. But since difficulty marches on, forget that entire concept. Now...say you get your system after all three companies have shipped and their customers have deployed them, and we've seen the network rocked to the tune of two-and-a-quarter terahashes per second. Oh, it's a rosy picture... Now, with the network difficulty having blown up to 244,000 the miner with a 250MH/s system is mining 1.03 Litecoin per day. And if my estimates are correct...this is NOVEMBER, we're talking about. At the current price of $5/LTC and $.10/kwh you are pulling down a healthy $0.80/day in profits, after power. If you again had the power to freeze the hashrate and price, you'd be able to pay off that hardware purchase in, oh...roughly 35 years. To have a REASONABLE shot at getting a return on your investment (around 5-6 months), Litecoin will need to be $70 by November and climbing steadily, in concert with network hashrate. Bear in mind, again that there is nowhere else for that hashrate to go but Litecoin. Nothing else will profit the Scrypt miner. So what will happen? There is built-in hardware cost here that has to be recouped and the only real way of doing that is by mining...and there's only one game in town for Scrypt mining: Litecoin. It's going to be a really, really wild fourth quarter for this year. Either the miners mine and hoard, decreasing supply and demand increases radically, or miners take heavy losses on hardware, can't afford to run them and the Litecoin network contracts until they CAN make money with them. In the interests of self-preservation, I have a feeling miners will start hoarding. Soon.
Bitcoin "difficulty" already gone from 8.000.000 to 10.076.292 in a few days, how will asic mining effect "difficulty" in the coming months?
Not completely sure how the bitcoin algorithm work, but from what I understand the more computing power you throw into the system, the higher the "Difficulty Factor". And with a higher Difficulty Factor it becomes less profitable to mine bitcoins. In just a few days I see that the Difficulty Factor has increased quite fast, meaning a week ago with a 5gh/s setup you would mine 9.45 BTC a month, while now, with the same amount of computing power you would only get 7.59 BTC a month.. Assuming what I said here is correct, again, not an expert. One day I'll look into the source code and learn more about it. Anyway. What are the predictions of the Difficulty Factor the next coming months with butterfly labs and other shipping hundreds of components capable of producing 50 GH/s.. My prediction is that GPU mining will die out as the difficulty level increases dramatically. How much I have no idea, but while a 5 GH/s setup gives a lot of BTC now, it might just produce a few cents in two months.. What are your predictions?
At what price will Bitcoin fail to function? My estimate: ~$100.
I'll begin with my conclusions: If the Bitcoin network consisted solely of 'Titanium ASIC' miners, the most powerful and energy efficient mining machine I know of, then the price point at which electricity costs begins to exceed rewards is $71/BTC (based on yesterday's network figures; more on that later). More realistically though, most miners aren't running highly efficient Titanium ASICs, hence I estimate ~$100/BTC as the turning point. I say 'fail to function' in my title, because who will continue to mine at a pure loss? It would be irrational - the rational action would be turn off the machine until the value of the rewards increases. Note: This is not the same as sunk costs in buying hardware - because in that case even if you never get back how much you paid, you're still making something. Perhaps, you might counter, Bitcoin enthusiasts will continue to mine at a loss. Well consider this: To sustain just 1% of the current network hash rate, you would require 559 Titanium ASICs costing over one million dollars in yearly electricity cost (at $0.10/kWh) - and that's a best case scenario. Let's assume that's the case - you have Bitcoin Enthusiasts contributing the equivalent of 559 Titanium ASICs hashing power for free out of their pocket. That's a 99% drop in hash rate. The time to a difficulty retarget is 2016 blocks, or at 10minutes/block that's 2 weeks. But if the hash rate were to drop by 99% within that two week period, then the block time would balloon out to 16.66 hours - making the block retarget ETA up to 3.8 years! If transactions took 16.66 hours just to get a single confirmation (if they had first priority), then how would use of Bitcoin remain practically feasible? Would people still have confidence in the system and the developers for allowing this to happen? How difficult or costly would it be to launch a 51% attack? Now, on to the calculations, and a few less optimistic alternate scenarios: Network hash rate at time of calculation: 335,365,290.09 GH/s 335,365,290.09 GH/s / 6000GH/s = 55894.215 'Titanium ASIC' miners 55894.215 x $5.28 daily electricity cost (At $0.10/kWh) = $295121.4552/day in electricity costs = $1776.87709485/block (avg. time of 8.67 minutes) $1776.87709485 / 25BTC block reward = $71.04/BTC = break even point. The above does not account for pool fees or transaction fee revenue or more importantly variance in kWh rates ($0.10/kWh is nonetheless pretty low worldwide), and hardware cost is irrelevant to this calculation. Without doing all the math again, here's some other popular mining machines for comparison: $113.07 (SP35 Yukon) $193.84 (CoinTerra TerraMiner IV) $385.89 (Antminer S1) I've also just seen the 'Antminer S4' mentioned in /Bitcoin, so just for comparison a Titanium ASIC is almost twice as energy efficient as an Antiminer S4 (2200W vs. 4200W for 6TH/s) - it's less efficient than the SP35 Yukon. If I've made any miscalculations here or have left anything important out, feel free to correct me.
Ever wonder what those numbers mean? The relationship between difficulty, shares, hashrate, etc. explained.
After being confused for a long time myself, I went and crunched some figures, and found out where all those numbers came from. To save fellow shibes from having to do the same, I'm making this guide. First of all, what is difficulty? It is a number d such that the expected number of hashes required to find a block is d * 232. That is to say, the individual probability of each hash finding a block is 1 / (d * 232 ). (You can read up on how a geometric distribution based on a Bernoulli random variable of probability p has a mean of 1/p.) So if the difficulty is 1, then a valid hash would require 32 binary zeros at the beginning (usually represented as 8 zeros in hex). If the difficulty is 1024, then 32 + 10 = 42 binary zeros are required. For a difficulty that's not a power of two, you're going to have an odd mix (e.g. the first digits of the hex must be less than 000000000c8.) Now how is difficulty calculated? For Dogecoin, difficulty is recalibrated every 240 blocks. It is adjusted so that a block would be found every minute, on average. Example: The average hashrate was 100 GH/s over the last 240 blocks. We want a block found every 60 seconds, or every 1011 * 60 = 6 x 1012 hashes. So d = 6 x 1012 / 232 = 1397, and the difficulty will be set to 1397. The pool difficulty (also known as share difficulty) is a closely related concept. It is up to the pool operator, but almost all define it as being difficulty * 216. That is, pool difficulty is a number d' such that the expected number of hashes required to find a share on the pool is d' * 216 (since 32 - 16 = 16). It is basically there for notational convenience, because no one wants to talk about mining at a difficulty of 0.000244 (translated to pool difficulty, that would be 16), just like how people use kilodoge or millibitcoin. What about a share? Pool operators may vary, but usually a share is defined as a valid hash at pool difficulty 16. Pools may set a pool difficulty that everyone mines at, automatically adjust pool difficulty for each individual miner depending on their hashrate (called vardiff), or allow users to set their own difficulty. They might even create different strata with different pool difficulty levels. A share at a higher pool difficulty is harder to find but worth more. Basically, if you're currently mining at pool difficulty 16 and switch to 32, you'll mine shares half as often but every share you mine is worth two shares. (Unfortunately, the definition of "share" appears to be overloaded - it can mean either each thing a miner submits to a pool or its equivalent for a pool difficulty of 16. It's like how a "standard drink" is 0.6 oz alcohol - if you had a 24 oz beer at 5% ABV, you could say you had a drink, but technically you had two drinks in terms of alcohol content.) A round is the period of time since the last block was found by a pool to the next time a block is found by the pool. Round shares are shares (i.e. equivalent shares for difficulty 16) that have been found by pool miners. Estimated shares is an estimate of how many shares it will take for a pool to find a block. This number is the same for each pool regardless of hashrate, and only depends on the current difficulty. It is equal to d * 212. Why? Note that a share at pool difficulty 16 is 16 times as difficult as a share at pool difficulty 1, and pool difficulty 1 is 216 times easier than difficulty 1, so the overall effect is 216 / 16. (PPS only: The baseline PPS rate is the amount a miner is paid for each share at difficulty 1; pools PPS rate is the amount a miner is paid for each share at difficulty 16. Pools PPS rate is calculated by dividing the block reward by the estimated shares. So for Dogecoin currently, you divide 500,000 by 5,645,699 to get pools PPS rate 0.088563.) The Bitcoin wiki has a page on difficulty, but it's somewhat technical and doesn't really talk about mining pools, so I created this post because I couldn't find anything better on Google and ended up using a bit of math and common sense to figure these things out. Though I do recommend reading it for the technically inclined. For other things like Prop, PPLNS, PPS, etc. there are many existing well-written resources, so I'm saving my breath. This page lists pretty much every single pool structure you might encounter. PPLNS (basic guide, advanced) is probably the most common but also somewhat difficult to understand.
I did the maths for Antminer S3 Potential earnings and it doesn't look very good.
Antminer S3 Constants- Electric cost: $0 Pool Fee: 0% Hash Rate: 478 Gh/s Per Bitmain 1 BTC: $640.00 Hardware cost: $480.00 (.75BTC) Start date: 7/15/2014 (~soonest reasonable delivery date) Difficulty @ 12% Break even: 78 days, 0.655 BTC ($425.60) mined @ 280 days (~9 months & 10 days) - A total of +0.796BTC ($509.44) over cost will be mined in 3 years & 3 months - 10/31/2017 Difficulty @ 15% Break even: 90 days, 0.402 BTC ($257.28) mined @ 280 days (~9 months & 10 days) - A total of +0.463BTC ($296.32) over cost will be mined in 3 years & 3 months - 10/31/2017 Difficulty @ 18% Break even: 111 days, 0.213 BTC ($136.32) mined @ 280 days (~9 months & 10 days) - A total of +0.242BTC ($154.88) over cost will be mined in 3 years & 3 months - 10/31/2017 Difficulty @ 20% Break even: 135 days, 0.115 BTC ($ 73.60) mined @ 280 days (~9 months & 10 days) - A total of +0.131BTC ($ 83.84) over cost will be mined in 3 years & 3 months - 10/31/2017 Difficulty @ 22% Break even: 191 days, 0.030 BTC ($ 19.20) mined @ 280 days (~9 months & 10 days) - A total of +0.041BTC ($ 26.24) over cost will be mined in 3 years & 3 months - 10/31/2017 Difficulty @ 24% In 280 days still need to mine 0.04109BTC before breaking even, In 1206 days Still need to mine 0.03509BTC before breaking even - 10/31/2017 Ref: https://bitcoinwisdom.com/bitcoin/calculator The only way it would be worth buying an S3 is if you were very optimistic that the difficulty is going to be low over the next 3+ years. Good luck with that. NOTE: All numbers approximate / rounded
https://preview.redd.it/5r9soz2ltq421.jpg?width=268&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6a89685f735b53ec1573eefe08c8646970de8124 What is Bitcoin? Bitcoin is an experimental system of transfer and verification of property based on a network of peer to peer without any central authority. The initial application and the main innovation of the Bitcoin network is a system of digital currency decentralized unit of account is bitcoin. Bitcoin works with software and a protocol that allows participants to issue bitcoins and manage transactions in a collective and automatic way. As a free Protocol (open source), it also allows interoperability of software and services that use it. As a currency bitcoin is both a medium of payment and a store of value. Bitcoin is designed to self-regulate. The limited inflation of the Bitcoin system is distributed homogeneously by computing the network power, and will be limited to 21 million divisible units up to the eighth decimal place. The functioning of the Exchange is secured by a general organization that everyone can examine, because everything is public: the basic protocols, cryptographic algorithms, programs making them operational, the data of accounts and discussions of the developers. The possession of bitcoins is materialized by a sequence of numbers and letters that make up a virtual key allowing the expenditure of bitcoins associated with him on the registry. A person may hold several key compiled in a 'Bitcoin Wallet ', 'Keychain' web, software or hardware which allows access to the network in order to make transactions. Key to check the balance in bitcoins and public keys to receive payments. It contains also (often encrypted way) the private key associated with the public key. These private keys must remain secret, because their owner can spend bitcoins associated with them on the register. All support (keyrings) agrees to maintain the sequence of symbols constituting your keychain: paper, USB, memory stick, etc. With appropriate software, you can manage your assets on your computer or your phone. Bitcoin on an account, to either a holder of bitcoins in has given you, for example in Exchange for property, either go through an Exchange platform that converts conventional currencies in bitcoins, is earned by participating in the operations of collective control of the currency. The sources of Bitcoin codes have been released under an open source license MIT which allows to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the software, subject to insert a copyright notice into all copies. Bitcoin creator, Satoshi Nakamoto What is the Mining of bitcoin? Technical details : During mining, your computer performs cryptographic hashes (two successive SHA256) on what is called a header block. For each new hash, mining software uses a different random number that called Nuncio. According to the content of the block and the nonce value typically used to express the current target. This number is called the difficulty of mining. The difficulty of mining is calculated by comparing how much it is difficult to generate a block compared to the first created block. This means that a difficulty of 70000 is 70000 times more effort that it took to Satoshi Nakamoto to generate the first block. Where mining was much slower and poorly optimized. The difficulty changes each 2016 blocks. The network tries to assign the difficulty in such a way that global computing power takes exactly 14 days to generate 2016 blocks. That's why the difficulty increases along with the power of the network. Material : In the beginning, mining with a processor (CPU) was the only way to undermine bitcoins. (GPU) graphics cards have possibly replaced the CPU due to their nature, which allowed an increase between 50 x to 100 x in computing power by using less electricity by megahash compared to a CPU. Although any modern GPU can be used to make the mining, the brand AMD GPU architecture has proved to be far superior to nVidia to undermine bitcoins and the ATI Radeon HD 5870 card was the most economical for a time. For a more complete list of graphics cards and their performance, see Wiki Bitcoin: comparison of mining equipment In the same way that transition CPU to GPU, the world of mining has evolved into the use of the Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) as a mining platform. Although FPGAs did not offer an increase of 50 x to 100 x speed of calculation as the transition from CPU to GPU, they offered a better energy efficiency. A typical HD/s 600 graphics card consumes about 400w of power, while a typical FPGA device can offer a rate of hash of 826 MH/s to 80w of power consumption, a gain of 5 x more calculations for the same energy power. Since energy efficiency is a key factor in the profitability of mining, it was an important step for the GPU to FPGA migration for many people. The world of the mining of bitcoin is now migrating to the Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). An ASIC is a chip designed specifically to accomplish a single task. Unlike FPGAs, an ASIC is unable to be reprogrammed for other tasks. An ASIC designed to undermine bitcoins cannot and will not do anything else than to undermine bitcoins. The stiffness of an ASIC allows us to offer an increase of 100 x computing power while reducing power consumption compared to all other technologies. For example, a classic device to offer 60 GH/s (1 hashes equals 1000 Megahash. 1GH/s = 1000 Mh/s) while consuming 60w of electricity. Compared to the GPU, it is an increase in computing power of 100 x and a reduction of power consumption by a factor of 7. Unlike the generations of technologies that have preceded the ASIC, ASIC is the "end of the line" when we talk about important technology change. The CPUs have been replaced by the GPUs, themselves replaced by FPGAs that were replaced by ASICs. There is nothing that can replace the ASICs now or in the immediate future. There will be technological refinements in ASIC products, and improvements in energy efficiency, but nothing that may match increased from 50 x to 100 x the computing power or a 7 x reduction in power consumption compared with the previous technology. Which means that the energy efficiency of an ASIC device is the only important factor of all product ASIC, since the estimated lifetime of an ASIC device is superior to the entire history of the mining of bitcoin. It is conceivable that a purchased ASIC device today is still in operation in two years if the unit still offers a profitable enough economic to keep power consumption. The profitability of mining is also determined by the value of bitcoin but in all cases, more a device has a good energy efficiency, it is profitable. Software : There are two ways to make mining: by yourself or as part of a team (a pool). If you are mining for yourself, you must install the Bitcoin software and configure it to JSON-RPC (see: run Bitcoin). The other option is to join a pool. There are multiple available pools. With a pool, the profit generated by any block generated by a member of the team is split between all members of the team. The advantage of joining a team is to increase the frequency and stability of earnings (this is called reduce the variance) but gains will be lower. In the end, you will earn the same amount with the two approaches. Undermine solo allows you to receive earnings huge but very infrequent, while miner with a pool can offer you small stable and steady gains. Once you have your software configured or that you have joined a pool, the next step is to configure the mining software. The software the most populare for ASIC/FPGA/GPU currently is CGminer or a derivative designed specifically for FPGAS and ASICs, BFGMiner. If you want a quick overview of mining without install any software, try Bitcoin Plus, a Bitcoin minor running in your browser with your CPU. It is not profitable to make serious mining, but it is a good demonstration of the principle of the mining team.
Authored by Valentin Schmid via The Epoch Times, While the price of bitcoin drops, miners get more creative... and some flourish. The bitcoin price is crashing; naysayers and doomsayers are having a field day. The demise of the dominant cryptocurrency is finally happening — or is it? Bitcoin has been buried hundreds of times, most notably during the brutal 90 percent decline from 2013 to 2015. And yet it has always made a comeback. Where the skeptics are correct: The second bitcoin bubble burst in December of last year and the price is down roughly 80 percent from its high of $20,000. Nobody knows whether and when it will see these lofty heights again. As a result, millions of speculators have been burned, and big institutions haven’t showed up to bridge the gap. This also happened on a smaller scale in 2013 after a similar 100x run-up, and it was necessary.
Time to Catch Up
What most speculators and even some serious proponents of the independent and decentralized monetary system don’t understand: Bitcoin needs these pauses to make improvements in its infrastructure. Exchanges, which could not handle the trading volumes at the height of the frenzy and did not return customer service inquiries, can take a breather and upgrade their systems and hire capable people. The technology itself needs to make progress and this needs time. Projects like the lightning network, a system which delivers instant bitcoin payments at very little cost and at virtually unlimited scale is now only available to expert programmers. A higher valuation is only justified if these improvements reach the mass market. And since we live in a world where everything financial is tightly regulated, for better or worse, this area also needs to catch up, since regulators are chronically behind the curve of technological progress. And of course, there is bitcoin mining. The vital infrastructure behind securing the bitcoin network and processing its transactions has been concentrated in too few hands and in too few places, most notably China, which still hosts about 70 percent of the mining capacity.
The Case For Mining
Critics have always complained that bitcoin mining consumes “too much” electricity, right now about as much as the Czech Republic. In energy terms this is around 65 terawatt hours or 230,000,000 gigajoules, costing $3.3 billion dollars according to estimates by Digiconomist. For the non-physicists among us, this is around as much as consumed by six million energy-guzzling U.S. households per year. All those estimates are imprecise because the aggregate cannot know how much energy each of the different bitcoin miners consumes and how much that electricity costs. But they are a reasonable rough estimate. So it’s worth exploring why mining is necessary to begin with and whether the electricity consumption is justified. Anything and everything humans do consumes resources. The question then is always: Is it worth it? And: Who decides? This question then leads to the next question: Is it worth having and using money? Most people would argue yes, because using money instead of barter in fact makes economic transactions faster and cheaper and thus saves resources, natural and human. _Merchants exchange goods with the inhabitants of Tidore, Indonesia, circa 1550. Barter was supplanted by using money because it is more efficient. (Archive/Getty Images)_If we are generously inclined, we will grant bitcoin the status of a type of money or at least currency as it meets the general requirements of being recognizable, divisible, portable, durable, is accepted in exchange for other goods and services, and in this case it is even limited in supply. So having any type of money has a price, whether it’s gold, dollar bills, or numbers on the screen of your online banking system. In the case of bitcoin, it’s the electricity and the capital for the computing equipment, as well as the human resources to run these operations. If we think having money in general is a good idea and some people value the decentralized and independent nature of bitcoin then it would be worth paying for verifying transactions on the bitcoin network as well as keeping the network secure and sound: Up until the point where the resources consumed would outweigh the efficiency benefits. Just like most people don’t think it’s a bad idea to use credit cards and banks, which consume electricity too. However, bitcoin is a newcomer and this is why it’s being scrutinized even more so than the old established players.
Different Money, Different Costs
How many people know how much electricity, human lives, and other resources gold mining consumes or has consumed in the course of history? What about the banking system? Branches, servers, air-conditioning, staff? What about printing dollar notes and driving them around in armored trucks? What about the social effects of monetary mismanagement of bank and government money like inflation as well as credit deflations? Gold gets a pass here. Most people haven’t asked that question, which is why it’s worth pointing out the only comprehensive study done on the topic in 2014. In “An Order of Magnitude” the engineer Hass McCook analyzes the different money systems and reaches mind-boggling conclusions. The study is a bit dated and of course the aggregations are also very rough estimates, but the ball park numbers are reasonable and the methodology sound. In fact, according to the study, bitcoin is the most economic of all the different forms of money. Gold mining in 2014 used 475 million GJ, compared to bitcoin’s 230 million in 2018. The banking system in 2014 used 2.3 billion gigajoules. Over 100 people per year die trying to mine gold. But mining costs more than electricity. It consumes around 300,000 liters of water per kilogram of gold mined as well as 150 kilogram (330 pounds) of cyanide and 1500 tons of waste and rubble. The international banking system has been used in all kinds of fraudulent activity throughout history: terrorist financing, money laundering, and every other criminal activity under the sun at a cost of trillions of dollars and at an order of magnitude higher than the same transactions done with cryptocurrency and bitcoin. And of course, while gold has a relatively stable value over time, our bank and government issued money lost about 90 percent of its purchasing power over the last century, because it can be created out of thin air. This leads to inflation and a waste of physical and human resources because it distorts the process of capital allocation. _The dollar has lost more than 90 percent of its value since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. (Source: St. Louis Fed)_This is on top of the hundreds of thousands of bank branches, millions of ATMs and employees which all consume electricity and other resources, 10 times as much electricity alone as the bitcoin network. According to monetary philosopher Saifedean Ammous, author of “The Bitcoin Standard,” the social benefit of hard money, i.e. money that can’t be printed by government decree, cannot even be fathomed; conversely, the true costs of easy money—created by government fiat and bank credit—are difficult to calculate. According to Ammous, bitcoin is the hardest money around, even harder than gold because its total supply is capped, whereas the gold supply keeps increasing at about 1-2 percent every year. “Look at the era of the classical gold standard, from 1871, the end of the Franco–Prussian War, until the beginning of World War I. There’s a reason why this is known as the Golden Era, the Gilded Age, and La Belle Epoque. It was a time of unrivaled human flourishing all over the world. Economic growth was everywhere. Technology was being spread all over the world. Peace and prosperity were increasing everywhere around the world. Technological innovations were advancing. “I think this is no coincidence. What the gold standard allowed people to do is to have a store of value that would maintain its value in the future. And that gave people a low time preference, that gave people the incentive to think of the long term, and that made people want to invest in things that would pay off over the long term … bitcoin is far closer to gold. It is a digital equivalent of gold,” he said in an interview with The Epoch Times. Of course, contrary to the gold standard that Ammous talks about, bitcoin doesn’t have a track record of being sound money in practice. In theory it meets all the criteria, but in the real world it hasn’t been adopted widely and has been so volatile as to be unusable as a reliable store of value or as the underlying currency of a productive lending market. The proponents argue that over time, these problems will be solved the same way gold spread itself throughout the monetary sphere replacing copper and seashells, but even Ammous concedes the process may take decades and the outcome is far from certain. Gold is the safe bet for sound money, bitcoin has potential. There is another measure where bitcoin loses out, according to a recent study by researchers from the Oak Ridge Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the amount of energy expended per dollar for different monetary instruments. One dollar worth of bitcoin costs 17 megajoules to mine versus five for gold and seven for platinum. But the study omits the use of cyanide, water, and other physical resources in mining physical metals. In general, the comparisons in dollar terms go against bitcoin because it is worth relatively less, only $73 billion in total at the time of writing. An issue that could be easily fixed at a higher price, but a higher price is only justified if the infrastructure improves, adoption increases, volatility declines, and the network proves its resilience to attacks over time. In the meantime, market participants still value the fact they can own a currency independent of the government, completely digital, easily fungible, and limited in supply, and relatively decentralized. And the market as a whole is willing to pay a premium for these factors reflected in the higher per dollar prices for mining bitcoin.
The Creativity of Bitcoin Mining
But where bitcoin mining lacks in scale, it makes up for it in creativity. In theory—and in practice—bitcoin mining can be done anywhere where there is cheap electricity. So bitcoin mining operations can be conducted not where people are (banking) or where government is (fiat cash) or where gold is (gold mining)—it can be done everywhere where there is cheap electricity Some miners are flocking to the heat of the Texan desert where gas is virtually available for free, thanks to another oil revolution. Other miners go to places where there is cheap wind, water, or other renewable energy. This is because they don’t have to build bank branches, printing presses, and government buildings, or need to put up excavators and conveyor belts to dig gold out of the ground. All they need is internet access and a home for the computers that look like a shipping container, each one of which has around 200 specialized bitcoin mining computers in them. “The good thing about bitcoin mining is that it doesn’t matter where on earth a transaction happens, we can verify it in our data center here. The miners are part of the decentralized philosophy of bitcoin, it’s completely independent of your location as well,” said Moritz Jäger, chief technology officer at bitcoin Mining company Northern Bitcoin AG.
But so far, this decentralization hasn’t worked out as well as it sounds in theory. Because Chinese local governments had access to subsidized electricity, it was profitable for officials to cut deals with bitcoin mining companies and supply them with cheap electricity in exchange for jobs and cutbacks. Sometimes the prices were as low as 2 dollar cents to 4 dollar cents per kilowatt hour. This is why the majority of bitcoin mining is still concentrated in China (around 70 percent) where it was the most profitable, but only because the Chinese central planners subsidized the price of electricity. This set up led to the by and large unwanted result that the biggest miner of bitcoin, a company called Bitmain, is also the biggest manufacturer of specialized computing equipment for bitcoin mining. The company reported revenues of $2.8 billion for the first half of 2018. Tourists walk on the dunes near a power plant in Xiangshawan Desert in Ordos of Inner Mongolia, in this file photo. bitcoin miners have enjoyed favorable electricity rates in places like Ordos for a long time. (Feng Li/Getty Images)Centralized mining is a problem because whenever there is one player or a conglomerate of players who control more than 50 percent of the network computing power, they could theoretically crash the network by spending the same bitcoin twice, the so called “double spending problem.“ They don’t have an incentive to do so because it would probably ruin the bitcoin price and their business, but it’s better not to have to rely on one group of people controlling an entire money system. After all, we have that exact same system with central banking and bitcoin was set up as a decentralized alternative. So far, no player or conglomerate ever reached that 51 percent threshold, at least not since bitcoin’s very early days, but many market participants always thought Bitmain’s corner of the market is a bit too close for comfort. This favorable environment for Chinese bitcoin mining has been changing with a crack down on local government electricity largess as well as a crackdown on cryptocurrency. Bitcoin itself and mining bitcoin remain legal in China but cryptocurrency exchanges have been banned since late 2017. But more needs to be done for bitcoin to become independent of the caprice of a centralized oppressive regime and local government bureaucrats.
Northern Bitcoin Case Study
Enter Northern Bitcoin AG. The company isn’t the only one which is exploring mining opportunities with renewable energies in locations other than China. But it is special because of the extraordinary set up it has for its operations, the fact that it is listed on the stock exchange in Germany, and the opportunities for scaling it discovered. The operations of Northern Bitcoin combine the beauties of bitcoin and capitalism in one. Like Texas has a lot of oil and free gas and it makes sense to use the gas rather than burn it, Norway has a lot of water, especially water moving down the mountains due to rainfall and melting snow. And it makes sense to use the power of the movement of the water, channel it through pipes into generators to create very cheap and almost unlimited electricity. Norway generates north of 95 percent of its total electricity from hydropower. A waterfall next to a hydropowerplant near Sandane, Norway, Oct. 25, 2018. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)Capitalism does not distinguish between renewable and fossil. It uses what is the most expedient. In this case, it is clearly water in Norway, and gas in Texas. As a side note on the beauties of real capital and the fact that capital and the environment need not be enemies, the water in one of the hydropowerplants close to the Northern Bitcoin facility is piped through a generator made in 1920 by J.M. Voith AG, a company from Heidenheim Germany. The company was established in 1867 and is still around today. The generator was produced in 1920 and is still producing electricity today.
In the remote regions of Northern Norway, there aren’t that many people or industry who would use the electricity. And rather than transport it over hundreds of miles to the industrial centers of Europe, the industries of the future are moving to Norway to the source of the cheap electricity. Of course, it is not just bitcoin mining, but other data and computing heavy operations like server farms for cloud computing that can be neatly packaged into one of those containers and shipped up north. “The containers are beautiful. They are produced in the middle of Germany where the hardware is enabled and tested. Then we put it on a truck and send it up here. When the truck arrives on the outside we lift it on the container vehicle. Two hours after the container arrives, it’s in the container rack. And 40 hours later we enable the cooling, network, power, other systems, and it’s online,” said Mats Andersson, a spokesman for the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway, where Northern Bitcoin has its operations. Plug and play. A Northern Bitcoin data container inside the Lefdal Mine data center, in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)If the cheap electricity wasn’t enough—around 5 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 17 cents in Germany—Norway also provides the perfect storage for these data containers, which are normally racked up in open air parks above the ground. Also here, the resource allocation is beautiful. Instead of occupying otherwise useful and beautiful parcels of land and nature, the Northern Bitcoin containers and others are stored in the old Lefdal olivine mine. Olivine is a mineral used for steel production and looks green. Very fitting. Hence also the name of the data center: Lefdal Mine. “We take the green mineral out and we take the green IT in,” said Andersson.
Using the old mine as storage for the data center makes the whole process even more resource efficient. Why? So far, we’ve only been talking about bitcoin mining using a lot of energy. But what for? Before you have actually seen the process in action—and it is similar for other computing operations—you cannot imagine how bizarre it is. Most of the electricity is used to prevent the computers from overheating. So it’s not even the processors themselves; it’s the fans which cool the computer that use the most juice. This is where the mine helps, because it’s rather cool 160 meters (525 feet) below sea level; certainly cooler than in the Texas desert. But it gets even better. On top of the air blow-cooling the computer, the Lefdal data center uses a fresh water system to pump through the containers in pipes. The fans can then circulate air over the cool pipes which transfer the heat to the water. One can feel the difference when touching the different pipes. The fresh water closed circle loop then completes the “green” or resource efficiency cycle by transferring its heat to ice cold water from the nearby Fjord. The water is sucked in through a pipe from the Fjord, the heat gets transferred without the water being mixed, and the water flows back to the Fjord, without any impact on the environment. To top it all off, the mine has natural physical security far better than open air data centers and is even protected from an electromagnetic pulse blast because it’s underground.
_The Nordfjord near Måløy, Norway. The Lefdal data center takes the cold water from the fjord and uses it to cool the computer inside the mine. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)_Company Dynamics
Given this superlative set up, Northern Bitcoin wants to ramp up production as fast as possible at the Lefdal mine and other similar places in Norway, which have more mountains where data centers can be housed. At the moment, Northern Bitcoin has 15 containers with 210 mining machines each. The 15 containers produce around 5 bitcoin per day at a total cost of around $2,500 dollars at the end of November 2018 and after the difficulty of solving the math problems went down by ~17 percent. Most of it is for electricity; the rest is for leasing the containers, renting the mine space, buying and writing off the mining computers, personnel, overhead, etc. Even at the current relatively depressed prices of around $4000, that’s a profit of $1500 per bitcoin or $7,500 per day. But the goal is to ramp it up to 280 containers until 2019, producing 100 bitcoin per day. Again, the company is in the sweet spot to do this. As opposed to the beginning of the year when one could not procure a mining computer from Bitmain even if one’s life depended on it, the current bear market has made them cheap and relatively available both new and second had from miners who had to cease operations because they can’t produce at low bitcoin prices. Northern Bitcoin containers inside the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)What about the data shipping containers? They are manufactured by a company called Rittal who is the world market leader. So it helps that the owner of Rittal also owns 30 percent of the Lefdal mine, providing preferential access to the containers. Northern Bitcoin said it has enough capital available for the intermediate goal of ramping up to 50 containers until the end of year but may tap the capital markets again for the next step. The company can also take advantage of the lower German corporate tax rate because revenue is only recorded when the bitcoin are sold in Germany, not when they are mined in Norway. Of course, every small-cap stock—especially bitcoin companies—have their peculiarities and very high risks. As an example, Northern Bitcoin’s financial statements, although public, aren’t audited. The equipment in the Lefdal mine in Norway is real and the operations are controlled by the Lefdal personnel, but one has to rely on exclusive information from the company for financials and cost figures, so buyer beware.
Northern Bitcoin wants to have 280 containers, representing around 5 percent of the network’s computing power. But the Lefdal mine alone has a capacity to power and cool 1,500 containers in a 200 megawatt facility, once it is fully built out. “Here you have all the space, power, and cooling that you need. … Here you can grow,” said Lefdal’s Andersson. A mine shaft in the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. The whole mine will have a capacity for 1500 containers once fully built out. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)The Norwegian government was behind an initiative to bring computing power to Norway and make it one of the prime destinations for data centers at the beginning of this decade. To that effect, the local governments own part of the utility companies which operate the power plants and own part of the Lefdal Mine and other locations. But even without notable subsidies (i.e. cash payments to companies), market players were able to figure it out, for everybody’s benefit. The utilities win because they can sell their cheap electricity close to home. The computing companies like IBM and Northern Bitcoin win because they can get cheap electricity, storage, and security. Data center operators like Lefdal win because they can charge rent for otherwise unused and unneeded space. However, in a recent about face, the central government in Oslo has decided to remove cryptocurrency miners from the list of companies which pay a preferential tax rate on electricity consumption. Normally, energy intensive companies, including data centers, pay a preferential tax on electricity consumed of 0.48 øre ($0.00056 ). According to a report by Norwegian media Aftenposten, this tax will rise to 16.58 øre ($0.019) in 2019 for cryptocurrency miners exclusively. The argument by left wing politician Lars Haltbrekken who sponsored the initiative: “Norway cannot continue to provide huge tax incentives for the most dirty form of cryptocurrency output […] [bitcoin] requires a lot of energy and generates large greenhouse gas emissions globally.” Since Norway generates its electricity using hydro, precisely the opposite is true: No greenhouse gas emissions, or any emissions for that matter would be produced, if all cryptomining was done in Norway. As opposed to China, where mining is done with coal and with emissions. But not only in Norway is the share of renewable and emission free energy high. According to research by Coinshares, Bitcoin’s consumes about 77.6 percent of its energy in the form of renewables globally. However self-defeating the arguments against bitcoin mining in Norway, the political initiative is moving forward. What it means for Northern Bitcoin is not clear, as they house their containers in Lefdal’s mixed data center, which also has other clients, like IBM. “It’s not really decided yet; there are still big efforts from IT sectors and parties who are trying to change it. If the decision is taken it might apply for pure crypto sites rather than mixed data centers, like ours,” said Lefdal’s Andersson. Even in the worst-case scenario, it would mean an increase from ~5 cents to ~6.9 cents per kilowatt hour, or 30 percent more paid on the electricity by Northern Bitcoin, which at ~$3250 would still rank it among the most competitive producers in the world. Coinshares estimates the average production price at $6,800 per Bitcoin at $0,05 per kilowatt hour of electricity and an 18-months depreciation schedule, but concedes that a profitable miner could “[depreciate] mining gear over 24-30 months, or [pay] less for mining gear than our estimates.” Jäger says Northern Bitcoin depreciates the equipment over three years and has obtained very favorable prices from Bitmain, making its production much more competitive than the average despite the same cost of electricity. In addition, the natural cooling in the mine also reduces electricity costs overall.
Cheap Producer Advantage
At the moment, however, the tax could be the least of any miners worry, as the bitcoin price is in free-fall. But what happens when the price crashes further? Suffice it to say that there was bitcoin mining when the dollar price was less than 1 cent and there will be bitcoin mining at lower prices thanks to the design of the network. Mao Shixing, the founder of mining pool F2pool estimated 600,000 miners have shut down since the November crash in price, according to a report by Coindesk. As it should be in a competitive system, the most energy intensive and obsolete machines are shut down first. As with every other commodity, when the price drops, some miners will leave the market, leaving space for cheaper competitors to capture a bigger share. But with bitcoin this is a bit simpler than with copper or gold for example. When a big copper player goes bankrupt, its competitors have to ramp up production and increase cost to increase their market share. With bitcoin, if 3,000 computers get taken off the total mining pool, they won’t be able to mine the approximately 5 bitcoin any longer. However, because the difficulty of solving the computationally intensive cryptographic tasks of bitcoin decreases automatically when there are fewer computers engaged in the task, the other players just have to leave their machines running at the same rate for the same cost and they will split the 5 bitcoin among them. “The moment the price goes down, our production price will go down as well,” said Jäger, a process that already happened from November to December when the difficulty decreased twice in November and the beginning of December. This naturally favors players like Northern Bitcoin, which are producing at the lower end of the cost spectrum. They will be the ones who shut down last. And this is a good thing. The more companies like Northern Bitcoin, and countries like Norway—even with the extra tax—the more decentralized the bitcoin system. The more computers there are in different hands mining bitcoin, the more secure the system becomes, because it will be ever more difficult for one player to reach the 50 percent threshold to crash the system.It is this decentralized philosophy which has kept the bitcoin system running for 10 years. Whether at $1 or $20,000.
I have been closely watching the mining scene for only about 3 months, so excuse me if this sort of question is asked frequently, or is too speculative. Is all BTC mining now underwater, with a negative ROI? That's what it looks like to me. I initially got interested years ago, when the return was small and BTC was not worth much. I didn't mine because it seemed like a miniscule return on investment. Oh I wish I had started back then, those "worthless" BTCs would be worth a lot now. But I started getting more interested again when that Ars Technica article on the BFL Jalapeno appeared. Holy crap, a machine that prints free money. He made hundreds of bucks in a week. So I started checking it out. With the delays in BFL's product shipping, all the mining calculators show that any new investment in mining hardware will never break even. Difficulty is increasing so fast, that the only machines making money are already in place, and soon they won't even pay for the cost of electricity. Now just to screw this up even further, BFL did a classic "Osborne Effect" announcement of their new Monarch board. Their existing ASIC machines are obsolete. The new 28nm machine that does not exist yet, is promised to deliver 600Gh for 350 watts, and costs $4680. I ran the numbers through the mining calculator at The Genesis Block. Unfortunately their calculator seems to be down at the moment, but I recall running numbers on a Monarch, delivered even in December, would not break even unless BTC went up to 2000 per dollar! Now even accounting for BFL's broken promises, if I could buy mining hardware like this today and turn it on now, it would make a negative ROI. I run the numbers for every possible hardware I could buy, none of them are as cheap in dollars/Gh or Gh/watt as the Monarch. And none of them break even. I decided to track the existing performance of mining using my dinky Mac mini's GPU. It won't mine much, and GPU mining will never break even in a network full of ASICs. But it would give a rough index of how difficulty is affecting mining. Here's a rough description of my results. At this point, it looks like mining is doubling in difficulty every month. Nobody can make money unless either BTC rises in value dramatically, or the majority of miners give up and unplug their unprofitable mining hardware. So someone tell me if this assessment is realistic or not. At the moment, it looks like any new investment in mining hardware will result in turning every dollar of investment into 50 cents worth of BTC at most. With increasing difficulty, soon even existing mining hardware will be turning every dollar of electricity into less than a dollar worth of BTC. ROI is underwater now for new hardware, and soon will be underwater for all hardware, even advanced ASICs that haven't even shipped yet. There are only two ways that mining might ever make a profit. One is if almost everyone gives up when their miners become unprofitable. The other is if BTC goes up massively in value to like $2500/USD, which will only fuel the arms race even more. Yeah, I know there is a big incentive to spread disinformation to convince people to drop out of mining. So don't try to BS me. Let me hear your honest assessments, or please point me in a direction where I can do research to figure this out.
Some thoughts about network security (compared to bitcoin)
Just like any crypto, an attacker controlling more than 50% of the hashing power is fatal for the network. IOTA is not different. Hashing power is needed to provide proof of work to submit valid transactions. Possible attacks could be double spending after a merchant accepts a transaction, invalidating the "correct" subtangle by creating a new (larger) one. This is not a secret, it's written down in IOTA's whitepaper (see section 4 [Even more, in the “ideal” situation of this mathematical model, this attack always succeeds.]) That's why IOTA is currently under protection of the coordinator, since the network is not yet large enough. Let's calculate the amount of transactions per seconds for the current POW difficulty (MWM) of 14 for the IOTA network to be as secure as bitcoin:
Antminer S9 is approx. 2000€ providing 14,000 GH/s
the bitcoin network currently has 7,275,666,313 GH/s
resulting in total costs of 1,039,380,902€ when trying to acquire more than 50% hashrate
let's assume 2000€ worth of hardware would currently provide enough power to POW 1 IOTA transaction per second.
resulting in 519,690 (half a million) transactions per second when spending 1,039,380,902€ on hardware.
Since the IOTA network is currently only at about 0.6 transactions/s it has to be 866,150 (nearly 1 million) times larger in order to be as secure as bitcoin.
Obviously the MWM would then be a lot higher - for example 23 - resulting in 26 transactions per second with the same hashing power. If the network grew that large, 2000€ equipment would need about 5.5 hours to POW 1 IOTA transaction. This could then result in other people selling their hashing power for some fees - bringing back the plain old mining system to IOTA. I'm not an IOTA expert, feel free to correct me if I provided wrong information.
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