“I have some revenue to invest—should I use it to construct a mining rig, or must I merely buy [insert cryptocurrency of choice] specifically?” That is possibly the most frequent concern I hear from individuals seeking to get into electronic currency.

I was experiencing this very same concern when I resolved to jump into Litecoin in early 2013. I’d done some relaxed solitary-GPU Bitcoin mining in prior years, but I desired to make a far more substantial investment into cryptocurrency this time around. I waffled a bit involving building my own rig or merely acquiring LTC directly before finally settling on mining. Study on for my reasoning, how things turned out for me, and how they would have been distinct had I taken the “buy” route.

Initial, I just want to be very clear and say that I really don’t imagine there is a “right” response to this concern. There are execs and negatives to just about every tactic, and which is in the end superior for each unique relies upon on a quantity of factors: adversity to danger, technological capability/desire, assumptions about the long term, and so on. Here’s how I see the main strengths/disadvantages of just about every:


What are the pros & negatives of building your individual mining rig?


  • Even if cryptocurrency gets to be worthless in the long term, you are going to however have all of your components.
  • Developing your own rig is possibly a gratifying understanding practical experience.

Down sides:

  • Earning cryptocurrency requires time—it’ll probable be months right before mining earns you what you could merely obtain nowadays.
  • Mining rigs use electric power, and electric power expenditures revenue.
  • Rigs choose up bodily space—they can be warm, noisy, and unappealing.
  • Environment up your initial rig can be annoying and/or time-consuming if you’re new to Pc components.


What are the pros & negatives to acquiring cryptocurrency specifically?


  • You can merely jump on Coinbase or a different trade and have your cryptocurrency (approximately) instantly.

Down sides:

  • If cryptocurrency gets to be worthless in the long term, you’ve lost your whole investment.

Just about every unique reading through this listing will possibly assign wildly distinct weights to just about every stage. For case in point, if you have obtain to an or else empty basement or garage exactly where you can retail store a mining rig (or 3), then you’re possibly not apprehensive about an unappealing, warm, noisy fixture invading your own dwelling area. Or probably you have obtain to absolutely free (or incredibly low cost) electric power, which negates a different main drawback to building your individual rig.

For me, the deciding variable mostly arrived down to the initial benefit I’ve outlined less than “build”: if cryptocurrency tanks in worth tomorrow, then I however have every little thing that I’ve acquired nowadays. Underneath the worst-circumstance situation, I can both provide the components I’ve acquired at a little reduction, or I can re-objective it for something else (I happen to enjoy Pc gaming, so I can constantly use a few new GPUs!). I’m a huge lover of hedging my bets each time I can, so investing my funds into mining components alternatively of specifically into electronic currency merely feels superior to me.

How my determination to construct labored out for me

I purchased the areas for my initial rig from Amazon on April 4, 2013. The get total arrived out to accurately $1,368.41. I purchased a get rid of-a-watt electric power meter a few days later for a different ~$20 to use during tests, so let’s just round my total initial spend up to $1,400 for simplicity’s sake.

I started mining on April 8, 2013, although I continued to make small tweaks for the next week or so. Once I was up and working, I tucked the rig into a corner in my basement, and far more or much less enable it operate 24/7 for the next yr or so. Downtime was incredibly rare (only transpiring during electrical power or world wide web outages—and I’m blessed to have really reliable service for each) and possibly amounted to much less than 20 total hrs around the class of the rig’s mining service.

At 9 cents for each kWh, my 720 watt LTC rig expense me $47.34 in additional electric power for each month, and I ran it continuously for approximately 13 months. So that is about $600 in total electrical power use around the rig’s lifetime. During the winter season months, the rig fundamentally functions like a 720 watt area heater, which usually means my electrical baseboard warmth doesn’t have to work as hard to retain my dwelling warm—but we’ll disregard that for the sake of this analysis.

When I lastly took the rig offline in Could of 2014, I had attained just around 1,000 litecoins (we’ll contact it an even thousand for simplicity). I sold one of the 7950 GPUs for $100, saved two GPUs to use for gaming (I only retired them ~3 months in the past!), saved the superb Seasonic PSU for use in my major workstation Pc, and the motherboard/CPU/RAM are now back again in service in a new Ethereum mining rig.

So the closing tally of my expenditures functions out to about $1,900 ($1,400 for the initial construct, $600 for 13 months of electric power, and -$100 for the solitary GPU that I sold).

I have about 1,000 litecoins for my initiatives (no, I have not sold them!), and they are really worth about $26,000 at the existing ~$26 cost (although LTC was $35 just a week in the past). And really don’t ignore that I’m however applying most of the rig’s components nowadays!

So of course mining labored out pretty well for me. But could I have done superior by just acquiring litecoins specifically?

What if I had just bought cryptocurrency specifically?

We have obtain to all of the information, so it is easy to response this.

I built my ~$1,400 rig components obtain on April 4, 2013. The normal LTC cost on that date was $4.19/coin. So if I’d alternatively merely exchanged my $1,400 for litecoins, I would have ended up with 334 LTC.

But probably that is not the fairest comparison, considering that I did conclusion up spending an additional $600 on electric power around the rig’s lifetime. So let’s assume that I budgeted $2,000 in progress for the rig as well as eventual electric power costs—but alternatively exchanged it all for litecoins on April 4, 2013. I’d have 477 LTC today—less than half of what I attained by mining (and I’d of course have none of the leftover components that I’ve continued to use).


I really don’t want any person to choose absent the thought that mining is constantly heading to be far more successful than acquiring cryptocurrency specifically. If I’d developed my mining rig just 6 months later, the “buy” situation possibly would have appear out forward by a substantial margin, alternatively of the other way around. Timing is every little thing, and it is not possible to say which tactic is superior, except in hindsight.

There are some ETH mining discussion board / subreddit communities exactly where the greater part would guide you to believe that that mining is by no means successful, and that sensible revenue merely purchases coins specifically. And I’m confident that some of these folks are sharing their sincere belief. But do remember that there are quite a couple individuals that see mining strictly as a competition. Some of these people actively dissuade others from mining merely since it is effective to them (the far more individuals mining, the far more the problems boosts).

I wrote this merely to reveal that it is definitely probable to convert a financial gain mining, even if some are saying that it is “too late” (I started immediately after LTC had by now jumped 4000% from ~10 cents to $4, and was in a slow decline that lasted months). If you’re commencing out nowadays, don’t forget that nobody can warranty irrespective of whether building or acquiring is heading to convert out superior for you, and try to not get way too caught up in the speculative hoopla.



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