Is Cryptocurrency Mining with GPU and CPU Still a Profitable Option in 2019
Back in the day, when Bitcoin first appeared, making money through crypto mining was much easier than it is today. At first, the options were limited, and miners could only mine Bitcoin itself. However, there were not a lot of miners out there, and for a brief period of time — people could mine coins with their own PC with relatively low expenses.
Of course, Bitcoin's price was much lower back then, and miners had little apart from the promise that things will change someday. However, as mentioned, the process itself was easier, and it could be done without professional equipment, which is why many of the original miners decided to give the mining industry a chance.
As time progressed, Bitcoin started gaining value, and more people were attracted to it, which meant that more people entered the mining business as well. Soon, the process became more complex, there was more competition, and while BTC price did grow, so did the amount of resources needed to mine the coins. This did not only include more electricity, but also more complex gear, and miners went from a regular CPU to higher-speed graphics cards or GPU.
At the same time, the award for solving blocks was cut in half due to design, which reduced the reward. However, it was still profitable to mine Bitcoin due to the higher price of the coins, and the process continued until the mining industry got quite crowded. This led to the creation of mining farms and mining pools, which make it nearly impossible to mine coins by yourself.
These days, Bitcoin, as well as many other digital assets, requires professional mining rigs called ASIC miners. Without them, a miner does not stand a chance against the competition, and even if they did, their PC's CPU or GPU would likely get damaged as they are not strong enough to handle the network's difficulty.
The Problem With Crypto Mining Today
One of the larger complications regarding crypto mining emerged when ASIC miners appeared. As mentioned, this is special mining equipment that is far more efficient than CPU or a GPU, which started complicating things right from the start. It was not long before large mining farms were forced into existence in the race to gather more computing power and beat the competition.
Some crypto projects even decided to use ASIC-resistant hashing algorithms, including Ethereum. Monero is another example of a project that does not support ASIC miners. The project even has to go as far as to change the algorithm from time to time. This is something that ASICs cannot do, and changing the algorithm even for a bit makes them completely useless. However, ASIC producers are attempting to find ways to mine unnoticed, which did work for a time, until a pattern created by the mining rigs was noticed.
However, even though there is a power struggle out there, trying to determine who has the most hashing power and who should win each new block — there are still coins out there which can be mined by using nothing except for your PC with a regular CPU/GPU.
Mining With A CPU
CPU mining is relatively simple, as most blockchains have mechanisms that make the network more complex to solve if there is more computing power around, and simpler to solve if there is a lesser amount. In other words, with more computing power, the complexity of the network increases, and the confirmation time for one block remains constant.
With that in mind, some cryptocurrencies can still be mined with only a CPU even today, including Monero, Dogecoin, or ZCash.
1. Monero (XMR)
Like Bitcoin, Monero uses PoW algorithm for verifying transactions, but since it doesn't allow ASICs, it can still be mined with a CPU with not many issues. This makes it perfect for small miners who cannot afford expensive mining gear. All that miners need to do is create a wallet for their coins, and ensure that they have a lot of disk space available. And if they are using the latest version of Monero wallets, they can synchronize it with a remote node, which can cut down synchronization time and require almost no space at all.
2. Dogecoin (DOGE)
Dogecoin came to be as a joke cryptocurrency, as it was based on a 2013 meme. However, it quickly gained a lot of popularity, and it still remains among the most popular coins in the world, even though its price is still low compared to that of more valuable coins. Like with monero, Dogecoin mining requires a wallet, but also the creation of an account on one of the mining pools that mine DOGE. After that, downloading an appropriate mining program and configuring it is all it takes to start the process.
3. Zcash (ZEC)
Next, there is Zcash, which has pretty much the same requirements as the previous two examples. Miners should choose a mining pool and register, set up a wallet and enter its address to their mining pool account, pick a proper mining software and install it, and they are ready to start. After obtaining any of these coins, miners can choose to keep them or exchange them for Bitcoin or some other crypto in one of the many crypto exchanges that support these coins.
Mining With A GPU
Then, there is GPU mining, which uses graphics processors. The process requires a video card that can be built into a PC or linking several devices into a single system. The process works as video cards were designed for processing large quantities of data, and they are fast when it comes to performing operations of the same type. Coins that can be mined via GPU mining include examples such as Bitcoin Gold, Horizen, or Zclassic.
1. Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
Bitcoin Gold is a version of Bitcoin that aims to bring the mining back to individual PCs instead of using large mining farms. To eliminate ASICs, Bitcoin Gold abandoned the regular Bitcoin's crypto algorithm — SHA-256 — and implemented Equihash.
2. Horizen (ZEN)
Horizen, formerly known as Zencash, is a coin that was launched in May 2017. It is based on Zerocoin protocol, which makes it a member of quite an extensive digital family. It features public and a private blockchain, and it allows quick transactions and guaranteed anonymity whenever it is needed. Furthermore, its blockchain can also be used as a private messenger, as it allows the exchange of encrypted messages.
3. Zclassic (ZCL)
Finally, there is Zclassic, which is Zcash's fork, with the main difference between them being the fact that the entire ZCL reward goes to miners themselves, while Zcash provides a portion of a reward (20%) to developers. This makes ZCL potentially more profitable for mining today, which might be worth considering.