What is Bitcoin?
A Bitcoin is one unit of digital currency. It is considered a decentralized currency because it is not controlled by one person, bank, credit card company, or government.
Instead of a central authority like a bank or a credit card company, the community is in control of Bitcoin.
Each transaction is recorded in a public network called the blockchain. Miners verify these transactions with their Bitcoin mining hardware.
Bitcoins are transferred directly person to person, which minimizes fees that are associated with most banks and credit card companies.
Bitcoin Mining Hardware
When Bitcoin was first invented, the CPU was used to mine. Quickly miners discovered that the GPU is far more effective. The prices of GPUs across the market skyrocketed as miners bought up all of the GPUs they could get their hands on.
Eventually, an ASIC was invented specifically for efficiently mining Bitcoins.
Nowadays, the only way to mine Bitcoin is with ASICs.
|Antminer S5||1.16 TH/s||$140||Compare Lowest Prices|
|Antminer S7||4.73 TH/s||$490||Compare Lowest Prices|
|Antminer S9||14 TH/s||$3,000||Compare Lowest Prices|
|Antminer R4||8.6 TH/s||$1,000||Compare Lowest Prices|
|Avalon6||3.5 TH/s||$560||Compare Lowest Prices|
The Antminer S5 was realeased in 2014, and at the time it was one of the fastest Bitcoin miners on the market. Since its release, it has been surpassed by newer miners.
Is it still practical today?
If you’re mining as a hobby, then the answer is yes. However, if you’re looking to mine for serious profit, check out our other miners below.
The Antminer S5 has a hash rate of 1.16 TH/s and a uses around 560-590 watts at max load.
NOTE: This miner does NOT include a powersupply. We recommend the EVGA SuperNOVA 650 Watt 80+ Gold Certified PSU..
The Antminer S7 has remained a popular choice since its release in 2015 for good reason.
It is packs performance and efficiency into one unit, all for a reasonable price.
The Antminer S7 has a hash rate of 4.73 TH/s and draws about 1300 W at max load. This is a great miner to choose.
Unfortunately, based on today’s Bitcoin block difficulty, it will be next to impossible to generate profit with the Antminer S7. However, if you are mining for a hobby, or you’re willing to optimize the Antminer S7, it could be a great choice for you.
NOTE: It is recommended to use the Bitmain APW3 1600W Antminer power supply.
The Antminer S9 is a eat piece of hardware, and is likely to remain profitable for a long time. This miner, though expensive, has a hash rate of 14 TH/s. It has incredibly high processing power.
This ASIC draws 1350 W from the wall, and it is recommended that the Antminer APW-12 1600 Watt Bitcoin Miner PSU be used, as the Antminer S9 does NOT include a power supply.
Though this miner is quite powerful, it is very unlikely that one unit will successfully mine a Bitcoin in a short amount of time. We recommend getting involved in a Bitcoin mining pool.
The Antminer S9 is an expensive ASIC, but it’s worth every penny. Not only is it one of the most powerful miners on the market, it is also energy efficient. It only uses .1 Joules per Gigahash. It is over 2 times as efficient as the Antminer S7.
The Avalon6 is a great option for someone looking to start mining for Bitcoins. This miner has a hash rate of 3.5 TH/s and uses about 1050 watts at max load.
With the extreme difficulty of and complexity of mining Bitcoin, this miner does not prove very profitable either. However, it is still a great option for hobbyists. If you have access to low cost electricity, and you’re willing to optimize the miner, it can still be profitbale in 2018.
NOTE: This miner does NOT include a powersupply. We recommend the Dell L1100E-S0 1100W PSU.
The Antminer R4 is the perfect ASIC for anyone looking to mine Bitcoins at home. This is the second fastest miner on this list, with a hash rate of 8.6 TH/s, falling behind the Antminer S9.
This miner is tied with the Antminer S9 as the most efficient miner on the market today. Furthermore, this miner is designed to be extremely quiet, making it perfect for at home mining.
This miner was designed with ease of use in mind. Setting up this miner is a breeze. If you’re a first time miner, this is a good choice for you.
This miner draws about 845 W from the wall. It does not come with a power supply. The Antminer APW5 power supply is recommended for use with this ASIC.
This miner is great for hobbyists who also are looking to make some money.
Is Bitcoin Mining Profitable?
Profitable Bitcoin mining is next to impossible for the average person.
Most Bitcoin mining is performed in China where electricity costs are low compared to the United States. Big companies own thousands of ASICs housed in a warehouse, all mining 24/7.
This makes it very difficult for the average person to turn a big profit by mining.
On the other hand, Bitcoin mining can be quite fun if you’re a hobbyist, not to mention it helps the Bitcoin community.
For those just looking to obtain Bitcoin, it might be easier to buy it from an exchange like Coinbase.
ASICs’ Impact on Decentralization
ASICs are specifically developed for mining. They offer insanely high hashing power with low electricity consumption in comparison.
They seem great at first glance, but they’re actually not good for a decentralized cryptocurrency.
Well, instead of the entire Bitcoin community mining (and verifying the network) in a decentralized fashion, most of the mining tends to occur in one place.
Let me explain:
Evidently, the most powerful ASIC hardware can be extremely expensive. That being said, not everyone can afford to get their hands on one.
Even if they can, they probably won’t turn a profit unless they can afford many ASICs.
These days, most Bitcoin mining is performed in China. Electricity is cheap there, and wealthy investors capitalize on it.
They buy hundreds (if not thousands) of miners and house them in a large warehouse specifically designed for mining. They run all of the miners at one time. The insane hashing power combined with low electricity costs results in vast profit.
Unfortunately for the average Joe, they can’t turn a profit on their own. This leads to a centralization of mining power in one place, owned by one entity rather than many people all mining together.
It was resistant for a while, but soon Litecoin fell victim to ASICs as well. Other altcoins like Vertcoin and Ethereum use special algorithms that are ASIC resistant in order to prevent centralization.
Can You Still Make Money on Your Own?
Yes, yes you can.
You’ll have to join something called a Bitcoin mining pool. This is a network of miners that all work together to solve a common problem.
All of you would use your hashing power to verify a block. Once the block is verified, the block reward is distributed evenly based on how much each person contributed. This is the best way for individual miners to generate a profit, as it greatly increases your odds of solving Bitcoin’s ever more complicated algorithm.
Bitcoin Mining Pools to Consider
As mentioned above, Bitcoin mining pools are your best bet to turn a profit.
Here are some mining pools to consider: