How long does it take to mine 1 bitcoin

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Today it is difficult to find a person who has not heard anything about cryptocurrencies. There is a lot of information about virtual coins, but even more media and experts begin to write about them during periods of regular rises in the cost of the main representative of the world of digital money – bitcoin (BTC). As of January 12, 2022, the first cryptocurrency is trading at around $42,200, and it hit its all-time high of $69,000 in November 2020.

It is important that everyone can get bitcoin for themselves – of course, subject to certain conditions. Therefore, many inhabitants of the planet are thinking about how to do mining – the extraction of BTC using computers. But the vast majority have no idea how laborious this process is, how long it takes to mine 1 bitcoin and how to do it in general. Let’s figure it out together.

What is mining?

Today we will not go into the principles of the functioning of blockchain technology, which underlies almost every cryptocurrency. It is enough for us to know only the key information necessary to understand the essence of the extraction process and its profitability. This data is enough to answer the question of how much you can mine 1 bitcoin.

Mining is the process of extracting new units of cryptocurrency by selecting a certain value that satisfies predetermined conditions. It is important that mining creates new bitcoin units, and does not redistribute old ones. Thus, cryptocurrency miners are constantly increasing the number of existing BTC coins. But this process cannot last forever, since the creators of the network initially set a limit on the maximum number of coins – 21 million.

More than 18.8 million BTC have already been mined in the world. But you should not worry – it will not be possible to mine the remaining coins over the next 10 years. Judging by all calculations, this landmark event will not occur before 2040. A special algorithm is responsible for the process within the network of the first cryptocurrency. In particular, it controls the difficulty of the task so that 1 block is mined in an average of 10 minutes. And already in the block there is a reward for its miners – in the form of bitcoins.

The algorithm is configured to recalculate the complexity of the task about once every 2 weeks. If the processing power increases during this time, the complexity increases. If the power drops, then the complexity also decreases. The number of bitcoins within the block that the miner receives as a reward is not constant. All the same algorithm reduces the reward by 2 times – approximately every 4 years. Now it is 6.25 BTC per found block.

It turns out that on average every 10 minutes a little more than six coins are mined in the network – that is, one BTC is “stamped” in less than 2 minutes.

Therefore, to the question of “how much to mine 1 bitcoin in time”, the next 3 years – until the next block reward reduction – can be answered “less than 2 minutes”. But for a miner, it is not important for how much bitcoin is mined by the entire network, but for what period of time he can mine it.

Is it possible to mine bitcoin alone?

We already know that every 10 minutes, 1 block is mined on the digital gold network. And here another question arises – how to determine who will be considered the author of the new block and will receive an award for this? After all, there are tens of thousands of miners in the world, and they all do the same thing. In fact, everything is very simple – the one who first picked up the correct value, i.e. “guessed” the answer, gets the whole jackpot.

The correct answer is found only by sorting through similar values, therefore, the one who finds the options faster has more chances to be the first to provide the correct solution. It turns out that the probability of finding a block is higher for a user with faster hardware.

The speed of sorting out answer options in mining is called a hashrate and it is measured in hashes per second. What is the total hashrate of the bitcoin network today? As of January 12, 2022, this figure is 196 Ehash/s (exahash per second). The prefix “exa” means 10 followed by 18 zeros, or billion billion. If we take into account that the most powerful equipment has a hash rate of 110 Th/s (terahesh – a thousand billion), then it would take about 1.5 million units to ensure the functionality of the entire network. But do not forget that many miners use much weaker devices.

So, in order to be guaranteed to mine a coin alone in 10 minutes, you need to have a hashrate that is slightly higher than 50% of the hashrate of the entire network. And this is simply unrealistic. Therefore, hundreds and thousands of miners combine their devices into pools, which gives them the opportunity to iterate over the answers in a consistent manner. From the outside, it looks as if 1 user is occupied with all this. If such a pool is the first to find the next block, the reward is distributed among all participants in proportion to their submitted power.

How much do pools earn? For example, the largest – F2Pool – which controls a little more than 17% of the network hashrate, received 21 BTC per day, AntPool (14.7%) – 18 BTC, ViaBTC (12.3%) – 15 BTC.

In other words, the probability of getting 1 bitcoin alone is negligible. To make it really only in a pool.

How long does it take to mine 1 bitcoin?

Imagine that we are connected to one of the pools. How much is 1 bitcoin mined now? It all depends on the power of the equipment. Theoretically, you can mine coins on such devices:

  • processors;
  • video cards;
  • asics.

The first two options were relevant in the early stages of mining – with a low network hashrate. Now the extraction of cryptocurrencies on these devices is unprofitable due to weak computing power. This can be understood by comparing the hashrate values ​​of these three types of equipment:

  • the processor has several hundred kilohash;
  • the video card has dozens of megahash;
  • asics have dozens of gigahashes.

It turns out that one ASIC in terms of computing power replaces thousands of video adapters, and each of them, in turn, is equivalent to several thousand processors.

Therefore, it makes sense to directly mine a crypt only on ASICs and only as part of a pool. To calculate how much you can mine 1 bitcoin, we will use a mining calculator. These are sites on the Internet where you can enter the hashrate of your device or farm, and in return get the speed and profitability of cryptocurrency mining at a given time.

Now the most powerful and potentially available on the market are the Antminer S19 asics from Bitmain and Whatsminer M30S from MicroBT. Their hashrate, depending on the model, ranges from 100 to 110 Tx / s. For calculations, we take the maximum value. So, in the calculator we enter:

  • Device hashrate based on the SHA-256 algorithm (Bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies): 110,000 Gh / s (same as 110 Tx / s).
  • Electricity cost: $0.06 (you can specify the tariff of your region).
  • We don’t change anything else. Click “Calculate”.
  • The result is visible on the screen.

As it turns out, one ASIC at the current difficulty produces only 0.000622 BTC per day, taking into account the cost of paying for electricity. About 0.018 BTC will be released per month, 0.22 BTC per year. Accordingly, under unchanged conditions, we would have mined 1 bitcoin for 5 years.

Of course, you can reduce this period. To do this, you will have to buy a few more devices, increasing the total capacity of the mining farm. When connecting 5 devices, the period of extraction of the first cryptocurrency will be reduced to 1 year. Now it’s clear why the question of how long it takes to mine one bitcoin on a video card or processor automatically disappears.

It would seem that everything is simple – buy asics and mine yourself at least 10 bitcoins per day. But there are two obstacles here:

  • price of devices;
  • their availability.

Regarding the price – both models of the most popular device for mining cryptocurrency on the manufacturers’ websites are offered at a price of about $ 13,000. But even at such a high cost they are not available – almost all asics are sold out on pre-order by large companies, operators of industrial mining farms even before they are released for free sale. Now only deliveries from the end of 2022 are available for order. Of course, with a strong desire, you can still buy devices – for example, from resellers, while overpaying 2-3 prices.

Is it only ASICs?

Judging by our calculations, direct bitcoin mining makes sense only on ASICs. But there are hundreds of other altcoins that work on other algorithms, and these coins can be exchanged for bitcoins on the exchange.

This is where processors and video cards come into play. How much is 1 bitcoin mined on these devices? Using the mining calculator, we get the following numbers:

  • On the GeForce RTX 3090 video card from Nvidia, Ethereum (Ethash algorithm) is mined per day in the equivalent of 0.000152 BTC. This is a little more than 0.5 BTC per year, provided that the difficulty of mining Ethereum and its cost remain unchanged. At the same time, the video card costs several times cheaper than the ASIC.
  • On the Ryzen 9 5950 processor from AMD, Raptoreum (RTM) is mined per day in the equivalent of 0.000054 BTC or 0.02 BTC per year. Of course, the result is much more modest than that of an ASIC and a video card, but nevertheless it is also noticeable.

To sum up: now the most cost-effective alternative is mining Ethereum on video cards. And already it can be exchanged for bitcoin, fiat money or any other digital currency. Subject to the connection of two top RTX 3090 video cards for today, the extraction of one bitcoin will require one year.

Of course, all these calculations are quite approximate. No one will give an exact answer to the question of how much to mine 1 bitcoin. The complexity of the network changes unpredictably, but grows steadily. Therefore, when planning capital investments in the mining of cryptocurrencies, serious calculations should be made.

If the ASIC is a self-sufficient device for mining, then the video card requires the assembly of a full-fledged PC, and this is also a considerable cost. And in terms of prices and availability, video adapters are not inferior to asics.

You can read more about whether it is profitable today to start mining tokens from scratch and about the prospects for PoW mining in 2022 here.

Disclaimer. Investing in any financial asset carries the risk of losing capital. Nothing in this text can be considered an investment recommendation or an offer to buy/sell any financial instruments. For all their actions in the stock market, each investor bears full responsibility independently.


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