So recently cryptocurrencies and crypto mining have been in the news a lot recently – with even West Midlands Police in the UK mistaking a crypto mine for a cannabis farm. At the same time, there has been a lot of talk coming from a lot of places of GPU mining effectively being whisked away when popular cryptocurrency Ethereum changes from Proof of Work (PoW – using computational horsepower) to Proof of Stake (PoS – interest based). This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Now for full transparency, I mine crypto in my off-time to supplement my electricity bills and to help pay off my hardware purchases. I only have 1 system mining 24/7 and that’s my Unraid server with an old RX 580 4GB that is mining RavenCoin that pulls in about £1/day – which completely offsets the entire server’s electrical costs.
Crypto miners have without a doubt contributed to the global shortage of GPU silicon, and helping to cause price inflation because to put it simply, most professional miners don’t care about the cost of the hardware, just how efficiently it can mine – it’s Hashrate/Joule of electricity. Most miners in it for profitability are mining Ethereum because of the high block rewards and the transfer fees awarded to successful miners, with something like an RTX 3060 able to pull in about £1.50/day even with the hashrate limiters in place.
First off, I don’t even have an RTX 3060, both myself and my partner are still running a 2080 and 2060 respectively. So, you may think, where am I pulling these seemingly random numbers from? The answer: WhatToMine
Going into WhatToMine, one can see a whole list of cards to choose from with average hashrates and it will calculate what coin is most profitable. Yep, you heard right, coins. Plural. Not every coin that can be mined by a GPU uses the same Ethash algorithm. That coin I mentioned earlier, RavenCoin, is on a completely different algorithm called KawPow and surprise, surprise, is unaffected by Nvidia’s mining limiter.
Above, is an image taken from WhatToMine with the RTX 3060’s profitability calculated automatically. Yep, RavenCoin is roughly as profitable as Ethereum on this card with the low hashrate limiter factored in. This is only 1 other algorithm, mind you, WhatToMine has 24 algorithms listed. That’s right, even after Ethereum moves to PoS over PoW, that mining power will simply move to one of these other algorithms and right now, it’s a real toss-up between what will be the next algorithm seeing a mining craze.
Okay… So What?
For almost anyone that is serious within the mining scene, they will absolutely not panic-sell their GPUs when Ethereum moves to PoS. Instead, they will simply move to a different algorithm so that they are still earning some sort of money. At the end of the day, miners (contrary to popular belief) are people too, and they have made an investment that they will want to earn dividends from and will spend the time researching the next coin to mine.
That said, there will without a doubt be a fair few GPUs making their way back onto re-seller sites like eBay, but the real big players, the ones with hundreds of GPUs in their basements or even in rented out warehouses won’t budge an inch. They will just move on.