Feb 8, 2019 03:30 UTC
Feb 8, 2019 at 07:23 UTC
Bitcoin, the pioneer and a vision of a peer-to-peer cashless network came into the public domain a decade ago. Over the period of 10 years, the pioneer coin has seen many highs and lows in its lifetime. The mining difficulty has increased significantly over the years in order to ensure the constant Bitcoin block time of 10 minutes.
Bitcoin mining is an essential component of the distributed cashless network. Mining process by the peers on the Bitcoin Blockchain helps in transaction verification and keep the network decentralized.
However, since the technology and the number of miners have improved significantly, it’s not easy to mine Bitcoin using a traditional laptop or PC at home. This article would help you understand the Bitcoin mining scene and what has changed over the period of 10 years.
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Bitcoin Mining History
Bitcoin network makes use of Proof of work hashing algorithm SHA-26, which encrypt each transaction on every block with a cryptographic digital signature. The hashing algorithm is one of the most efficient since the protocol makes sure that with enough hash power anyone can solve the cryptic message and get a 64-bit or 256-bit predefined output.
However, if anyone tries to make even a slightest of change in the input, the output would be drastically changed. Thus the hashing algorithm ensures a high level of security and efficiency.
In earlier days when Bitcoin was not that popular and the mining process was known to a few, it was quite easy to verify the transactions and mine a block by using a simple CPU PC at home. The main aim of Satoshi was the same, people, peers on the network should be able to mine Bitcoin without any need of specialized mining rigs
The Block time for every block on the Bitcoin network is kept fixed at 10 minutes to ensure that people do not manipulate hashing power to mine the blocks faster.
As the technology grew and Bitcoin gained some momentum in its price, people realized that mining can prove to be one of the most convenient ways of earning Bitcoin fortune. So, people started to mine blocks round the clock.
Bitcoin mining was intended to be profitable using a simple CPU computer, but as the Bitcoin saw a boom in its prices and the mining scene got crowded, it was no more profitable to mine using CPU computers as the power required to solve the cryptic signature on each transaction was not comprehensive for a CPU PC.
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The Transition from CPU to GPU Mining Rigs
Slowly companies like Nvidia and AMD jumped into the mining game and started manufacturing specialized GPU mining rigs. The reason being increased mining difficulty to ensure a constant block time of 10 minutes.
Since the block time is fixed, the mining difficulty is increased dynamically for each block to ensure that. By the GPU mining era, the Bitcoin prices had hit new heights, so people did not mind spending a few extra bucks on the pre-setup.
However, 2017 price rise was both good and bad, as the prices touched an all-time high, the block reward which is 12.5 BTC was worth 12.5* 20K. Now, not just individual miners but big firms started showing interest in the mining process
Slowly mining farms hijacked the mining scene as they could afford hundreds of top-class mining rigs combined together running 24*7, making it impossible for individual miners to compete against them.
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The Transition from GPU to ASIC
The GPU-based mining rigs were not just expensive but consumed a ton of electrical power, cutting short the mining profits. With mining farms capturing the scene as they set up their data centres in places where the electrical supply is available in plenty and the cost is also significantly lower.
This brought in the era of ASIC chip based mining rigs, these rigs are equally expensive as the GPU ones but promises lower energy consumption and higher efficiency output. However, the 2018 bear markets marked the beginning of the longest bearish trends and cut down the value of Bitcoin to 1/6th of its highest price rise.
Thus, making it impossible for individual miners to operate, whether they are using a GPU mining rig or going for ASIC mining. As of today, its next to impossible to make any profit through individual mining and the Block rewards earned by mining Bitcoin.
The mining scene has become more centralized than ever before and people who are new to the crypto space are suggested to join a mining pool or buy a share in mining farms to earn a percentage of the Block Reward.
Is Bitcoin Mining a Good option With a Laptop?
Well, the short answer is No, not because your laptop is not powerful enough to put in the required hash power, but because the mining scene is at its all-time low.
The modern-day laptops are quite powerful and some top class laptop is even more powerful than some of the mining rigs manufactured by Nvidia and AMD. But, as we have been discussing unless the prices go up and the developer community takes some action to end the monopoly of mining farms, it’s not beneficial to mine Bitcoin using a top-class laptop running for 24*7.
If you are new to the crypto ecosystem and enthusiastic about the mining scene, you can opt for a mining pool. If you are seriously considering mining as an option, we recommend going for an ASIC mining rig, as it might at least ensure some reward in return.
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