Have you wondered what mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies involve, and how you can get yourself some crypto tokens without having to buy them at an exchange? The rapid increase in the prices of crypto coins like Bitcoin, Ether, and Dogecoin in the first half of this year led to many people wanting to get involved in the crypto ecosystem. While most people buy and sell them through exchanges, it's also possible (though in some cases, like Bitcoin today, very time consuming) to 'mine' these tokens by using your computer to solve complex mathematical equations. Here's how it works, and how you can mine your tokens.
Bitcoin, Ether, Dogecoin, and most other cryptocurrencies are built using a technology called Blockchain, which is the public ledger, that is is secured using complex encryption techniques. Getting new coins on the ledger involves solving complex mathematical puzzles that help verify virtual currency transactions. These are then updated on the decentralised blockchain ledger. In return for this work, the miners get paid with cryptocurrency. This process is called mining as it lets new coins into circulation. Thus, miners are an essential part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 36.53 lakhs while Ethereum price in India stood at Rs. 2.53 lakhs and Dogecoin price in India stood at Rs. 26 as of 11am IST on August 16.
How does mining work?
During mining, computers solve complex mathematical equations. The first coder to crack each code is able to authorise the transaction. In return for the service, the miner earns small amounts of cryptocurrency. Once the miner successfully solves the mathematical problem and verifies the transaction, they add the data to the public ledger, called the blockchain.
Proof of work
This is the algorithm that secures several cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin. It ensures that no single authority becomes so powerful that it begins to run the show. This process executed by miners is a necessary part of adding new blocks of transaction data to the blockchain. A new block is only added to the blockchain system if a miner comes up with a new winning proof-of-work. This happens after every 10 minutes in the network. The goal of proof-of-work is to prevent users from printing extra coins they didn't earn, or double-spending.
Why is it expensive to mine tokens?
In the early days, soon after Bitcoin came into existence in 2009, it was a profitable activity. At the time, miners would get 50 BTC (then worth $6,000) for solving each equation. Since the resources required to mine a single bitcoin were also less, miners were able to pocket most of the reward as pure profit. Although the reward for Bitcoin mining has decreased over time, the value of each BTC has increased hugely. As of April 2021, the value of a Bitcoin reward is nearly $3,33,000 (roughly Rs. 2.47 crores).
But the cost of Bitcoin mining has increased dramatically. This is because the competition for tokens is much higher, and high-performance computing is now required to successfully mine the tokens. As a result, the cost of the energy consumed in this process could be huge depending on the miner's location and the type of hardware they use.
How can you start mining?
First, get a high-performance computer. Then create a wallet for Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies. Once that is done, join a mining pool to maximise profitability. These pools are groups of miners who combine their resources to increase their mining power. The profit generated from mining is then distributed evenly to all members in the pool. Mining pools allow individuals to work together and compete more effectively.
Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts. Affiliate links may be automatically generated - see our ethics statement for details.