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Despite all the events in the world, we can say that 2020 is quite positive for the crypto world for now. We have seen a jump in the prices of various cryptocurrencies, as well as the emergence of some completely new projects with full potential. Everything looks as if the crypto winter has passed and that we can expect a much better situation in 2021. As cryptocurrency prices rise, so does interest in mining some coins. In this text, we will go through what we can expect in the field of mining in the coming period.
Ethereum and ETH 2.0 mining
Ethereum is moving unstoppably towards a complete Proof-of-Stake model which can potentially be very good for this project because it offers big improvements over the current situation. The transition from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake also means that ethereum mining will be completely shut down, as all blocks will be validated using PoS nodes.
This process takes place gradually, and the complete shutdown of the Proof-of-Work model is expected in phase 1.5 of the Ethereum 2.0 implementation. This means that ethereum mining will stop during 2021 if there is no delay. Landfills of a similar type have occurred before, so some sources claim that it will be possible to mine ethereum until 2023.
What to do when Ethereum becomes a complete Proof-of-Stake?
If you use graphics cards to mine ethereum, you can switch to mining another coin. In case you use ASIC, the choice of the next cryptocurrency for mining will be significantly smaller. You will only be able to mine cryptocurrencies that use the ethash algorithm.
The problem with ASIC ethash miners will arise when everyone switches to other ethash coins. This will significantly increase the difficulty of digging these coins, and the profitability will decrease by that much.
Keep in mind that all miners will stop mining ethereum at the same time and will have to find an alternative. This could potentially make mining unprofitable for a large number of miners no matter what cryptocurrency the miners use.
Ethereum DAG file size
Another important news for ethereum miners is that the size of the DAG file will soon exceed 4GB, which means that ethereum mining with graphics cards that have less than 4GB of memory will no longer be possible. The exact date when the DAG file exceeds 4GB is December 23rd. If your cards have more than 4GB of memory you will not have any problems.
It is assumed that a part of the miners will decide to sell 4 GB cards, so we can soon expect much more affordable prices for used cards on our market.
In the following part of the text, we will consider how to find new coins for mining, if you decide not to sell your equipment.
New mining equipment
This year, we have witnessed the introduction of new series of processors and graphics cards that are, judging by the performance, at least two generations ahead of expectations. Nvidia unveiled a series of RTX 30 cards with incredible performance in September, and AMD unveiled a series of Ryzen 5000 processors in October, as well as a new series of RX 6000 graphics cards that should match the RTX 30 in terms of performance. The RX 6000 series will be officially released during November and December, so we don't yet know the specific performance of these cards when it comes to mining. Although the new products are significantly better in terms of performance than the previous generation, the prices of these products have remained affordable.
Better performance for typical computer shops (business and gaming) does not mean that mining performance will be just as much better.
We currently know that the most powerful RTX 3090 series card delivers around 120Mh / s on an ethash algorithm with a power consumption of 300W. At current prices, that means that for 24 hours of mining, you can expect a fee between 3 and 4 dollars, which is very little for the price of this card. The starting price of this card is 1,499 USD.
The RTX 3080 card with a starting price of 799 USD gives 80Mh / s, and the RTX 3070 of 499 USD gives only 60Mh / s. There are a lot of better options right now, but you should definitely wait for the mining software to be optimized for these cards.
Mining of new coins
How to choose the right coin for mining? There are two strategies that need to be well thought out.
The first strategy involves looking at the current profitability of mining a coin and constantly changing what you are mining. It often happens that small and little-known coins are the most profitable. Their profitability can change very quickly, so you will have to constantly check the condition. To avoid the volatility that comes with lesser known coins, you can transfer what you mine to bitcoin, ethereum or some other better known coin.
This strategy requires constant attention and a lot of technical knowledge because it is necessary to adjust the hardware to mine a different coin each time. You will also need an account at each exchange office that supports the coin you are currently mining so you can change it to a better one.
There are several different sites where you can see the current profitability for a large number of coins. The first site you can use is CoinWarz. You need to enter the hashrate of your hardware for each algorithm separately, as well as the consumption and price of electricity.
An alternative could be WhatToMine. This site works on a similar principle as CoinWarz. The main difference is that WhatToMine offers the option to enter the number of cards you have and gives an estimate of the hashrate, while for a calculator on CoinWarz you need to know in advance how many hashrates you have for each algorithm.
Another option is to use software like NiceHash. This software automatically finds the most profitable mining coin and adjusts your hardware itself, and pays the earnings into the coin you choose. The disadvantage of this software is that it charges a large usage fee.
The second strategy is of the speculative type because it requires you to find a coin that has good potential, but is still not so popular and is not on larger exchange offices. The difficulty of digging such coins is very small and you can mine a large number of coins in a short time. Ideally, as interest in that coin grows, so will its price. You don’t need to constantly take profitability into account, but it goes without saying that you have researched the project well.
Both strategies have their advantages and disadvantages and carry with them risks. It is important that you understand these risks well and that you do not invest more than what you are willing to lose.