Learn Cryptocurrency
13 Jan 2021

All You Need To Know About Bitcoin Mining

CoinSwitch Kuber

An Introduction to Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin, one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies, has emerged as an attractive investment opportunity. Read on to learn more about this cryptocurrency, including the potential for Bitcoin mining for beginners. 

What is Bitcoin Mining?

‘Bitcoin mining’ refers to the process of adding new Bitcoins into circulation. During Bitcoin mining, computing systems running on specialized chips compete to solve a complex math problem or puzzle. The computing systems (also known as Bitcoin miners) solve complex math problems and the first one to solve the puzzle gets rewarded with Bitcoins. 

However, Bitcoin mining isn’t limited to the creation of new coins. Bitcoin mining also includes the validation of transactions on the distributed blockchain network. Since cryptocurrency transactions involve the sale or purchase of digital currency, Bitcoin miners are responsible for updating the transactions. These transactions are updated on the digital ledger, making Bitcoin miners valuable for legitimizing and monitoring transactions. Without a centralized authority like the central bank, Bitcoin miners play a vital role in ensuring that the network is secure from double-spending. 

Is Bitcoin Mining Easy?

For individuals who invest in Bitcoin mining, the primary motivation is to get rewards in crypto tokens. Bitcoin mining is a great way to acquire coins without spending the money required to purchase them. For tech enthusiasts, Bitcoin mining is an engaging pursuit which can fetch sizable returns. Yet, cryptocurrency mining is a tedious process that requires the services of complicated computer hardware. 

The first Bitcoin miners tapped ordinary computers with central processing units (CPUs) to mine new tokens. But with the number growing more complex, the process became painstakingly slow, and ordinary computers couldn’t sustain it. Professional Bitcoin miners know that using CPUs or even GPUs is not profitable any more because of the cost and time involved. Modern cryptocurrency miners use application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners to keep up with demands. These powerful computerised devices serve the special role of mining Bitcoin – which means the functions are optimized to achieve this specific goal.

How Does Bitcoin Mining Work?

Novices in the game know that a new Bitcoin is brought into circulation when a Bitcoin miner solves a highly complex math problem. While this is the general view, it’s in fact, a simplification of what happens during Bitcoin mining. To understand the concept further, let’s break down the most vital aspects of Bitcoin mining.  

’64-Digit Hexadecimal Number’

The Bitcoin mining process is understandably complicated and only advanced hardware can crack its code. The major mathematical problem Bitcoin miners tackle is the 64-digit hexadecimal number, also known as a hash. The miner rushes to create a 64-digit hexadecimal number with equal or less value to the target hash (in Bitcoin’s algorithm) during Bitcoin mining. 

The logic surrounding the 64-digit hex number might sound complicated, and indeed it is, to ordinary humans. But for machines and systems such as the built-in windows calculator system, the number is not that tough to compute. Math lovers know that the hexadecimal number system or the positional number system accommodates digits to the power of 16. Every digit is at least 16 times more valuable than the previous digit. 

To sum up, in Bitcoin mining, the computer systems guess a hexadecimal number less or equal to the hash to receive a Bitcoin reward.

What is the Bitcoin Mining Math Puzzle?

We already know that Bitcoin mining is all about solving the hashing problem. For Bitcoin miners, the main challenge is to reach the 64-digit combination first to get a solution. The process of finding the digit is considered the ultimate math puzzle, whose solution is a Bitcoin reward. 

Bitcoin Mining Math Puzzle

Despite its reputation and definition as a  puzzle or proof of work (PoW) algorithm, the math puzzle is guesswork. The computer systems try to guess a hexadecimal number less or equal to the hash through a brutal process of spitting out hashes at different rates. Since the process is tedious and tasking, only a few fast and advanced systems manage to find the number.

How Long Does It Take To Mine a Bitcoin?

Bitcoin mining is often compared to gold mining because of the value being created. Like all mining examples, Bitcoin mining is competitive and the time taken to reap the rewards depends on various factors. It takes about 10 minutes to mine a single Bitcoin (BTC) in an ideal situation. But this can vary according to multiple factors. 

New Bitcoin miners often wonder how long it takes to mine a Bitcoin. The answer to this lies in the kind of hardware and software at one’s disposal. The best machines perform optimally, with estimates indicating that it takes about 10 minutes to mine one block. For ordinary computing systems, the process can take up to 30 days. 

Is Bitcoin Mining Profitable?

Most ventures with high rewards require substantial upfront investments and Bitcoin mining is no exception. Reports indicate that Bitcoin miners are generally successful. However, once the upfront costs are factored in, the profitability varies. Bitcoin mining in India can be highly profitable if one owns specialised machines optimised for cryptocurrency mining. 

Bitcoin mining is designed to create at least 144 blocks every day, which are up for grabs for miners every 24 hours. With the number of Bitcoin gained by a Bitcoin miner per discovered block estimated at 6.25BTC, the profits are significant for individual actors. However, most Bitcoin miners are small miners who opt for mining pools so that equipment and electricity costs can be shared. Mining pools make it possible to share resources and risks, but reduce profits per discovered block as it is split among participants.

How To Get Bitcoin Using A Mining Pool

btc mining - Mining Pool

The fastest way for small miners to gain Bitcoin is to join a mining pool. With mining pools, participants can save the costs of  setting up expensive equipment and electricity . Mining pools have many advantages, including higher chances of earning Bitcoin rewards every day. Most mining pools divide the rewards in proportion to each participant’s hashing power or computing power.

Some factors you need to consider when choosing a mining pool:

  • Fees: Mining pools charge fees for participants. Before joining, find out the percentage they plan to take from the reward payout. 
  • Security: New mining pools come up each day and participants may end up getting swindled. It’s essential to join reputable pools to get value for your efforts. 
  • Size: Mining pools can be extensive and the higher the number of participants, the higher the chances of discovering new blocks. But remember, big pools mean smaller payouts. Consider the most crucial aspect for you before joining any pool. 
  • Capabilities: Some mining pools rent hash power to users, facilitating their participation with access to hardware and software. Checking out the potential of your pool’s cloud mining can help calculate your returns. 

How To Mine Bitcoin On Your Own

To mine Bitcoin, you can also choose to go solo. Bitcoin miners used ordinary CPUs in the past, but the calculations have become more complex . Modern Bitcoin mining requires Advanced Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) machines built specifically for mining. The choice of the ASIC machine determines the speed and power consumption that Bitcoin mining entails. 

If you choose to mine Bitcoin independently, you need to consider the costs involved carefully. Your major cost-heads include equipment and electricity costs, market fluctuations and the frequency of upgrading your hardware. It is possible to mine Bitcoin using your mobile device. But, while crypto mobile mining works, it has several disadvantages, including the fact that it’s not as efficient as heavy machines.

Bitcoin Energy Consumption

  • How Does Bitcoin Mining Use Fossil Fuels?

While Bitcoin has revolutionised monetary practices, mining has attracted some bad publicity for its high energy consumption. The Bitcoin mining process is energy-intensive because the computer systems involved in the process utilise electricity generated from fossil fuels. Since Bitcoin prices fluctuate over time, increases in prices lead to more electricity consumption as more users join the network. 

  • Mining vs Staking – A Comparison

Bitcoin mining operates on the ability of computers in the system to solve puzzles for the hash. However, the user incurs significant costs using a GPU or ASIC to mine blocks. On the other hand, Bitcoin staking achieves the goal of validating transactions using an alternative approach. During staking, users place their coins on hold within a certain fixed period. During this time, they don’t transact or withdraw their assets. Cryptocurrency staking helps holders earn returns from their investments without engaging in the problematic mining process. 

Is Bitcoin Mining Legal in India?

Bitcoin mining is unregulated in India as the government is still holding consultations on the question of introducing crypto-specific legislation. Bitcoin can be used to purchase goods and services anywhere in the world. However, capital gains made from trading in bitcoin are taxable.  

Disclaimer : Crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions. The information provided in this post is not to be considered as investment/financial advice from CoinSwitch. Any action taken upon the information shall be at user's own risk.

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CoinSwitch Kuber

Content Writer

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