Bitcoin is in the news lately, as the price recovers from a low period due to uncertainty, and the fact that it is catching on big time in China. It helped that the US Department of Justice recently declared that Bitcoin is a “legal means of exchange” – this is the first time the currency has been legitimized by American agencies officially.
The problem with bitcoin mining on your own is that the difficulty has ramped up to the point where it is no longer feasible to mine with low-power high-wattage devices like video cards. A GPU capable of hashing at 300 mH/s at 200w would have been fine a year ago, but today it costs more in power than you will get back based on current exchange rates.
We wrote about Litecoin as an alternative cryptocurrency before, and it is just as useful as ever for people to get into casual bitcoin mining. With recent price increases, it is still viable to mine LTC, and sell it for BTC, turning it into a profit. Take a look at this chart, which is accurate as of November 22, 10:00 pm PST
Power cost USD
Net USD 1y
- Bitcoin Mining vs Litecoin using a Radeon 7870 / R9 270X
- Rates are per 1 week, unless specified
- Rates are as of November 22, 2013
- BTC Rate: $696, LTC Rate: $8.32, BTC<>LTC Rate: 0.0132
- Electricity cost: $0.13/kWh, Power Consumption: 200W
This mining is being done with the exact same hardware, but using LTC and converting it to BTC multiplies the mining rate by 10X. It is easy to deposit your Litecoin to btc-e.com and sell it for Bitcoin at the current rate if you wish.
Another alternative is to just hang onto your Litecoin, selling just enough to pay back the power bill. Or diversify some of it into Bitcoin and keep holding onto all of it, considering the power bill as your USD investment. This is what I am doing, as I don’t think Bitcoin is anywhere close to being as valuable as it will be, should it ever go fully mainstream. Personally, I am in it for the long haul, not trying to make a quick buck on these huge leaps and crashes.
So if you want to get in on some light bitcoin mining without having to sink cash into it aside from a higher power bill, you might want to give this a try. It would be even better if you can sell the Bitcoin in China, where it is selling for ¥4785.00 right now. That would double your profit, but you’d have to somehow get the money out of a bank in China.
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