Diving into the bitcoin mining pool doesn’t require a fortune, but it does require patience, with some comparing it to winning the lottery.
Bitcoin mining, once the domain of tech enthusiasts, has grown into a substantial industry around the world. These days, large-scale operations often have their own power plants and advanced hardware.
However, for a price roughly equivalent to that of a midrange smartphone or gaming console, small mining rigs are possible to build. But there are a few things to consider before building a small scale miner.
The setup involves three main components: 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 micro setup, capable of delivering up to 350 gigahashes per second (GH/s), incorporates the same chip found in the well-known Antminer S17 and S17 Pro.
Some call this approach “lotto mining,” a nod to the slim odds of successfully mining a bitcoin block with such a small-scale setup. Statistically speaking, with a 350 GH/s hash rate, solo miners could potentially mine a block after approximately 21,400 years of operation.
Complicating matters is the fact that bitcoin block rewards are slated to run out by 2140, owing to the network’s “halving” events that cut the issuance rate every four years.
To put things in perspective, Marathon Digital, a major player in the bitcoin mining world, generated 2,195 BTC ($60 million) in the first quarter of this year, averaging about 24 BTC ($656,300) per day.
Commercial miners achieve this through the use of tens of thousands of ASICs, drastically increasing their chances of solving blocks.
Yet, there’s a ray of hope for solo miners. They can boost their odds by joining mining pools like Foundry, AntPool, and F2Pool. These pools, responsible for over 70% of all bitcoin blocks, distribute rewards among all contributors whenever a block is successfully mined.
Despite the odds, there were instances last year of solo miners independently mining their own bitcoin blocks using a handful of mining chips. While the chances are slim, small-scale mining provides an entry point for those interested in exploring blockchain technology.