If you know a thing or two about bitcoin, you're probably aware that mining is one of the best ways to get your hands on this lucrative currency. This process involves using a computer to solve hashing algorithms, generating new bitcoin in return for the machine's processing power that is working for it.
Much like real-world mining, this process essentially turns labor (processing power) into financial resources (bitcoin), but it is wrong to assume that any computer is up to the task. To give you a better understanding of mining and how much power it truly takes, this article will be exploring the viability of CPU bitcoin mining in the modern world.
To establish whether or not a CPU can be a viable tool for bitcoin mining, it makes sense to explore an example of a machine that could easily be found in an average home. For this example, we will be looking at an Intel i5 7600k. This is a processor that is a few years old but is very common in modern homes. This CPU has an estimated hash rate of 1.31 kh/s using XMRig's RandomX algorithm.
The hash rate is the speed at which a hardware component is able to solve the hashing algorithms that generate cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. While 1.31 kh/s sounds like a lot, this would only yield around 3 US cents each day once you've factored the power usage into the equation. Needless to say, this isn't worth it. Your CPU would be a lot more useful for other tasks at this rate, but this doesn't mean that you can't find ways to mine bitcoin at home.
Solving algorithms is a very specific task for a processor to perform, but CPUs aren't designed for specific tasks. The CPUs you find on the consumer market are designed to cover a huge range of different jobs, and this means that their overall power is usually wasted on mining. GPUs can certainly change this, with an Nvidia RTX 2060 increasing our i5's daily income to around $3.30 per day.
As mentioned above, Bitcoin mining is a very specific task. This means that you ideally want a machine that has been built specifically for mining, and this is where ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) come in. The Bitmain AntMiner S17 is an excellent example of this, with a hash rate of 85 TH/s, and an estimated daily yield of $28.10.
Of course, though, ASICs can be very expensive, and it doesn't take long for them to become obsolete. This has made the renting of hashing power very popular in recent years, with large mining farms renting out their machines to individuals who want to try Bitcoin mining for themselves.
Bitcoin mining isn't as simple as choosing the proper hardware. The settings you choose can also make a big difference, though this doesn't mean that you will ever be able to make a regular CPU suitable for this task.