Small-Scale Bitcoin Mining Gains Traction: An Affordable Gateway to the Crypto World
Despite Bitcoin mining being predominantly dominated by large-scale operations, a new trend is emerging where enthusiasts are delving into small-scale Bitcoin mining, likened by some to playing the lottery due to the slim odds of success.
Traditionally, mining bitcoins, required huge capacities and high-end equipment. However, for a cost comparable to a mid-range smartphone or gaming console, building small mining rigs is now feasible.
A typical small-scale mining setup comprises a Raspberry Pi Zero W 2, a single-board computer priced at $22; a USB-based Bitcoin miner equipped with Antminer’s BM1397 ASIC chip costing $325, and a $19 heatsink case to manage the heat generated. This setup, capable of delivering up to 350 gigahashes per second (GH/s), uses the same chip found in the popular Antminer S17 and S17 Pro.
However, it's essential to note the odds. With a hash rate of 350 GH/s, solo miners might potentially mine a block after about 21,400 years of operation. This is in stark contrast to large-scale operations like Marathon Digital, which generated 2,195 BTC ($60 million) in Q1 2023, averaging about 24 BTC ($656,300) per day.
Despite the long odds, solo miners can increase their chances by joining mining pools such as Foundry, AntPool, and F2Pool, which collectively account for over 70% of all Bitcoin blocks. Whenever a block is successfully mined, these pools distribute rewards among all contributors.
Although slim, there were cases last year of solo miners independently mining their own Bitcoin blocks using just a few mining chips. In this way, small-scale mining offers a viable entry point for individuals curious about exploring the world of blockchain technology.