How A lot Did Cryptocurrency Mining Drive Up GPU Costs?


I began mining bitcoin (BTC) in 2013 utilizing a set of twin ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics playing cards (GPUs) stuffed in an outdated desktop chassis and hidden in my basement. The rig was loud. It used a ton of energy and the followers struggled to fulfill the GPU cooling necessities. I eliminated the aspect panels of the case and pointed a field fan on the rig to ease the hell out.

In 2013, I earned $4/day in BTC and spent $2/day on electrical energy. Not dangerous for passive revenue, however BTC mining is way from passive. The rig wanted extra consideration than my 2-year-old daughter.

Accidents have been near-constant. A slight graying, web hiccup, or sideways look will freeze issues and require a reboot. After just some months, I took aside the mining rig and bought the GPU for a superb revenue. The Radeon HD 5870s have been heading for costs above the market as BTC rose to $250, making mining extra worthwhile and GPUs more durable to seek out.

Even in 2013, the GPU provide chain had bother maintaining with the rising demand from cryptocurrency mining.

ASICs Disrupt the Market

In late 2013, mining noticed large disruption with the looks of chips that have been custom-built to do just one factor, mine BTC. In contrast to CPUs or GPUs, ASICs have been designed to mine cryptocurrencies solely. ASICs have been considerably superior to GPUs as a result of they used much less energy and produced more and more increased hash charges, which decided mining pace and profitability.

I used the revenue from my GPU gross sales to drop $200 on Butterfly Labs Jalapeno ASIC Miner. Then I waited. And waited…and waited some extra.

Had I obtained the ASIC once I positioned the order, the hash charges would have been mounted that I might have earned 10+ BTC per day. Nonetheless, ASIC makers have been new to the enterprise. He didn’t have a stable understanding of freight administration, ship timing or supply. Right this moment’s Distributors use Enterprise Useful resource Planning (ERP) software program To handle the sophisticated dance of getting an merchandise made in China to my residence in Atlanta. However Butterfly Labs had no such software program.

I lastly bought my Jalapeno Minor in late 2013. I used to be amazed to see that mining competitors elevated with the introduction of ASICs. My little jalapeno might solely withdraw 0.02 BTC/day. I took off the quilt and used my field fan trick and a little bit overclock to get some further share factors. However the competitors saved rising. In lower than a month, I used to be making lower than 0.002 BTC/day – $2 on the time.

I took the jalapeno off and left it within the basement to gather mud. In contrast to GPUs, ASICs had little worth after their mining lifetime. They might not be used a lot.

Ethereum is launched

mining ethereumI stop mining till I heard a few new cryptocurrency referred to as Ethereum (ETH) from my Fb crypto group. In contrast to BTC, Ethereum used a hashing algorithm referred to as SHA3, which was speculated to be ASIC-proof. Mining with GPU made sense once more.

I’ve arrange a brand new rig with twin Radeon RX 470 GPUs. However I used to be disenchanted with how a lot I needed to pay. The 470 was a mid-range GPU and was already considerably outdated in 2018. The GPU demand cycle had began once more and I used to be behind the curve.

However, I put in my RX 470 GPU with a base mannequin Dell and began mining. The Dell did not have room for 2 GPUs so I used a PCIe extender to provide me sufficient room for each playing cards. Nonetheless, this setup meant that one of many RX 470s was hanging precariously from the case.

By the way, the constantly rappelling GPU maintained a low core temperature because it hung outdoors the case. blissful accidents.

Profitability drops once more

The decline in Ethereum’s profitability has been sluggish. ASICs have by no means captured the GPU market. However income dwindled together with the worth of ETH within the “crypto winter” of 2019. I not had a cellar left, so my mining tools lived within the nook of my bed room. My spouse was not pleased with this association. I quickly parted with my Dell and bought the GPU, however this time for a loss.

the cycle continues

On the finish of 2021, the crypto winter was breaking out. BTC and ETH worth returned to all-time highs and continued to climb. There was a rise within the international adoption of cryptocurrencies. However chip shortages attributable to the pandemic imply that GPU provide didn’t hold tempo with mining demand. Costs exploded in older markets like eBay as a result of nobody might discover a new GPU within the retailer. in accordance JPR. for a report ofCrypto miners purchased 25% of all GPUs produced within the first half of 2021.

Tom’s {Hardware} Scrapped eBay to focus on how crypto-induced demand and pandemic-short provide mixed for an ideal storm of GPU costs.

Prices from Toms Hardware


There was a transparent enhance in public sale costs in February 2021. Restricted provide meant fewer GPUs have been being bought, and those who hit the market have been going 3X at retail. In spite of everything, why would somebody promote their RTX 3090 once they can use it for themselves and make a hefty return?

a 12 months earlier than costs stabilized

After a tough 12 months for GPU patrons, we’re beginning to see mild on the finish of the tunnel. Crypto costs are removed from their all-time excessive. And Nvidia and AMD are lastly beginning to ship extra GPUs. It is nonetheless unattainable to seek out them in shops, however GPU costs on eBay are dropping.

Will the proof-of-stake break the cycle?

With growing provide, and slowing mining demand, there’s a darkish horse affecting GPU costs right this moment: Proof-of-Stake. BTC, ETH, and most different cryptocurrencies have traditionally relied on proof-of-work fashions to take care of blockchain decentralization and safety. Primarily, rewards are distributed to miners primarily based on how a lot hash charge, or processing work, they contribute. (This can be a easy rationalization. See this for extra info on mining.,

Proof-of-Stake enhances this conventional mannequin and distributes rewards to anybody who “stakes” present ETH. So, on common, you earn extra by staking extra ETH, somewhat than doing extra work as an algorithmic hash.

We do not know precisely when the ETH blockchain will change to full proof-of-stake. However the consensus is the top of 2022. At that time, tons of of 1000’s of miners would not have the ability to mine ETH with their GPUs. Some could change to different cryptocurrencies, however many will offload their GPUs to reseller markets. My guess is that we see an enormous discount in GPU costs.

Some miners could select to choose out of this transition and promote their GPUs earlier than the market is disrupted. So we’ll see a gradual decline all through 2022.

However who is aware of? One other cryptocurrency utilizing proof of labor might explode the market and begin the cycle over again. I do know my outdated Dell case is able to be again within the sport.

This text was written by Priceonomics companion Recurrency, and initially revealed on their weblog.





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