Can You Mine Cryptocurrency with a Raspberry Pi?
Can You Mine Cryptocurrency with a Raspberry Pi? Over the past several years, cryptocurrency mining has gotten so lucrative that a few people have become millionaires. As a result, hundreds more people have been inspired to join the cryptocurrency mining sector. After all, don’t you need some computer hardware to earn passive income?
But what if you don’t have any expensive mining hardware? Can the Raspberry Pi you have lying around mine digital currency as well?
Cryptocurrency Mining: A Game of Optimization
Most cryptocurrencies can only be mined using powerful graphics processing units (GPUs). These one-of-a-kind pieces of hardware are usually intended for a completely distinct function, such as gaming or artificial intelligence training. This means that crypto miners are fighting for a restricted supply with various other types of buyers.
As a consequence of this demand, GPUs are frequently sold at prices higher than retail, with prices rising when stock levels reach rock bottom. Look no further than chipmaker Nvidia’s investor disclosure for proof of this.
During the bull run in the cryptocurrency market in 2017, demand for mining-related hardware caused a global computer hardware scarcity. power supplies, High-end graphics cards and even PC motherboards were included.
This cyclical trend of part shortages will persist as long as cryptocurrencies can be drilled on general-purpose computer hardware. As a result, the market is swamped with low-end hardware that huge mining businesses sometimes need to pay more attention to.
The question then becomes, can you use low-end hardware to mine cryptocurrencies and turn a profit?
Is Cryptocurrency Mining Expensive to Get Into?
A cryptocurrency mining operation, regardless of size, functions similarly to any other business. As a result, you must consider the cost of hardware procurement, running expenses, and how long it will take for your investment to turn a profit.
Even if you run mining software on a single computer, you must account for the above mentioned variables and determine whether the risk-to-reward ratio is appropriate for you. You could already have a few Raspberry Pi devices or GPUs hanging around. This would drastically reduce acquisition costs.
Regarding operational expenses, the most important element is how much electricity you pay in your neighborhood. The major disadvantage of mining on low-power hardware like the Raspberry Pi is that the electricity costs will almost certainly outweigh any income you make from mining alone.
Using a cheap electricity source, you can make a small profit on even the weak hardware. Mining can be very lucrative if you currently use solar energy or live near another alternative energy source.
As previously stated, not all cryptocurrencies can be mined using low-power hardware. In reality, major names like Bitcoin and Litecoin necessitate an entirely separate class of hardware known as ASICs. However, many smaller digital currencies can be mined to some extent on low-end hardware.
Consider the cryptocurrency Monero. It is well recognized as one of the top 25 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization and can be readily exchanged for Bitcoin or cash. Monero’s creators have fought off ASIC and other specialized mining equipment over the past few years. They reason mining should be open to anyone rather than confined to those who can afford pricey hardware.
As a result, Monero now enables anyone with low-end hardware to mine the cryptocurrency. This is because Monero uses a computer’s CPU (central processing unit) for mining, unlike most other coins. Because the average corporation is sure to have a significantly more performant CPU than GPU, this leveled the playing field.
The Raspberry Pi, with considerably superior CPU performance versus GPU, is no exception. The Raspberry Pi 4 has a quad-core CPU with A72 cores running at 1.5GHz. While it is still far from modern PCs and laptops, it is more than capable of handling a wide range of tasks.
Mining Monero on a Raspberry Pi 4: Some Quick Math
According to various independent reports, the Raspberry Pi 4 can generate 108 hashes per second. In context, the hash rate quantifies the performance or processing power of the Raspberry Pi.
Using cryptocompare’s mining calculator, we can calculate that a device with 108 H/s can mine about 0.00005127 XMR daily. At $154 per XMR token, that totals $0.07156 daily.
These estimates, however, presume that your electricity is fully free. For example, if you don’t have solar panels on your roof, you’re paying your electricity provider at least 5 cents per kWh. In addition, because the Pi consumes between 10 and 15 Watts of power, we estimate that you will pay extra for electricity daily.
In conclusion, if your electricity is significantly subsidized or even free, you can earn about 20 cents per month from mining Monero on a Raspberry Pi 4. On the other hand, if you pay market rates for power, you stand to lose at least 30 cents monthly.
If you bought a Raspberry Pi solely for mining, it would cost you $35 for the device and a few dollars extra for the rest of the peripherals. Even in the best-case scenario, recoup your investment would take 175 months or 14 years.
Regardless, if you want to try mining Monero (even if you’re at a loss), get a copy of the open-source CPUMiner-Multi program. Then, use the command cpuminer –help to see how to get started.
Should You Bother With Mining Cryptocurrency?
The profitability calculations presented above do not even consider other fees for liquidating the digital currency. For example, sending your Monero to a cryptocurrency exchange may incur transaction fees, as will trading it for fiat currency such as the US dollar or euro.
However, if your goal is to store Monero long-term, the cryptocurrency’s price may grow (or fall) during the next few months. Even so, you’d be better off purchasing Monero in exchange for fiat currency. The only other motivation to mine at a loss is to obtain digital cash anonymously.
Otherwise, staking Ethereum on a Raspberry Pi may be the greatest strategy to profit from the cryptocurrency market.