Cryptocurrency mining has been and remains an attractive activity, not only for lovers of alternative financial instruments, but also for those who are serious about investing.
When deciding to start mining, potential miners take into account many well-known factors: equipment and electricity costs, a suitable climate and relevant legislation in the country of employment. At least that was the case until recently.
In 2022, the situation has changed and become even more difficult. A few years ago, it was possible to extract cryptocurrency by purchasing a graphics processing unit (GPU), reading the manual for creating a platform, and simply extracting coins. This income was attractive to many online entrepreneurs, and soon new miners flooded the global market.
But over time, the difficulties of mining have increased and led to the emergence of special equipment for mining cryptocurrencies – application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), which can recover faster and more efficiently than GPUs. As a result, various problems have arisen, such as taking care of green energy, availability of qualified personnel and equipment.
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In the summer of 2021, many buyers of GPU cards – the main component of any farm and platform – sounded the alarm when it became almost impossible to get them. The latest generation of affordable graphics cards costs far more than many considered fair value.
Great demand for GPUs has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led fanatics to collect and purchase computers to keep themselves under quarantine, as well as supply chain disruptions around the world.
The big GPU manufacturer Nvidia tried to curb the demand from miners by installing proprietary hash speed limiting hardware, but the miners eventually won by finding a way around the new features.
At the beginning of 2022, the situation has changed, but not much. At the end of January, the value of the major cryptocurrencies Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) fell to the lowest level since July 2021.
The fall in prices has triggered a chain reaction in the GPU market, making mining less profitable and threatening to be banned in various jurisdictions around the world.
In January and February, interest in GPU cards designed for cryptocurrency mining coincided with a decline in the profitability of mining. Nvidia reports that the price of the Sapphire GPro Radeon X080 card, designed specifically for mining, has fallen by almost 40% during this period. At the end of January, the card cost over $ 1400 and can now be found for around $ 860.
Sapphire GPro Radeon X080 card. Source: OX.ee
GPU card appetite has also dampened the upcoming transition from the Ethereum blockchain to the Proof of Stake protocol, which does not require powerful cards and significant computing power.
It should be noted that the price reduction was also observed in the market for “regular” GPU cards – that is, cards with video outputs designed for graphics processing. The fall in prices for Nvidia and AMD gaming series cards was similar to the fall in prices for niche mining solutions.
Several companies, such as Ajinomoto Fine-Techno, have reported that by the summer of 2022, the shortage of GPU components, including those important for the production of Ajinomoto film substrates, will be significantly reduced. Intel also plans to release a batch of BTC mining hardware this year.
The situation with ASICs remains more or less stable due to the lack of other options for BTC miners in equipment selection. Popular BTC mining models today are Antminer S7, Antminer S9 and Antminer D3 from Bitmain.
In addition, Bitmain representatives announced a new product line of water cooling, which will allow miners to work all year round, regardless of external environmental factors. However, the cost of such a set is still quite high.
sales and resale
As a less expensive alternative, miners can buy used equipment. Not surprisingly, this method of finding hardware is becoming more popular as GPU prices rise, especially during a general decline in revenue during the OVID-19 pandemic.
Every day, more and more people want to extract cryptocurrency, and resale of equipment is profitable – especially for powerful GPUs and ASIC cards. The rest of the mining needs such as motherboards, coolers and more are still bought mostly from stores due to their relatively reasonable prices.
Before buying a product, it is important to study the market in detail to understand who is selling what and at what price. The easiest way to buy from a major online retailer is to place a bulk order. The most difficult but profitable way is the ability to buy directly from the manufacturer.