There are three main ways to get Bitcoin. One can buy Bitcoin on an exchange, obtain it using the ATM, or mine it. Bitcoin mining calls for a lot of planning that involves purchasing specialized equipment and allocating time and money to start the operation. This article explains what Bitcoin mining is and expounds upon everything a person needs to do to begin a mining operation.
Mining as an Integral Part of the Blockchain System
Bitcoin mining is the process of individuals or groups of people verifying transactions using graphics processing units or application-specific integration units. Those engaged in mining also prevent double-spending, which is when someone duplicates a Bitcoin. When someone verifies a transaction, they successfully “mine” Bitcoin. However, there are conditions that the miner has to meet to receive a financial reward.
To be successful, the miner must verify one megabyte of transactions. One megabyte is equal to one block of the blockchain. The blockchain is where transactions are recorded and verified. Secondly, he must be the first person to complete a complex math problem called a “hashing puzzle” using his computation hardware. When the hash puzzle is solved, one block on the blockchain is created. Miners with higher hash rates, the speed at which the math problem is solved, are more likely to solve hashing puzzles successfully.
Mining is also how new Bitcoin gets into circulation. It is similar to someone minting a coin or printing a currency note. At some point, though, Bitcoin will no longer be mined. As of Autumn 2019, there were 18.5 million in circulation. The cap was set at around 21 million by the creator or creators of this cryptocurrency.
Everything Needed for Mining Bitcoin: Hardware, Time, Space, and Money
A lot of computing power is needed to verify all transactions involving Bitcoin, which causes a problem for miners who think they will get Bitcoin quickly and effortlessly. All of this computing power comes from thousands of miners working on verifying transactions. Since there are so many people working on building blocks on the blockchain, it is harder to mine Bitcoin. The competitive nature of Bitcoin mining means miners have to devote a lot of time and money to their efforts.
In the past, it was possible to mine Bitcoin using a personal computer. That is no longer the case now that people are using more powerful computing equipment to mine Bitcoin. Currently, miners use graphics processing units and application-specific integrated circuits. This hardware can cost hundreds or tens of thousands of dollars. Also, it could take a long time for someone with a small operation to mine one coin considering he will be competing against miners who own thousands of computing units stored in multiple warehouses. Operations large and small consume a vast amount of electricity, so it is vital to mine in an area with cheap electricity rates.
Plenty of space is needed to house all of the processing units. As is the case in the link mentioned above, the miner being interviewed required two warehouses to store all of his equipment. However, someone who wants to start a small operation for fun can dedicate a room for storing the equipment.
Start-up capital will be required to start a large and profitable operation. Few people have the money needed to start a business independently, so they need to attract investors. To do this, create a comprehensive and easy to understand business plan covering information about the operation’s location, potential costs, zoning ordinances, etc.
Is Bitcoin Mining Worth It?
For most people, Bitcoin mining is not worth the trouble. The start-up costs are enormous, and it may be challenging to find people willing to invest in such a scheme. Bitcoin has a negative stigma among many investors (Warren Buffet in particular) because they consider it highly speculative. Another problem miners will encounter is a collapse in the value of Bitcoin. It is not a stable currency, as reflected by the history of its value. Small miners who spend a lot of money on a dozen computing devices will find it difficult to break even if Bitcoin dips into the bear market territory. However, a huge mining operation will likely be able to weather the storm simply because of the sheer volume of coins it can mine.
But do not be discouraged. Someone who has the time, money, and expertise to do this should try it. Many people do it as a hobby, and they enjoy themselves doing it. However, anyone considering doing this for a living should perform a serious cost-benefit analysis before starting an operation.