Bitcoin prices continue to fluctuate. As a result, Bitcoin mining has seen dramatic sways in its profitability. The current hash rate of the BTC network has left people wondering, “is Bitcoin mining profitable in 2018?” While the price of BTC is one of the major factors to be examined when considering entering the mining sector, you will also need to evaluate the effectiveness of the BTC mining hardware you use. Let’s take a moment to examine how Antminer is making Bitcoin mining profitable again.
The Mining Sector Continues to Grow
In the early days of BTC, anyone could mine for the crypto straight from their home PC. There was no need for special hardware, and a miner was awarded 50 BTC for their efforts. Early miners could receive 100s of BTC in less than a week. Today, this is not the case. The mining sector has seen increasing difficulty due to increased hashing power and, thanks to the development of specially designed mining chips, you will now need to make a sizable investment into hardware if you want to mine BTC with success.
Chinese-based Bitmain is largely responsible for the current competitive structure of the mining sector. Bitmain pioneered the development of Application Specific Integrated Chips (ASIC). These specially designed chips are programmed to handle the SHA-256 hash algorithms used in the BTC Proof-of-Work equation.
The SHA-256 algorithms used in mining BTC are math equations that your computer must answer repeatedly until it reaches a result that starts with four zeros. A normal home CPU can handle a multitude of tasks very well but is not well suited to calculate the same equation millions of times.
This led to an explosion in the use of Graphics Processing Units (GPU) in the mining sector. GPU mining rigs are much faster than their Central Processing Unit (CPU) counterparts. Part of the reason for this is the fact that GPU chips are all-inclusive. The chip contains its own processor and cooling system. GPU chips are much more efficient at calculating the SHA-256 algorithm than CPUs. They also achieved a better energy-to-hash ratio. This increased both the difficulty of the mining sector and the profitability for miners who decided to upgrade their hardware to GPU rigs.
Is Bitcoin Mining Profitable?
ASIC mining rigs took mining BTC to the next level and increased BTC’s network hashing power to new heights. These specially designed chips could process the SHA-256 algorithm 100,000 times faster than a CPU.
Bitmain wasn’t the first manufacturer to develop ASIC mining rigs, but they were the producer of the most popular models, including the hugely popular Antminer S1. The Antminer line has raised the bar in terms of performance. It has also made mining with non-ASIC rigs far less profitable.
The Antminer S1 gave miners a huge advantage. This BTC miner was capable of producing 180GH/s. At this time, most miners were using GPU units that were only capable of producing around 40GH/s. The unit used only 360 watts of electricity during operation. At the time of its release, the Antminer S1 was revolutionary to the industry. It also had a resounding effect on the future of BTC mining, ushering in a new age of more powerful ASIC rigs.
The Antminer S5 was a game-changing innovation in the mining sector. This unit utilized 60 third-generation Bitmain BM1384 Gen3 ASIC chips to silence the competition. This unique mining rig delivered 10 times the hashing power of previous models such as the S1. This meant that miners could now achieve record performance with hash rates of 1155 GH/s while only using 590 watts during operation. The Antminer S5 is one of the most popular mining rigs ever produced.
The introduction of this high powered rig also increased the difficulty of mining BTC. It wasn’t long before ASIC BTC mining rigs where the new industry standard. As a result, the BTC mining sector became even more competitive due to the added hash power. This also forced out many CPU miners, as well as, raised the entry costs for future miners.
The latest Antminer S9 is light years ahead of previous models in terms of hashing power (13.0 TH/s). This unit is far more energy efficient than previous models. The unit only uses around 1273 watts during operation. To give you an idea of how efficient this model is, you would need ten S5’s to get the same performance as one S9. To date, the Antminer S9 is the most power-to-hash efficient Bitcoin miner ever created. It shows how Bitmain is utilizing their past data to create even more powerful rigs.
Bitmain has invested heavily in mining pools. Mining pools combine the hashing power of a large group of computers over the internet. Combining your Antminer rig’s hash power with a mining pool will increase your profitability significantly. Mining pools combine all of the users’ efforts to create a supercomputer-like structure that is able to mine BTC at a more efficient rate than a solo operator could achieve, without investing millions into their operation.
The profits from the mining pool are distributed to the members based on their hash power contributions. This means that miners that join a pool with an ASIC mining rig earn much more than someone who joins with a GPU rig.
Cloud Mining Operations
Bitmain quickly realized that they needed to dominate the mining pool sector if they intended to stay on top. This was accomplished through a combination of tactics, including: providing new mining pools with hardware, opening new mining pools, and providing users with the ability to rent hash power.
Cloud mining is the next step in the BTC mining revolution. Users are able to rent hash power from large data centers. This allows anyone to get immediate results from their investment. Cloud mining is a smart option when you live somewhere with prohibiting electricity costs. You won’t have to worry about buying hardware or upkeep.
Bitmain offers a legitimate cloud mining service to customers. However, many other cloud mining companies have been exposed as frauds. This is one of the main problems that is encountered when discussing cloud mining adoption. It is also the reason that Bitmain is putting so much effort into providing this much needed service to their customers.
Is Bitcoin Mining Profitable in 2018?
Yes, it can be, if done correctly. It is true that BTC’s mining difficulty has increased significantly over the last nine years, but there are now more mining options than ever available to you. You don’t even need to own a rig to mine BTC today.
The combination of mining pools and more powerful rigs has helped miners to keep their efforts profitable. It has also reduced the profitability of those using other methods such as GPU cards. Today, ASIC mining rigs are considered the industry standard.
Bitmain has taken a unique approach to the market. This approach has allowed the company to achieve dominance in the marketplace. Thanks to products such as the Antminer line, Bitcoin mining profitability is still good for those who can afford the primary investment.
This article by David Hamilton was previously published on Coincentral.com
About the Author:
David Hamilton aka DavidtheWriter has published thousands of cryptocurrency related articles. Currently, he resides in the epicenter of the cryptomarket – Puerto Rico. David is a strong advocate for blockchain technologies and financial sovereignty.