There’s gold in them there hills! Well at least there are bitcoins out there to be dug up. The new age gold rush of the popular digital currency has been all the rage recently. More and more people have become interested in the seemingly untamed currency. Whilst most people will purchase the bitcoins at their current market price, there a few entrepreneurial bitcoin “prospectors” looking to mine their own share. Unfortunately many bitcoin miners will find that they spend more time and resources chasing the bitcoin dream than actually mining any. So what does mining actually cost?
The mining of bitcoins, as explained here, is an easy enough process but can become quite an enormous task going forward. Bitcoins are mined by unlocking various blocks of data. The blocks produce a certain pattern when a bitcoin “hash” algorithm is applied. The more you mine bitcoins, the more complex the mining becomes. Unless a dedicated miner has built a specially designed bitcoin mining rig, the GPU resources of the miners PC will be gobbled quite rapidly. Miners with high-end graphics cards will mine bitcoins more effectively because GPUs are more efficient than CPUs for the bitcoin mining application. Running these computers obviously use a lot of power.
So does this mean that the bitcoin industry is actually fuelling the environmental tensions we already experience? Recent statistics provided by Blockchain.info, a website that tracks everything bitcoin, shows that bitcoin miners around the world use up 1 005.59 megawatt hours of electricity each day in their continuous rush to produce more and more coins. The power hungry industry racks up $150 000 in electricity costs each day.
You would think that having a dedicated bitcoin mining machine might be a good idea to make money out of thin air. A quick study by some tech savvy enthusiasts show that even though dedicating their PCs to bitcoin mining for a few days, the energy required to actually acquire the bitcoins is far greater than the actual value of the bitcoins mined. An alternative to using your own machine would be to invest in special hardware designed to only mine for bitcoins. This, like any investment, might show signs of a good return down the road depending on the way the bitcoin market swings. But currently, only the guys supplying these “miners” are making the dough…
What do you think about bitcoins and their uses? Follow the trading of bitcoins debate here, or comment below. Would you ever try mining bitcoins or employ someone to do so?