Is Bitcoin mining a lucrative profession? Some say it is profitable. Others swear it is a difficult venture especially if you need to compete against Chinese miners. 2016 was described by industry stakeholders as a good year for crypto currency miners. However, Bitcoin mining became more challenging after the Second Halving Event. The reward for mining one block successfully declined from 25 BTC to 12.5 BTC.
Is it still rewarding?
For those who want to compete and continue mining Bitcoin, it is necessary to look for the most efficient mining hardware in the market. The problem is there are only a few mining rigs capable of handling the increasing complexities of mining. You might as well consider the features and capabilities of mining hardware. Likewise, calculate exchange rates, electricity costs and rise of difficulty the entire time.
Ant Miner S5
This is often called the entry-level miner basically because it is the cheapest. Majority of miners who used the device were satisfied with results. Yet, it is now obsolete considering mining difficulty and declining block rewards. You may not be able to generate over 0.05 coins in revenues. In short, miners must operate for one year and eight months to get one full BTC. Other miners also said this mining hardware is too loud.
Ant Miner S7
Ant Miner S7 used to be the leader. You can produce 0.15 Bitcoin monthly with this hardware even with the effects of halving and higher difficulty levels. This may be very good investment if the price of this digital currency continues to go up. What is the downside of this miner? It is quite costly for a starter apparatus. Besides, it is not strong enough to produce large amount of Bitcoin. Nonetheless, miners who purchased the device in 2015 were pleased.
Avalon 6 may be as good as Ant Miners S5 and S7 or perhaps even better. According to reviews, it is not that noisy and hash rate is acceptable. Some miners are not inclined to select Avalon 6 since it is $100 more expensive than S7 with the latter bringing better results. With this hardware, it is possible to earn an income of 0.12 coins every month.
Ant Miner R4
Ant Miner R4 was designed for hobby mining. It is used by miners who do their thing at home. It can compete with S7 but not S9. The hardware’s upside is the special cooling mechanism which is quite compared to other Bitcoin miners. You can break even with this miner in roughly one year. The disadvantage of R4 is it is a risky investment considering that miners usually become obsolete after six to nine months. This can only produce good ROI in case the price of said currency continues to increase.
Avalon 7 or 721 is the most recent miner from Avalon. The price is lower than modern mining hardware. It may be the right option for entry-level mining. The miner can break even in nearly two years. Miners can connect to a maximum of five Avalon 7s successively to form a potent 30 (THs) rig for mining.
Ant Miner S9
Bitmain Ant Miner S9 is said to be the “Cream of the Crop”.
It is four to five times more expensive.
But, it has the capacity to mine three to four times more BTC.
This hardware uses electricity efficiently than other miners.
S9 stands for profit at smaller scale although it is pricey for hobby mining or conducting experiments.
This is the most sophisticated rig so far. Yet, Bitcoin difficulty may intensify further because the hardware is new in the market. It can mine about 0.5 coins monthly which makes it rewarding. This does not include pool fees, cost of the hardware, and electricity. Nonetheless, this miner will also become obsolete eventually.
S9 has a technological advantage. The current smallness of semi-conductors results to additional computing power as well as power efficiency. Even then, this process will not go on due to the present technology. The 16NM fabrication method used in manufacturing Ant Miner S9 is considered a primary advantage compared to the 28MN design of other mining hardware.
S9 has greater hashing power than any other device manufactured before it. This is packed into the S9 silicon (14THs) and 189 chips are spread all over three circuit boards.
Bitmain is the top maker of ASIC hardware which is available to the public. ASIC means Application-Specific Integrated Circuit. S9 is its latest model. The chips of S9 are BM 1387. This is almost ½ the size of mining chips in the past. The result is higher electrical efficiency and puts Ant Miner S9 at the lead of Bitcoin mining technology.
Other companies continue to develop 14NM chips which are more expensive in terms of fabrication and consume more time. What are the probable expectations? Rate of Bitcoin mining hardware progress will definitely become slower in the future until the restrictions of existing semi-conductor systems are finally attained. In other words, S9 will be more or less resilient for another three years at the most. This will take place unless other optimizations are achieved.
It will be improbable that miners can break even in less than one year contrary to what calculators indicate. However, the S9 will end up paying for itself because of inexpensive electricity. Difficulty will increases once miners decide to use S9 and other more advanced mining hardware in the years to come. The break-even period can possibly extend but not more than two years.