Now You Can Mine Bitcoin in Your House

Micro Bitcoin mining devices are frequently open-source and conveniently sized for portability. However, they cater to a niche market segment by providing users with a choice between acquiring a pre-assembled unit or a DIY kit for solo Bitcoin mining.

But before we go deeper, let’s take a sneak peek at Bitcoin Mining.

What Is Bitcoin Mining?

Bitcoin mining is the intricate process of adding transactions to the decentralized public ledger, the Bitcoin blockchain. Here, Bitcoin miners employ high-powered computers to tackle complex mathematical problems, validating and integrating transactions into the blockchain. The blockchain rewards the miners with freshly minted BTC in return for their efforts. The whole process is the proof-of-work (PoW).

The mining procedure for Bitcoin involves cracking a sophisticated mathematical puzzle or hash. For this, miners utilize specialized software and hardware. Consequently, we measure the mining speed in hash per sec and refer to this metric as hash rate.

Mining Bitcoin demands substantial computational muscle and energy, with puzzle complexity surging over time. As the number of miners in the network increases, so does the difficulty of puzzle-solving. As a result, it is more arduous and less profitable for individual miners to participate.

Typically, cryptocurrency mining relies on GPUs or high-performance hardware. However, compared to GPU mining rigs, application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) mining equipment is designed explicitly for crypto mining. This is why ASIC miners are more potent and energy-efficient than comparable GPU miners. Now, you might wonder if mining cryptocurrency using your smartphone is feasible.

Proof-of-work (PoW) cryptocurrencies like BTC can indeed be mined on smartphones. Especially by small-scale miners who join mining pools to combine their computing power and enhance their chances of mining a block.

Nonetheless, the computing power supplied by smartphones pales compared to ASICs. It results in payouts roughly commensurate with their contribution. Additionally, smartphone mining places undue stress on the device, reducing its lifespan. Many mining apps are considered illegitimate and prohibited even on the Play Store. These factors make smartphone mining an unattractive option. So what’s the next best option? Cheap dedicated mining hardware!

Bitaxe Ultra: A New Miner On The ‘Block’

The world saw an already operational prototype for a new, compact Bitcoin miner, Bitaxe Ultra. It’s the brainchild of an electrical engineer, Skot, and boasts an impressive hash rate of 0.5 terahashes per second (T/s).

Initially inspired by Bitmain’s BM1397 and BM1387 models, Bitaxe Ultra’s design journey took an interesting twist. According to its creator’s Twitter revelation, the latest model harnesses the BM1366 for its mining capabilities.

Bitaxe Ultra’s hardware is fully open source and packs a powerful punch with an energy output of 20 Joules per terahash while consuming just 10 watts per month. Skot engineered it to meet several critical objectives, including connecting directly to mining pools via WiFi without needing an external computer. Furthermore, it offers the flexibility to adjust its power, temperature, and energy efficiency settings automatically.

Skot underscores Bitaxe Ultra’s cost-effective, low-maintenance, and dependable operation. However, it’s important to note that this equipment is intentionally designed to be low-power, as highlighted in its repository. The Bitaxe Ultra version has undergone testing and proven its functionality. While it’s operational, some features, such as the ESP32 firmware, are still in development.

Bitcoin Miner Or A Lottery Miner?

It’s essential to recognize that this miner doesn’t stand toe-to-toe with its standard-sized counterparts due to its limited capacity. The Bitcoin enthusiasts affectionately refer to such devices as “lottery miners.”

This term parallels lottery tickets, signifying an affordable entry point into Bitcoin mining, albeit with an exceedingly low likelihood of discovering a block. To put it into perspective, you need approximately 26 Bitaxe Ultra units to match the power of a single Antminer S9.

Here’s an example for those feeling fortunate: Last year, two solo Bitcoin miners independently mined their Bitcoin blocks within two days, relying solely on a few mining chips.

These miners leveraged the solo mining software Solo CK Pool, which, in contrast to conventional pools, acts as a web proxy for Bitcoin miners. Successful miners retain 98% of all rewards, with the remaining 2% allocated to the administrator for hardware maintenance, code enhancements, and related tasks.

But it’s crucial to note that the odds of securing a Bitcoin block reward with a single rig are estimated to be around one in 1.1 billion, akin to a lottery draw. Remarkably, SoloCK miners have claimed seven blocks over the past six months and 261 since its inception.

While it may seem simplistic to equate participation in the Bitcoin consensus to a mere lottery, these small miners serve as an ideal entry point for engaging with blockchain tech in its purest form. After all, tinkering with this technology could potentially reward you with a (nearly) perpetual lottery ticket.

A Stand Against The ‘Traditional’ BTC Miners!

Moreover, these compact Bitcoin miners represent a stand against the prevailing “secrecy and exclusivity” that shrouds the Bitcoin mining industry. In stark contrast to Bitcoin’s open-source ethos, the well-known Bitcoin ASIC mining rigs are typically closed-source, creating a significant hurdle for the production and distribution of Bitcoin miners, which commercial entities have long dominated.

Recent data sheds light on the geographic distribution of Bitcoin mining power. The United States leads the pack, contributing 35.4% of the Bitcoin hash rate, followed by Kazakhstan at 18.1%, Russia at 11.2%, and Canada at 9.6%. Notably, major mining giants such as Marathon Digital and Riot Blockchain in the U.S. and Bitdeer Technologies Group in Singapore play pivotal roles in the global mining landscape.

On a side note, BitMaker, a mining hardware company, has boldly asserted that crafting a Bitcoin miner can cost as little as $3 yet deliver a respectable output of 50-kilo hashes per second.

A Closer Look at Bitaxe Ultra

Per the specifications detailed in the mining equipment repository, this device’s core lies in the Bitmain BM1366 mining hardware, a variant Skot acquired from an “unknown seller” on AliExpress, specifically the “AG” variant. The engineer incorporated a cooling system comprising a heat sink and a 5V fan to optimize its performance.

Regrettably, Skot encountered some challenges as half of the components arrived damaged. Nevertheless, when he applied a thin layer of thermal compound, the intact components proved sufficient to maintain the device’s temperature within an acceptable range.

Additionally, Skot explains that the BM1366 operates at 1.8V and employs voltage adapters to interface with the ESP32, which operates at 3.3V. The device requires a 5V DC power supply. Moreover, this BitaxeUltra iteration features a USB port for ESP32 programming.

The BM1366, as explained by the electrical engineer, is an unlisted SHA256 ASIC miner manufactured by Bitmain, predominantly utilized in the Antminer S19XP. According to the manufacturer, this equipment boasts an energy efficiency of 0.021J/GH and can be acquired (new) for roughly $15 each in small quantities.

Notably, the Bitaxe Ultra (BM1366, S19XP) offers a slightly higher hash rate and improved efficiency. It incorporates several enhancements under the hood, making it a more versatile ASIC for design purposes. However, it comes at a higher cost than the BitaxeMax (BM1397, S17).

Should We Expect Profit From These Miners?

As mentioned, the Bitaxe Ultra boasts an impressive hash rate capacity of 0.5 T/s, making it stand out as one of the most potent miniature Bitcoin miners available.

To put this into perspective, consider other devices like a Raspberry Pi, which mines at a rate of 2.8 GH/s, the Jade hardware wallet from Blockstream with a processing speed of 80,000 H/s, and even the Game Boy Nintendo, with a meager hash rate of just 0.8 hashes per second. This stark comparison underscores the Bitaxe Ultra’s superior performance within its category.

However, Skot offers a dose of realism, cautioning potential buyers not to expect substantial Bitcoin earnings immediately. He acknowledges that while Bitaxe engineers are actively enhancing the miners’ efficiency, the primary goal of these portable miners isn’t for profit. He emphasizes that these compact miners aren’t designed to compete with the established commercial players in the industry. Instead, they allow individuals to operate a mining rig from the comfort of their homes without dealing with bulky, overheated, and costly mining rigs.

Should Skot succeed in his efforts to optimize the miniature ASIC, Bitaxe Ultra could emerge as a noteworthy contender in its niche. This achievement could potentially democratize Bitcoin mining and make it accessible to households worldwide.

Nonetheless, it’s essential to remember that the true essence of these portable miners goes beyond monetary gains. It’s about knowledge, understanding, and, in some cases, being part of a community. These devices empower individuals interested in building their miners, contributing, to some extent, to the decentralization of the system—an embodiment of the core principles driving Web3.

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The information discussed by Altcoin Buzz is not financial advice. This is for educational, entertainment, and informational purposes only. Any information or strategies are thoughts and opinions relevant to the accepted levels of risk tolerance of the writer/reviewers and their risk tolerance may be different than yours. We are not responsible for any losses that you may incur as a result of any investments directly or indirectly related to the information provided. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are high-risk investments so please do your due diligence. Copyright Altcoin Buzz Pte Ltd.


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