Bitcoin and Ethereum are the two most popular cryptocurrencies out there. While Bitcoin is merely a cryptocurrency, Ethereum is much more than that. It is a ledger technology that allows organizations to create a broad array of programs. If Bitcoin was version 1.0, Ethereum is 2.0, enabling the development of decentralized applications (dApps) on it. Simply put, it promises a new age of innovation.
The entire platform is decentralized, which means that it doesn’t come with a single point of failure – a common problem in centralized solutions. Therefore, all the applications built on Ethereum will always stay online. In addition, the cryptographic security implemented in Ethereum protects it against a myriad of possible fraudulent activities and hacking attacks.
Ethereum is not unlike any other cryptocurrency platform. In fact, it receives support from the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, a group of Fortune 500 companies that have agreed to collaborate on smart contracts, Ethereum’s blockchain-based technology.
A smart contract is a piece of computer code that allows users to make a transaction involving anything – gold, company shares, property, and of course, money. Here are the core benefits of Ethereum:
- Transactions on Ethereum are immutable, meaning no one can tamper with the data, even the uploader.
- The consensus mechanism in Ethereum prevents the need for an intermediary. That is also why smart contracts are independent.
- Since there are no third-party fees involved, Ethereum provides faster and cheaper transactions.
Over the last years, Ethereum has proven itself as a stable and safe platform. Applications built on it have been running exactly as envisioned, without any fraud or downtime. These apps are disrupting several industries, include real estate, finance, and insurance. These apps include:
Need more details on Ethereum’s applications? Reach out to us right now. cryptocapers.com
Should You Buy Used Mining Rigs? Yes. Well maybe…. And perhaps no.
The option to buy used mining rigs is a tempting one. With the madness surrounding crypto mining and alt-coins, many people are going to look into building their own mining rigs. While this isn’t a huge undertaking for those who are quite computer savvy, what about those who aren’t? Building a mining rig yourself can be quite daunting if you don’t understand the basics of building a computer from the ground up. This would lead many to look towards eBay and Craigslist to shop for used mining rigs that other miners are trying to sell. But is it worth it?
Arguments In Favor to Buy Used Mining Rigs
Difficult to Source
Sourcing hardware for a mining rig build can be somewhat difficult. The main issue that one would encounter in acquiring the hardware for a mining rig is limitations on GPU quantities you can purchase. Many retailers, such as NewEgg.com, will have a limit of one per customer per purchase. Getting the bulk of your GPUs may be difficult, so buying a rig with all the parts sourced may be an attractive option to some.
Assembly is Complicated
Building a mining rig is also quite an undertaking in and of itself. It requires more than a working knowledge of assembling a normal desktop PC, as you’ll be required to run PCI-E USB riser cards and possibly need to daisy-chain power supplies in order to get the entire rig up and running. Buying used mining rigs with all of the assembly, troubleshooting, and OS installation and configuration done for you may be an attractive prospect.
Arguments Against Used Mining Rigs
As with any used PC, you can never be fully certain how old all the parts are or how long they will last. Additionally, people selling their mining rigs are looking to get out of the mining business altogether, so their rigs will be sold as-is. So a warranty will most often be off the table when dealing in used mining rigs. Once you drive off with it, it’s yours. When you buy used mining rigs you are taking on no small amount of risk.
Used rigs could also contain dated or aging hardware. Dated hardware means the GPUs are from previous generations, and thus offer less hashing power. Aging hardware could mean your used rig won’t mine for a long enough period of time to recoup your investment, much less turn a profit. A key talking point when speaking with the seller would be to ask how long the rig has been mining. If it’s been up and running for longer than a year, it’s probably best to not buy it – you’re on borrowed time. And if the hardware is dated, avoid it altogether. Dated hardware isn’t able to keep up with the mining difficulty to produce viable hashing power. This means it will take far longer to recoup your initial investment, if you recoup it at all.
Price is also a major consideration for buying mining rigs. Due to the nature of cryptocurrency mining, GPU prices are overly inflated, even on the used market. This was covered more in-depth in my previous article. This will lead to mining rigs being sold at above retail price for new equipment, as even used GPUs are being sold for more than MSRP. And you can bet your bottom dollar that any miner looking to get out of the cryptocurrency mining game will look to fully recoup all the money they spent on their rig, so they will sell it for the highest price that people will pay. Given the hype around crypto mining, this means seeing used mining rigs going for north of $4,000 will be the norm.
The main thing one should always do when looking to buy used is to research the price of the individual components before contacting the seller. Purchasing etiquette dictates that one should do all their research regarding pricing before they arrange to meet the seller. This will allow you room to haggle if you know what you’re buying. Plus, it’s considered rude to meet with a seller and begin research while you’re on their time.
Typical Craigslist Ads for Used Mining Rigs
My Opinion: Should You Buy Used Mining Rigs?
With the main pros and cons laid out, my professional opinion is that it can be reasonable to buy used mining rigs. If, and I stress IF, you can find a good deal where the sum of the parts is at or below MSRP, it may be worthwhile for you to buy a used rig. Since the rig will come assembled, you should expect to pay a little extra for that luxury. How much extra you find reasonable is completely subjective.
Now for my conditions:
- Condition 1: You must be comfortable replacing parts if/when they go out. I would highly recommend you only buy a used rig if you have a friend or loved one with the knowledge necessary. That, or you’ll need to be willing to spend hours pouring over how-to’s and in-depth guides on the web to figure out how to troubleshoot and replace any issues that arise with your rig.
- Condition 2: One should be able to comfortably absorb the cost of the mining rig if the entire enterprise goes belly-up. Buying used mining rigs will almost never come with a warranty or guarantee.
- Condition 3: Understand the hashing power of the rig you’re buying. It will be essential to understand just how much cryptocurrency you should expect to mine with your rig so you can plan your ROI. If the rig won’t pay for itself within a year, don’t buy it.
Given the volatility of the cryptocurrency market and the inherent dangers of investing in cryptocurrency, I must add the following disclaimer: the above article was written as my opinion, and should be taken as such. We (myself and CryptoCapers.com) are not responsible for any losses incurred by any reader investing in the cryptocurrency market, mining rigs, or ASIC mining equipment, using any advice we have published as guidance in buying used mining rigs or any other mining hardware. The cryptocurrency market is extremely risky and volatile, and our advice should only be used as part of one’s research into any crypto mining or investing. If you are in doubt, or if high risk isn’t for you, then don’t pull the trigger. But if you’re eager to take a risk in hopes of making real money in the future, then by all means, join us and the rest of the crypto pioneers and invest in mining your own cryptocurrency.
GPU Availability Trending Downward – Cryptomining is the Culprit.
Ask anyone looking to build a PC for gaming or cryptomining and they’ll tell you the same story: GPU availability trending downward is reality. As a result of supply and demand GPU prices are through the roof. A recent boom in popularity of cryptocurrencies, like Ethereum or Monero, has led to a record high demand for GPUs driven by crypto mining. Such high popularity of cryptocurrencies has led to GPU prices trending upward. Yet, higher prices aren’t helping shore up supply. Both major retailers of consumer-end graphics cards, Nvidia and AMD, are experiencing a supply shortfall. Their core markets are also suffering from this relatively sudden price increase and poor availability.
GPU Availability Trending Downward is not an accident….
Demand Far Exceeds Supply
Even with prices for consumer cards on a steady rise, many retailers and even GPU manufacturers can’t seem to keep GPUs in stock. But the rise in GPUs scooped up for cryptocoin mining isn’t the sole culprit in this matter. ASIC manufacturers, such as Bitmain, are buying out major foundries so they can keep pace with demand for ASIC miners. This puts foundries like TSMC at a production deficit when it comes to supplying GPU manufacturers like Nvidia and AMD.
While your average end-user won’t notice a huge difference, this shortage is impacting small-time altcoin miners and gamers alike. Prices are being driven ever higher by major mining corporations buying their GPUs en masse from major distributors in China. GPUs are being bought in such bulk that consumers aren’t able to get their hands on a high-end graphics card without paying a hefty price, if they are able to obtain one at all. With markets devoid of stock, and demand doubling or even tripling supply, even having the money doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to buy the graphics card you want. That’s where GPU availability trending downward hits hardest.
With massive supply shortfalls, GPU manufacturer Nvidia is trying to limit who buys their GPUs. According to Nvidia spokesman Boris Böhles: “For NVIDIA, gamers come first. All activities related to our Geforce product line are targeted at our main audience. To ensure that Geforce gamers continue to have good Geforce graphics card availability in the current situation, we recommend that our trading partners make the appropriate arrangements to meet gamers’ needs as usual.”
AMD has similar issues. Trying to get the latest Radeon graphics card will likely cost you a small fortune, if you’re able to buy one at all. AMD’s Radeon line tends to be more popular with miners due to their reputation of having better mining efficiency than Nvidia’s GeForce line. This leads to getting all but the most entry-level Radeon cards nearly impossible.
With supply issues and the wide unavailability of AMD’s Radeon RX 500 series, AMD is also putting gamers first. According to an AMD spokesperson in an email to CNBC, “The gaming market remains our priority. We are seeing solid demand for our Polaris-based offerings in the gaming and newly resurgent cryptocurrency mining markets based on the strong performance we are delivering.”
The Future for GPUs
While the short-term is definitely horrible for end-users, answers may be just over the horizon. With both major GPU manufacturers acknowledging the problem, perhaps we’re on the cusp of a revolution in GPU technology. We may be seeing the major GPU players developing graphics cards geared specifically at miners while still innovating and improving graphics cards for the hardcore gamers. Only time will tell. One thing is for certain: current GPU market trends are unsustainable for both the miners and the gamers of the world.
Ethereum Rising as a Cryptocoin Investment Because Bitcoin Can’t Rule the World.
Largely unnoticed because Bitcoin is hogging the spotlight is the value of Ethereum’s currrency is rising as well as Litecoin. Ethereum rising as a cryptocoin investment is escaping almost everyone’s notice except for Ethereum enthusiasts who are very quietly making a lot of money. Indeed, Ethereum broke the $700 mark this morning and is up a whopping 80% in the past week. The question that begs asking is: why?
For starters, a project named the Massive Autonomous Distributed Reconciliation program (Madrec) was announced this week and will be led by UBS with involvement from Barclays, Credit Suisse, KBC, SIX and Thomson Reuters. Anyone who knows anything about finance already knows some financial heavyweight firms are behind this. Financial news has been focused almost entirely on various blockchain experiments (to wit Bank of America, among others) alongside CBOE Bitcoin futures trading this week and CME trading scheduled to start next week.
Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum is the forgotten stepchild of cryptocurrency and this is an unfortunate oversight. To its credit, Ethereum has become the second largest digital currency in the world over the past two years. After launching in 2015, the value of Ethereum’s currency, otherwise known as Ether, has increased by over 9000% in the past 12 months according to Coinbase. Bitcoin’s rise, on a purely percentage basis, is pocket change by comparison. That’s why Ethereum rising as a cryptocoin investment platform makes empirical sense.
With Ether being the third most valuable cryptocurrency and the digital currency with the second highest market value, Ether has grown in popularity in a surprisingly select audience of seemingly savants of cryptocoin. when one considers the overall cryptocurrency economic explosion already underway.
We provided some Ethereum coverage recently and you can expect more from us in the weeks and months ahead.
Ethereum (and Litecoin) are on a steady, more stable rise in price which might be more compatible with the comfort zones of some cryptocoin investors. Looking ahead, we see Ethereum rising as a cryptocoin investment of value in the near-term as a viable alternative – or addition to – Bitcoin investing.
Creating a Bitcoin Wallet
In my last installment, I had just completed my first mining rig and researched my cryptocurrency of choice. I then realized that I needed a bitcoin wallet, but I had no idea what this entailed.
You see, the layman’s conceptualization of a wallet is one that is made of durable material, holds physical cash and an array of cards, and folds up neatly enough to fit in one’s pocket. This concept isn’t too far off for a crypto wallet for holding Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. But it’s still far more abstract and requires a decent amount of configuration. (If you haven’t read my previous installment in this series, you should first check it out here)
Offline Wallets – Bitcoin Core
The first bitcoin wallet you will typically find when doing your initial research is included in a program known as Bitcoin Core. This is a wallet that you have to store locally on your own PC, and you are wholly responsible for backing it up and maintaining its security. If you do not keep your offline wallet safe, you are apt to lose any and all Bitcoin and/or other cryptocurrencies you mine or buy. This will mean you lose your investment, which is much like losing your own wallet filled with cash.
Bitcoin Core – Initial Setup
There is no assurance of safety and no expectation that any Bitcoin you keep in an offline wallet will remain if you don’t perform due diligence and keep your offline wallet secure and backed up. This is the biggest con to using a wallet in this manner. However, if you safeguard your Bitcoin in an offline bitcoin wallet, you can greatly protect it from most fees that come with using online wallets, which will be discussed later.
Bitcoin Core – Ready to Send and Receive
Online Wallets – Coinbase
The next option I researched when starting down my path to mining Bitcoin was using online wallets, such as Coinbase. Online wallets usually resemble online bank accounts. They typically allow you to buy, sell, and exchange Bitcoin and other supported cryptocurrencies in real time. Additionally, online wallets will allow you to send and receive coins to and from other users for goods and/or services rendered elsewhere.
In my travels, I settled on using Coinbase as my online wallet of choice. Coinbase only deals in 3 cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Lytecoin. However, Coinbase is highly reliable and very well respected in the world of cryptocurrency. Given their track record, I decided to use them as my online wallet provider. Thus far, in my 6 months of mining and trading crytpocurrencies, I’ve made several purchases of Bitcoin and Ethereum. And as far as ease of use is concerned, Coinbase is tops in my book. I’ve never had any problems with my transactions, and receiving my coins has always gone smoothly.
Another feature that is useful in using an online bitcoin wallet is that you can have your mining pool accounts automatically transfer your mined Bitcoin to your online wallet using a specific receiving address. For more on sending and receiving addresses, please consult this extensive guide. I’ll share my experiences with mining pools in my next installment.
Paper Wallets – A Bitcoin Wallet with Paper
Paper wallets can be used in a very similar way to offline wallets by manner of storing your coins offline. Rather than using a hard drive or other hardware, they are stored on a piece of paper that has a public and private key, as well as a QR code. These wallets are fully offline, and they will hold any amount of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency as you want to store on them, but they do require either an offline or online wallet to load them with Bitcoin.
Paper wallets can be extremely secure, as they only exist in a paper format, and are only known to you and anyone with which you share the private key. The biggest caveat is that if you lose this private key, you lose all the funds loaded onto it. The vast majority of people will use paper wallets to fully store their Bitcoin offline, and paper wallets will typically be stored in a safe.
Bitcoin Paper Wallet Example
I purchased a paper wallet from a seller on eBay during my experimentation. Therefore, I understand first-hand just how volatile and scary the concept of storing Bitcoin on a paper wallet can be. Using a paper wallet is entirely too risky for myself, and should be considered as such for fellow newbies. Paper wallets are an extreme way to keep your cryptocurrencies offline and away from most fees associated with online wallets. However, paper wallets are extremely vulnerable to theft, disaster, or simply being lost. For this option, I advise you avoid it unless you can stomach the enormous risk that comes with the territory.
Well, we now have a wallet for our coins! Next time, we’ll explore mining pools in an in-depth manner. Look to this space for more of my adventures in Bitcoin!
[ Editor’s note: A bitcoin wallet or a wallet to hold any kind of cryptocoin is something every cryptocurrency investor needs – not just coin miners. Eric wrote an article that everybody can benefit from. ]