First of all, mining Bitcoin directly simply isn’t profitable. Multiple sources report that it just can’t be done. You could get an Antminer S9, the best ASIC hardware on the market, and you’ll be lucky to break even. There’s a lot of confusing information about this subject so let me be crystal clear: you as a person with a max budget of say, $10,000, can make money mining cryptocurrency, but not Bitcoin.
The best Bitcoin mining rig is a mining farm in China. Since most of us are not able to participate in this tantalizing yet capital-intensive business activity, we are left to mine all of the other cryptos. Fortunately, building a cryptocurrency mining rig is fairly straightforward. And once you acquire a bunch of whatever coin you choose to mine, you can use that coin to trade for Bitcoin (or Ethereum or Litecoin, and then into USD).
Disclaimer: If you are looking to invest or for financial security, I recommend you DO NOT spend money on cryptocurrency or cryptocurrency mining equipment. The best practice for getting into crypto is visualizing all of the money you are spending as being burnt in a fire. This is gambling, pure and simple.
But it is fun.
Here’s the five best ways to get Bitcoin by mining altcoins.
1. Build a Dedicated GPU-Rig
If you’ve paid attention to crypto news, you may have heard that there are no graphics cards on the shelves. It’s true, there are very few, but if you can get between three and six of them, you can build a rig. Check Amazon for GTX cards, and you may be lucky enough to see something for sale. Note that you should pay around $400 for a GTX 1060, $550 for a GTX 1070, and $700 for a GTX 1080. That said, you may find cards that are more expensive. If you’re a gamer, you can squeeze some additional potential use out of the card (see item 5), but don’t think you’re evading some kind of risk because a graphics card is technically a capital asset: if you look to sell it later, chances are so will a lot of other people. Hence, buying during a shortage will likely mean selling during a surplus, and that’s bad business! Still, in theory, you can write this stuff off on your taxes since it is business equipment so you can lop 30% or so off the price right there.
Building a rig is fairly straightforward. You’ll need a mining motherboard, a processor (a cheap one is fine; the mining work is done by the graphics cards), a small quantity of RAM, PCIe risers (to reach the cards), flash drive, mining rig frame, cable ties, and a heavy-duty power supply (wouldn’t go lower than gold). There are many full guides to building a rig (Cryptosrus, Vice, YouTube), and it’s not exactly rocket science as most of the components are plug and play. However, there is trouble-shooting, diligence, and a fair amount of technical knowledge to get a hold of. If you’re not intimidated by computers, you can get through it. That said, don’t think you can set it up and forget about it. Coins fork. Graphics card stop working. Computers glitch. That said, most of the time, it is pretty close to printing money (between $2 and $3 per day per card).
That said, the biggest con to mining is that if you don’t find it fun, it’s not considered a betterm financial prospect than simply investing (some debate can be read here). For the investor-minded, we recommend Coinbase for buying Bitcoin and a handful of other cryptos.
2. Add a Crypto Mining Card To Your Current Windows Desktop
If you have a Windows desktop, there’s a good change your PC has one or two slots where you can stuff a graphics card. Unfortunately, this is not as simple of a solution as it may seem since graphics cards are overpriced and hard to find. Still, while opening up your PC may seem scary, hardware installation can be cheap ($40 or so at Geek Squad) and doing it yourself is simple. Check out this guide on how to add a graphics card to your current system.
Depending on your motherboard, you can install either Nvidia or AMD cards; be sure to figure out your system configuration (use the Run app (windows key + R) and type in dxdiag.exe to see your system components as a starting point).
Check Amazon for GTX 1060s, 1070s, and 1080s.
Once you put in the graphics card, it’s pretty easy to get up and running. I was able to mine Garlicoin (which I don’t necessarily recommend you mine, but it’s a normal crypto in terms of difficulty for set up) in about 10 minutes. Back in 2014, I mined around $200 worth of Dogecoin using my CPU. It was worth $200 then. I don’t want to think about what it would be worth had I held, but probably around $2000.
3. Purchase an External GPU
Note: I do not recommend this, but the numbers bear out my personal suggestion. My EGPU, the Aorus GTX 1070, broke after two weeks of mining. That said, I recognize this is anecdotal evidence so I will explain this option nonetheless.
If your PC has a Thunderbolt 3 port, you can hook it up to a new technology, the external graphics card. To be clear, you MUST have a Thunderbolt 3 port. This is not merely a USB C port nor a USB 3.0 Superspeed port- it has to have a little Thunderbolt icon by it, then you’ll know, that’s Thunderbolt 3 (see this guide if you’re still confused).
There are two types of EGPU. All of them have the same basic principles, however. The first type is simple an external box that holds a normal graphics card, such as the Akitio Node. The second type contains a GPU already, like my late Aorus GTX 1070, that is a box that comes including a graphics card. For the former type, you will have to also purchase a graphics card separately.
Once you do, setup couldn’t be simpler. You simply plug in the power, plug in the EGPU, the PC detects it, and you run your miner. Again, I did this with Garlicoin and setting it up to mine on two graphics card (the PC’s internal card and the EGPU) was as simple as passing a flag at the command line, something like, “-d 1” to tell the miner to use graphics card. If you get this far and can’t figure out how to mine, feel free to email me danny dot vega at heavy dot com.
4. Mine With Your PC’s CPU
Mining with your CPU is doable, but with electricity costs and how considerably slower CPUs are for mining, it’s not necessarily a surefire way to money. That said, mining with your CPU can be worth it if you mine small, new cryptocurrencies. While you won’t necessarily mine a huge amount, there are definitely stories of people buying small amounts of crypto and then finding it has gone up significantly in value. After all, there was a time where one could mine Bitcoin itself with their CPU, though this was a long time ago.
This thread on BitcoinTalk.org gives some suggestions. Again, based on Dogecoin’s success, I recommend Garlicoin. It is a memecoin and not very special in any regard, but it does have a popular subreddit. You can learn how to mine Garlicoin with your CPU here.
5. Purchase a New PC With Graphics Card In It
This is either the best way or the worst way to do this, depending on your situation. If you’re looking to upgrade your PC, then this is the best way. While the price of graphics card is skyrocketing, it is not doing so when that graphics card is inside a PC. Therefore, the only way to get a graphics card at the normal human price is precisely by purchasing a PC. Check out some PCs with GTX 1070s or The Top 5 Best Desktops For Mining Cryptocurrency.
If you don’t need a new PC or need to upgrade, however, this is the equivalent of wanting to get a new tires, but getting a new car instead. Truly, it’s not that bad, but I don’t recommend it. The profitability is only that much farther.
I hope I was able to guide you toward some products or enlightment in your crypto journey. If you have any questions or comments, I’m known to answer thoroughly.