[Question]: Are you mining cryptocurrency?

With the recent attention brought to the energy consumption required to mine cryptocurrency, I noticed a lot of arguments being mentioned on Twitter debating the true environmental impact of cryptomining.

In particular, I saw quite a few Twitter users mention that this argument has been disproved by the fact that a vast majority of cryptomining is fueled by renewables but wasn’t able to find a great source or study for this statement.

I would love to hear from some of our users that are mining cryptocurrency (or have in the past) about the impact on their consumption (and maybe see some screenshots of usage) in the thread below. This is a judgement-free thread!

Hi Justin,

I have in the past mined for Bitcoin, but that was more than 5 years ago and before Sense. I’m doing a little bit of Chia now, but that’s very different. Chia is described as more green-friendly, more storage-focused than CPU, although there is some CPU and I/O dependency at the front end of the process.

I learned enough from the project to understand that (at the time) it was basically converting power into bitcoin. There was also the risk factor of the hardware “arms race” and depreciating value of the hardware before disposal before it becomes unprofitable. Knowing that, the energy footprint was significant enough not to justify continuing. I’m sure my newfound focus on power usage (thanks in part to Sense) plays into why I don’t mine anymore.

If I had held onto the bitcoin until the run-up, of course, it would have been wildly profitable. But that buy-and-hold speculation could have been done by just buying the crypto, without the mining aspect.

But more to what you’re looking for, at one point I was running two dedicated ASIC miner devices on a 750w computer power supply. If I remember correctly, that setup was pulling about 125 kW per week ($150 per week / $600/month).

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Last week was an article in my local newspaper about powerplants being bought for mining purposes only.

As bitcoin mining hooks into Upstate NY power plants, some wonder if it’s just more hot air - syracuse.com

You have to create an account to read the article. This is the take away from it. “Bitcoin mining centers like the one in Dresden consume vast amounts of electricity. Worldwide, bitcoin mining consumes as much electricity as the entire country of Argentina, population 45 million, said Lee McKnight, an information studies professor at Syracuse University. A Princeton University professor told Congress in 2018 that bitcoin mining accounted for about 1% of the entire globe’s electrical consumption, or about the same as all of New York state.”

I hope the Sense community will pass on Crypto mining because you support the crooks as well that get paid with cryptos to unlock computers that got hit with ransomware.

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I was lucky enough to snag a RTX3080, and I’ve been mining Ethereum basically 24/7 for the past month or two - primarily with the goal of funding the card itself, which I bought originally for gaming! I don’t expect I’ll run it long term, and there is the upcoming transition to proof of stake on Ethereum anyway which will hopefully curtail a lot of the global energy burn anyway (at least for ETH).

I’ve had a smart plug (running ESPSense, natch) upstream of my PC collecting data, and the mining software I use also provides some detail on power consumption of just the GPU.

The entire PC generally pulls a consistent 286-290W while mining, and the miner says about 218W of that is for the GPU itself. So ~70W of overhead for all the other components, which seems reasonable to me - mostly idle CPU/memory/NVMe drive, but about 5 fans running at decent speeds to keep temperatures down. Fortunately my build is quiet enough while mining to sit on my desk next to me while I work from home.

A few screenshots:

I’m sure mining like this will reduce the lifespan of the card, but if it pays for itself before then (which it already almost has), I’ll consider that a wash? While the mining profitability varies day to day and is rather high right now, you can see from that screenshot that it will earn back the monthly energy cost of mining in just 24 hours.

At that profitability the monthly projected income is around $660, for an energy cost of $15-20/mo (for my rates). What’s not captured in those screenshots is the cost of providing additional general cooling, aka my home AC, although that’s not going to be a substantial amount compared to earnings either.

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Thanks for sharing this article, I actually had no clue that this was a thing. I signed up and read through and shared with a few folks here.

I inherited an Antminer S9J and mined for about a year as I had “free” electric (live in a building that electric was included and I figured it was my fair share of having not run my AC 24x7 for the previous 4 years I lived there unlike many of the other tenants.)

As the building wiring was suspect, I had it power limited to 1350w, which it would pull 24x7. After running it for about 6-8 months, I got tired of the noise and heat, and with the bit coin halving in May of 2020, it just wasn’t worth it. Of course looking back now with how BTC has climbed in price, it would have been worth it financially, but I did also start to feel bad about the environmental impact. I always knew how much electric it used, and i certainly think about turning off lights and other things, for some reason my brain had a blind spot for the “harm” the device was doing.

is an interesting site to show profit numbers as well as just get some basic info on power consumption of some of the miners. Scroll all the way to the bottom to plug in power rates to see updated figures.

What is amazing is how much more efficient they have come. My S9J with some tuning would do about 15Th/s on 1350w, and now you can get 100Th/s at 3000w.

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The gist of the articles I’ve read in the last week or so is that if you want to be a casual miner only, you’d better have access to free electricity and a machine you don’t care about for it to be anything close to making financial sense.

And in my book truly free electricity would have to be both electricity I didn’t pay for AND it would have to come from a guaranteed carbon free source. The only thing that I can think of for the average person would be excess electricity generated by solar panels where there was a cap on how mach you could pump from them back into the grid and you knew you were tapping into that excess.

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I have heard that Iceland is big for mining because of their geothermal electricity source (NB: this is not the same thing as a ground-source heat pump). I also read something about an area of Oregon (I think) that had super-cheap electricity because of their considerable hydropower resource.

Neither of these, in my opinion, are mining operations that are powered exclusively by renewable energy, because, chances are, they are pushing demand to a point where the utilities have to explore other non-renewable options (or add capacity to existing plants, but that adding-on would be done in a non-carbon-free way).

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