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Are you feeling lucky? It turns out you don’t need to join a giant hash pool to profit from crypto mining.
Over the past month, three small Bitcoin miners have individually won the race to mine Bitcoin’s next block. That means it rewarded each with a whole 6.25 Bitcoin for providing their proof-of-work.
Beating the Odds
Solo CK’s pool administrator, Dr. Con Colivas, reported the most recent small miner win today. Using just 86TH/s of hash rate capacity over the last week, the miner solved block number 720,175 just hours ago.
Colivas clarified that such a lucky break for miners is an entirely normal process:
“To be clear, this is not a sentinel event, there is nothing wrong with proof of work, bitcoin is not broken, my solo mining service doesn’t have a back door to solve blocks faster,” he said. “With enough miners mining, someone eventually solves a block, and it can be a miner of any size.”
Bitcoin “miners” are network nodes that compete in a race to construct the next block in Bitcoin’s blockchain. To do so, they must solve a challenging math problem by generating guess answers as fast as possible, called “hashes”. The process is known as “proof-of-work.”
Those who construct the block first receive a reward of 6.25 Bitcoin for their efforts – worth over $215k at writing. So, those with the most powerful computers are most likely to mine the next block. However, the high electricity costs will dig into their profits.
Comparatively, 86TH/s is a tiny fraction of Bitcoin’s total hash rate, which has broken all-time highs of over 180 million TH/s recently. That means the miners’ chances of mining any given block were under 1 in 2 million this week. A partnership only takes ten minutes on average to mine.
Earning Bitcoin with such a low hash rate means less electricity cost and more profit for the miner. Similarly, despite dire odds, another miner with just 120TH/s mined block 718,124 on January 11th. Due to Bitcoin’s higher price at the time, the reward was approximately $260k. Finally, two days later, a miner with only 116TH/s solved block 718,379.
The Growth Of Mining
Bitcoin mining is exploding as an industry – especially in crucial US states like Texas. One county in the region has agreed to develop a $2.4 billion data centre that will use renewable energy to host Bitcoin mining. The trend has been especially distinct since China began ejecting miners from its borders in May, leaving many to flee West.
Bitcoin mining has been far less geographically centralized and is an environmentally cleaner process. This is important as regulators grow increasingly hawkish on the industry over environmental concerns.
Small miners are likely to see significant opportunities in the future, thanks to the efforts of Block CEO Jack Dorsey. His company has endeavoured to build a global Bitcoin mining system suitable for use at home.