Working in the Information Technology industry has it’s ups and downs, but in 2011 a co-worker told me about Bitcoin and I was able to use our lab computers to start mining. Having prevoiusly been involved with [email protected] and other distributed computing projects, this was right up my alley. This turned into a hobby and I used my magic internet money to buy a new computer and graphics cards to mine on, until…
Attempting an ASIC
I had enough Bitcoin to purchase an ASIC, which is a device whose sole functionality is to mine Bitcoin. I spent my 7 BTC on a Butterfly Labs Jaepeno. It’s hashrate was much higher than my current hardware but delays in shipping and rising mining difficulty made this the worst purchase I’ve ever made – I never recovered what I spent in terms of BTC. Perhaps I justify it that if I had converted the BTC to cash at the time I would have made enough BTC back at the new rate to be profitable, but HODLing would have been close to a half-million dollars today 🙁
5 years into my journey, in late 2016, I was discouraged that my hardware investments were no longer seemingly profitable to mine on, and I had not mined for some time, even selling some of my old graphics cards to recover costs. It was getting cold out and I had the idea to mine again, this time Ethereum to heat my home in the winter.
Over the next couple years I picked up some 4GB cards, mostly RX 470/480/570 and mined a few ETH – a couple cards were 8GB including my prized GTX 1070 which at the time cost over $500 (today it still costs that much on the used market due to GPU shortages).
Again, rising difficulty made it less profitable so in the summer I would shut down my rigs, even selling some of my cards AS-IS when they weren’t working properly.
Picking a Pool
A note on pools, I should mention that I never did solo mine, I always used a pool (many different ones over the years) to flatten my odds of winning a block.
Recently, the Ethereum DAG size has grown past 4GB, meaning that I cannot mine on my 4GB cards anymore. But, as winter approaches I needed to find a way to leverage my existing hardware as current graphics card prices are something like 3 times MSRP.
I leveraged prohashing.com which uses the “proswitching” gimmic to automatically mine the most profitable Ethash algorithm coin who’s DAG will fit within the memory of the card it is mined on. I do still mine Ethereum on my 8GB card, having dual mined both Decred and now Zilliqa, and primarily Ethereum classic on the 4GB ones as they have recently shrunk the DAG somehow. Other coins include Ravencoin as well as smaller DAG Ethash coins such as Callisto. This covers the cost of electricity to heat my home as I get “reimbursed” in crypto.
Converting Coins (Coinbase and Chia cometh)
My favorite functionality of prohashing.com is the ability to payout in different coins than what you are mining. I can set a percentage of the coins I want to be paid in. A lot of coins have very high payout thresholds because of the congestion on the Ethereum network, ERC20 tokens require hundreds of dollars worth before paying out – I mine ~$5 worth per day so not feasible.
One workaround here is that I can payout automatically to Coinbase without needing to meet a threshod. While Coinbase is not worth their fees, I thought I would spread my earnings around so leveraging it for some coins with high payout thresholds.
Finally, I am now farming Chia with my extra hard drive space. It’s certainly less lucrative, as I only have about 10TB of free space, much, much less that the ~35EB – yes, exabyte – total network space. But, it all adds up, currently I don’t even have close to 1 Chia though.
Lending, Liquidity – Lots-o-learning
For the longest time my digital assets were sitting in a cold wallet so I definitely missed the boat on this lucrative space of staking, lending, and liquidity pools but I finally decided to try it out. Now instead of mining proof of work by hashing, I can simply stake my existing crypto. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some yields over the past month:
BTC/ETH 6.5% staking on Crypto.com with 2% CRO rewards additionally
CRO – 12% and a sweet prepaid Visa card
OSMO ~130% staking in Keplr, 50-150% on Osmosis Zone
Cosmos/ATOM ~15% in Keplr
SOL ~70% on Orca
DOT – 12% on Kraken
Kava – 20% on Kraken, ~30% in Keplr, 200%+ in Kava.io but 1 year vesting
I want to include Cronos with the 4 digit APY numbers but I’ve actually lost value in the pools so far so I will have to report back on this…
There is still so much to learn but I feel I am diversified enough now that if I lose coins on any one platform, I am still earning something somewhere else.
I have decided to use my earnings to get my friends and family into crypto by giving some away to them, as otherwise I’d be sitting on my coins letting the market decide their value.