So, I’ve spent the last several days just sitting back and watching my USI Tech account accumulate value. Since I have some spare hardware lying around, I thought that today I’d try some crypto mining and see what happens. Now I’m not deluding myself into thinking I’m going to make a ton of money doing this. I’ve known for a long time that mining for cryptocurrency is an uphill battle against the big mining farms all over the world where the electricity prices are ridiculously cheap. So let’s dig in.
There are plenty of sites that talk about mining bitcoin and mining altcoins so I will give you my simple definition. If you want a more detailed explanation of what’s going on, you can search google. In a nutshell, mining involves using a computer (or dedicated hardware) to solve a complex math problem. If you solve it, you are awarded a small amount of the coin you are mining for. There are two basic algorithms used by all the miners in the world. The first is primarily used for Bitcoin and that’s SHA-256. The one I’m focusing on today is used by most altcoins and that’s scrypt. Different hardware is used for each algorithm so it’s rare to have a single hardware solution that mines for both SHA-256 and scrypt currencies.
I’m focusing on scrypt mining today for two reasons. First, most altcoins can still be profitable in the right conditions. You determine whether or not it’s “profitable” to mine based on how many coins you can mine per day and the amount of electricity it takes to mine those coins. If you can make more money than it costs to power the unit, it’s a profitable venture. Second, I have some spare hardware lying around that is capable of mining scrypt.
So, to get started, here’s a list of all the items I’m using:
You will want to plug the Gridseed and the Raspberry Pi into a power strip and plug the power strip into the Kill A Watt so you can see how much power you are using to do the mining.
OK, this is going to get a bit technical but this is a step by step guide to getting the Gridseed miner working with a Raspberry Pi in 2017. Most documentation on setting up this ancient piece of hardware are several years old and the links are all dead now but I did find this guide which seems to be working so far. I’m going to walk through this and document the process.
$ sudo ./cgminer –scrypt -o stratum+tcp://us-east.multipool.us:7777 -u username.threadid -p x –gridseed-options=baud=115200,freq=888,chips=5
You should see some output from the cgminer:
Once you’ve verified that your miner is working (log into the pool’s website and make sure your worker threads are being identified), you can set the miner to start on reboot.
Shut down the Raspberry Pi and plug everything into a power strip and plug the power strip into the Kill A Watt. Record how much power you are consuming while mining. As you can see, in my system, I am consuming about 11 Watts of power while mining. That’s the beauty of mining with a Raspberry Pi. I may not be getting massive money quickly but I’m also not spending a lot in power either.
At 11 Watts, I will draw 0.011 kW/h. Over the course of a year that would be 96.36 kW of power. At my current rate of approximately 0.07 per kW/h running this all year, 24×7 will cost me $6.74. If I can generate more than $6.74 of AltCoin over the year then this will be a profitable venture. I will post progress every so often.
Steve has been a crypto enthusiast for 5 years but only started learning the technology seriously in June of 2017. Since then, he's become widely known as a cryptocurrency expert.