Bitcoin pioneered mining when it first went live in 2008, and it’s still one of the most popular coins among crypto miners. Mining serves various essential purposes: it provides security for the Bitcoin network and it processes transactions. Moreover, it provides a way for participants to earn BTC as a reward.
Bitcoin’s Hash Function
In order to mine a block, participants must solve cryptographic hash problems. This is referred to as “hashing.” Bitcoin relies on a specific hash function called SHA-256. This is only important insofar as the nature of SHA-256 has led to an arms race of increasingly efficient computer chips purpose-built for Bitcoin mining. It is no longer possible to mine Bitcoin at a profit using commercially available computer hardware, like a GPU or CPU. In order to compete, miners must use a device called an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit), which is capable of solving SHA-256 problems very quickly. One of the most popular ASIC lines is Bitmain’s Antminer. Bitcoin could abandon SHA-256 and adopt an alternative in order to resist ASIC dominance, but it is unlikely to do so. Critics such as Cobra and BTC POW Upgrade have advocated changes to Bitcoin’s mining protocol, but they have failed to gain traction.
There are several different models of ASIC mining devices on the market. The most profitable ASICs have a high hashrate in terahashes (TH/s) and low energy consumption in watts (W). Keep in mind hashrate and energy efficiency change quickly as newer, more efficient ASICs are released. These are some of the most profitable ASICs, according to F2Pool:
Antminer S19 Pro, 110 TH/s, 3250 W, selling for $2,900
Whatsminer M30S++, 112TH/s, 3472 W, selling for $1,800
Hummer Miner H9 Pro, 84TH/s, 3360 W, selling for $1,600
Canaan Avalon 1166, 68 TH/s, 3196 W, price unknown
INNOSILICON T3+, 67 TH/s, 3300 W, selling for $2,000
There are also consumer devices like the the Coinmine One. Though, these “plug-and-play” mining devices are unlikely to turn a profit. As of April 2020, the Antminer S19 Pro generates roughly $9 worth of profit per day, while the INNOSILICON T3+ brings in about $4 of profit per day. Exact profits are subject to change depending on personal electricity costs and BTC market prices. Read More...