For those in the know, mining cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, demands a lot of processing power from your computer, and will also very quickly rack up your electricity bill.
Students are ‘dropping out’
For this reason, university students in the US have been at an advantage, because their electricity bill is often included in the rent for their dorm rooms.
This hasn’t changed, but what has changed is the increase in mining costs, combined with a fall in many of the cryptocurrencies being mined.
Crypto-miners are not alone in facing these issues - it affects avid gamers too. The rising cost is linked to the graphics cards used in computers, and these graphic cards alone can easily cost as much as the average person spends on a whole laptop.
Is mining still feasible?
Whereas university students were making quite a lot of money off of mining in the past, these days it can yield as little as $100 per month - which, if they paid for the electricity themselves, would not be a feasible business for the students.
One student reported that he last year managed to mine .00027 Bitcoins daily, but that it cost him 24 kilowatt of electricity to mine. With the soaring price in Bitcoin back then, it seemed like a great idea - these days, it’s a less attractive option.
The simple reason why crypto-mining is becoming more expensive is due to the fact that currencies like Bitcoin are inflation-proof: the system is set up in a way that there is a limit to how many Bitcoins can be in circulation at any one time.
This means that mining Bitcoin, for example, becomes more difficult as time passes. The equation computers need to solve to yield Bitcoins become harder the more Bitcoins are in circulation.
As the amount of Bitcoins comes closer to the limit, mining will only be possible for those with the most sophisticated computers - and those who can afford the incredibly expensive energy bill.
Mining costs around the world
The price of mining Bitcoins varies depending on where you are in the world. In South Korea, for example, the price of mining a Bitcoin is double of what Bitcoins are currently worth. Anyone mining in South Korea would therefore have to be very confident that the value of Bitcoin will go up.
In Venezuela, conversely, the government subsidizes the energy, and so the price for mining one Bitcoin is only around $500 - around 1/20th of the current value of Bitcoins.
The US falls somewhere in the middle - depending on which state you’re in, mining a Bitcoin will cost you around $3,000-4,000. So for the US citizens, mining is still a profitable business.
For those considering to begin mining Bitcoins, there are some good news on the horizon, however. Intel is currently working on a solution that will lower the power consumption of computers used for mining.
Have you been affected by the rising cost in mining? Leave your comments below!