A ray of hope for small miners?

Home and small operation mining has very much fallen from favour since the crazy days of December 2017 and Bitcoin mining from home became all but impossible a few years ago, so what is left?

Even since I wrote the article “Is it still worth mining?” just three weeks ago, things have changed again. GPU prices continue to fall, AMD have announced an expected continued fall in card demand in their latest earnings call and many miners have decided to call it quits flooding the market with cheap second hand cards, adding to the woes. With prices down, huge players continuously entering the market and controlling the hash rate and difficulty level, is there any hope at all for the small operation or hobbyist miner?

The answer, in my view, is yes, but only on very specific grounds. This is a perfect example of economic forces working and it happens so fast these days we all need to adapt quickly. For example, lower spec, high power GPUs are simply not worth running, unless you’re stock piling for a future breakout price and covering the costs yourself in the meantime, whether by a pool or the coin’s algorithm directly.

For part of my operation, I am following this strategy myself. I am still mining Monero directly with my original 16 card 750ti operation as the cards are very efficient AND the algorithm itself is low impact. It’s just about breaking even in terms of power and coin generated, but I do believe that Monero is one of the coins that will do well in the future and therefore I am betting on future, rather than current, price.

My Antminer S9 actually increased it’s output over the last two weeks as the network difficulty adjustment last time round was actually down by 3.45%, an occurrence that is not common. It just goes to show sometimes you just need to be in the game to catch a break. That said, the reduced difficulty level encouraged more miners to join, so that the level jumped yesterday by 14.88%, and my earnings per TH/s dropped accordingly. That said, because BTCs price has increased 26% over the last month, the actual daily mining value is still higher than it was a few weeks ago. Again, a perfect demonstration of the laws of economics at work.

A recent photo of Big Blue – recently upgraded to include a home made ‘top hat’ for placing the PSUs more efficiently.

In terms of Big Blue, my 12 card 1080ti rig, the story is more interesting. Lyrarev2 has consistently shown the best results, although whatotmine.com often has X16r or Equihash as the top payers, something I just can’t seem to replicate when I try it. However, because I have more or less constantly stayed with Lyrarev2 I’ve had a bird’s eye view on what happens as price changes.

Remember that rally we had for a few days last week? On those days, Big Blue’s mining output, in terms of value, jumped by around 22% overall for a short period. Of course, since I am mining an algorithm and converting to Bitcoin rather than mining Bitcoin directly, there are all sorts of factors at play here: mining pool stats, conversion rate of mined coins vs Bitcoin, hash rates etc, and it could be that – just for a short time- they all fell into place. That said, there’s no denying that a higher relative price to Bitcoin yielded better results, and that means if it happened once, it can happen again. My view, tentatively, is that when the next bull run comes (and it’s easy to forget in extended bear markets that a bull run will come again) things may look a little different.

So, in my view, as long as you control your costs and manage your operation closely in terms of what mining and what you’re happy to risk, there’s still plenty of good days ahead for miners.

And after that we’ll still have some brilliant games machines.

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