A few days ago, a friend of mine named Nathan asked me if he could copy the blog and make it into a book. I had just spent two hours writing this post, which is why I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. So naturally, I said no.
And then a few hours later, I changed my mind.
My friend Nathan is a talented programmer who makes his living writing code for high-paying clients. He’s also a successful investor in the cryptocurrency world. He’s one of the crypto gurus who wrote The Bad Crypto Podcast . And he’s the author of several books on how to make money in crypto. So he knows what he’s talking about.
I had been planning to write about how to get started mining cryptocurrencies. But Nathan already had that covered. His book already has some chapters on it, which were mostly written by him and his co-author and friend John Nash over the previous few years. It’s called “How To Get Started Mining Cryptocurrencies.”
The only thing left to do was to write an introduction and some links, which required very little effort on my part except the time it took me to write this blog post, which was probably more than two hours anyway.
Cryptocurrencies are the future. They are not just a fad or a bubble. Cryptocurrencies are the new normal: they will become the currency of choice in the not-too-distant future. The government has already given up on trying to stop it, and it is becoming harder for them to regulate. Thus it is best to get involved early, before governments decide it’s time to put their foot down.
For those who want to start mining cryptocurrencies, there are a couple of things that should be taken into account:
The power consumption of modern computer hardware requires an annual supply of electricity at least equal to the amount required for heating your home in winter. This means that mining computers must be powered via environmentally friendly energy sources such as solar panels or windmills .
And there is this other thing called heat and noise – two things which, when combined, make for an extremely unpleasant working environment .
But you can overcome all this by investing in a warehouse-sized air conditioning system .
Cryptocurrencies are the hot new thing, like the Internet was in its early days. The prices of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been going up and up. But one of the reasons they’re so popular is that you can make money by just buying them and holding them, without having to deal with any technical details.
Mining for cryptocurrencies is in many ways like playing a slot machine or gambling online. If you win, it’s nice; if you lose, it’s not so bad. It doesn’t matter too much if it’s random. And in practice, that’s what mining really is: the computer equivalent of rolling dice.
When people talk about crypto-mining, they often mean “making money by gambling online,” which is not what I am talking about here.
The most important thing about mining is not the hardware, it’s the software. Mining makes use of a computer’s central processing unit, or CPU. If you want to learn how to mine, you will be better off learning how to use your CPU instead. But if you are serious about doing so and know what you’re doing, then go ahead and buy some hardware.
The easiest way to start mining is with a Raspberry Pi. It is a small single-board computer that runs Linux. It can run a full-fledged Bitcoin full node inside it and still have enough power to do useful stuff like play Quake III Arena at 1600×1200 resolution on a TV. The recommended model runs at 700MHz, but an 800MHz model may be better for mining Bitcoin. It uses about 2W of power, which is far less than the 5–10W that a typical PC needs for its CPU alone.
If you have a Raspberry Pi and want to install the latest version of Bitcoin Core (Bitcoin’s full node software), there are instructions for doing so on the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s website .
Cryptocurrencies are electronic money, not bank notes. They are however a safe and anonymous way to store value.
Bitcoin is the first of the cryptocurrencies. It was started in 2009 by someone using the name Satoshi Nakamoto. He or she left no trace in history. The Bitcoin software doesn’t even have a real person behind it, although there have been many volunteers who run nodes that store and transmit bitcoins and make sure they are used correctly.
The Bitcoin blockchain is a list of every bitcoin ever created. Each transaction you make is recorded on this list so everyone can check that you’re not doing something wrong with your wallet address, or your password, or anything else. If you don’t have your private key, which lets you access your public key and spend money, then anyone can take over your wallet and start making transactions for you.
Your lucky if you’ve never had your wallet hacked while you were asleep or away from work at the time it happened.
The most important lesson for me was that Bitcoin is not the same as other cryptocurrencies. Many people look at Bitcoin and think it’s a gold rush, because its price is so high. But if you take a closer look, you’ll see that Bitcoin is actually quite different from what you’d expect.
Bitcoin is not a commodity like gold, or even an asset like stocks. It’s a currency, but it’s not tied to real-world currencies like dollars or euros or yen. The value of Bitcoin is completely independent of how many people are using it, although this number has been increasing lately as more people get involved.
It’s decentralized, which means that no one person controls it; there aren’t any big companies or governments controlling it. Instead, people all around the world are trying to solve the same cryptographic puzzle in order to earn Bitcoins for themselves. The answer to the puzzle has a certain cryptographic “footprint” that uniquely identifies the person who solved it so no one else can claim to have solved it too.
There are thousands of participants in this system solving this cryptographic puzzle every day, and as more people participate and more Bitcoins are created (about 12 million per day), this overall difficulty level increases as well.
You think of the Internet as something you can use for free. You don’t think about how much energy it takes to keep everything running and the large amounts of data it requires to store. But the Internet is an enormous consumer of energy.
The Internet may be one of the most successful consumer products ever: 95% of all people on Earth now have access to it, and that percentage is growing almost daily. And yet there’s no obvious way to make money from it.
You can probably make a good living if you can learn how to live with the Internet. Everyone who does makes more than enough money to cover the cost of living and still have some left over, all because they found a way to live with something that was not originally intended for human use. That’s not just luck, it’s skill; there are only so many ways to live with things before they become normal.*