“Mining” Bitcoin is a notoriously expensive business—recent calculations by the lighting company Elite Fixtures suggest that it costs a fortune to mine one Bitcoin in some countries, with the cost being as much as $26,170 in South Korea. Now analysts at Fundstrat have said that it’s no longer particularly profitable to mine Bitcoin.
“Bitcoin currently trades essentially at the break-even cost of mining a bitcoin,” the research house said in a Thursday report. Bitcoins are created when a “miner” (essentially, a node on the Bitcoin network that boasts very fast computers) beats other miners to package up the latest block of Bitcoin transactions and add it to Bitcoin’s blockchain—its famous shared ledger.
The winner, who receives newly-minted Bitcoin as their reward, wins the race by providing the answer to a mathematical problem that is deliberately designed to use up a lot of computing power, in order to maintain stability in the speed at which these blocks are “found.” People often say the miners solve mathematical problems, but all they really do is repeatedly try to guess a lucky number, as quickly as possible, using the brute force of powerful computers. Fundstrat’s model for calculating mining costs takes a few factors into account.
The first is the cost of the computers themselves—as the mathematical problems get progressively harder over time, miners need to keep upgrading their rigs. The second issue is energy.
Making loads of incorrect guesses uses a lot of it. And then there’s cooling; all that energy use throws off a lot of heat. Read more from fortune.com…
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