Experiments in Crypto Mining 4: Cryptocurrency Mining with an Upgraded Home PC

Having upgraded my PC with a new graphics card, but getting disappointing results mining Bitcore with Suprnova software, next I repeated my test of mining Monero (XMR) using the MinerGate software.

This time the benchmark score was 1998 with a message “You can make an extra 100 USD per year with only this computer” – both values being roughly double what they had been before the upgrade.

MinerGate's benchmark on a GTX 1050 system (Image: BIUK)
MinerGate’s benchmark on a GTX 1050 system (Image: BIUK)

For the best outcome I set the mining to use both the CPU and the GPU (graphics card). This produced about 3 times as much hashing power as before.

Mining XMR using the MinerGate app and a GXT 1050 card (Image: BIUK)
Mining XMR using the MinerGate app and a GXT 1050 card (Image: BIUK)

However, given the poor results from last time (about 15p of Monero/XMR mined for 50p in costs) it’s clear that even at 3 times the mining power it would still not be very profitable. This is therefore another dead end.

Experiments in Crypto Mining 3: Mid-range Graphics Card

The graphics card in my home PC died recently, probably related to me leaving the PC overnight which I don’t usually do (I guess it overheated). I woke to find that Windows had seen an error on it and uninstalled the driver, running it as a basic VGA card. I couldn’t fix it.

Anyway, I took the opportunity to buy a new mid-range graphics card, an Nvidia GTX 1050, to do some more experimenting with crypto mining. I didn’t want to go for a high-end (i.e. expensive) card since I have no plans to leave my PC running most of the time, or even to be mining while I was working at the PC, so a high-end card would likely never make its cost back.

A mid-range card, though, seemed like a good compromise – I needed a new card anyway, I could do some crypto experimenting, and I would get a benefit whenever I played 3D games. I settled on an EVGA card from Scan Computers as it was the cheapest version of the 1050 available – just £120 for a pretty powerful card.

Most impressive was that it didn’t need any additional power connectors to run, just making do with the power available from the motherboard slot. That implied it would use very little power – whereas the old (and relatively speaking slow) card it replaced had been using two additional power connections.

As an initial experiment I have rerun the test I did back last November using the GPU to mine for Bitcore. The procedure was much as described before (particularly following the embedded video) but with a couple of changes. Firstly, the mining app is no longer available on the Bitcore website so I downloaded it directly from the CCMiner code site. Secondly the batch file format has changed – however the download included a new Bitcore batch file so I used that, edited to include my Suprnova details as per the original post.

When CCMiner ran up the results were encouraging, showing a hash rate (mining power) of  8600 kH/s (8.6 MH/s), compared to about 1500 for the previous card.

CCMIner starting up on a GTX 1050 GPU (Image: BIUK)
CCMIner starting up on a GTX 1050 GPU (Image: BIUK)

Running CCMiner for two hours produced 0.0018 BTX, according to my Suprnova dashboard, worth currently about 4p (the equivalent of about 50p per day). The PC was using about 150W with the card running and 85W without, so the card was drawing 65W – or 0.13kWh for the two hours. At my evening rate of 14p/kWh that means the mining cost me about 2p.

Suprnova Dashboard while running a GTX 1050 (Image: BIUK)
Suprnova Dashboard while running a GTX 1050 (Image: BIUK)

So – unlike last time – mining with this card is actually profitable, though only at the rate of about 1p per hour. What was more impressive, however, was how it did it.

Firstly, the energy use by the card was much less than the old card even though it was much more powerful, and it was very quiet. Secondly, it appeared to be truly mining ‘in the background’ with no apparent slowness caused to the PC while using it for other things. So it could make a profit, with little downside to having it running in the background virtually all the time. Taken together, it would seem that there’s plenty of scope to overclock the card to improve the performance.

Nonetheless, the bottom line is that this approach is not going to make a great deal of money, so I’m moving on to try other mining methods.

Experiments in Crypto Mining 4: Cryptocurrency Mining with an Upgraded Home PC

$10K Again for Bitcoin, But Other Cryptos Outperform

The crypto markets continued to mount a recovery this week, brushing aside fears of a possible lull ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday.

At the close of the seven-day session, the total value of all cryptocurrencies is being reported at $471 billion by data source CoinMarketCap, up 22.65 percent from $384 billion seen last Friday. During this period, the market capitalization was up 39 percent from the Feb. 6 low of $276 billion.

But while headlines may be dominated by bitcoin’s move above $10,000 again, the world’s first cryptocurrency isn’t actually the biggest gainer of the week.

Bitcoin Price Chart (Image: NikonD300/MaxPixel)
Bitcoin Price Chart (Image: NikonD300/MaxPixel)

Despite its 13.54 percent rise in prices, other large-cap cryptocurrencies (defined as those with over $1 billion in market cap), are perhaps most contributing to what could end up being a recovery from the market’s weak January performance.

Read more: CoinDesk

Coinbase Introduces PayPal-like Commerce Button That Could Change the Game

Have you ever gone to purchase something on an e-commerce website like eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and found the option to pay via the PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) commerce button? Well now, Coinbase has rolled out a commerce platform that might be extremely appealing to merchants. This allows merchants to seamlessly integrate cryptocurrency payments into their current platforms. Currently, Coinbase offers payments for Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC).

Coinbase Dashboard (Image: Bitcoin Investors UK)
Coinbase Dashboard (Image: Bitcoin Investors UK)

Making it more convenient for cryptocurrency holders to make everyday purchases is a smart move by Coinbase. For now, this new service is not open to new signups by companies. However, on the website it states that major companies are already signed up and have used this new feature. It’s unclear if they have just tested a Beta phase of this product, but the companies listed include Overstock (NASDAQ:OSTK), Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), and Digital River. On Coinbase’s website it says that currently, 48,000 businesses trust the platform to integrate Bitcoin payments. It remains unknown if these other companies such as Dish, USAA, Reddit, and 1800 Flowers, are testing this commerce button as well.

Read more: CryptocurrencyNews

Buy the Bitcoin Dip

Everyone following cryptocurrency knows we’ve had a big correction of late – some would say crash, but those of us who’ve been in crypto for a while know that it’s par for the course. Cryptos are volatile, get over it!

Earlier today I saw signs for a bottom in the market when the price dropped to £4300 and then hung there for a while. Following it for a few hours this evening I saw it gradually come back up and, although it dipped a few times, it never went down so low again. I think that was the lowest point, the dip.

Bitcoin price chart (Image: geralt/Pixabay)
Bitcoin price chart (Image: geralt/Pixabay)

They say ‘buy the dip’ so I put my money where my mouth is and bought from Coinbase – in fact by the time I had become sure things were going up it had already reached £5500 so that’s what I paid. As I write this it’s at £5600 but still jumping up and down. It’ll be interesting to see where it is tomorrow morning. I’m confident it will be the right side of £4300.

Meanwhile for a bit of light relief – one can spend too long looking at charts and agonising over price changes – here’s the Coin Bros with “Buy the F*#!ing Dip”. Enjoy!

Banks in Britain and U.S. ban Bitcoin buying with credit cards

(Reuters) – Banks in Britain and the United States have banned the use of credit cards to buy Bitcoin and other “cryptocurrencies”, fearing a plunge in their value will leave customers unable to repay their debts.

Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY.L), Britain’s biggest lender, said on Sunday it would ban its credit card customers from buying cryptocurrencies, following the lead of U.S. banking giants JP Morgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Citigroup (C.N).

Bitcoin (Image: Pixabay)
Bitcoin (Image: Pixabay)

The move is aimed at protecting customers from running up huge debts from buying virtual currencies on credit, if their values were to plummet, a Lloyds spokeswoman said.

Concerns have arisen among credit card providers because their customers have increasingly been using credit cards to fund accounts on online exchanges, which are then used to purchase the digital currencies.

However, other banks said on Monday they will continue to allow credit card customers to buy cryptocurrencies.

“We constantly review our protections for customers as a responsible bank and lender, and are keeping this matter under close review,” a spokeswoman for Barclays said.

“At present UK customers can use both their Barclays debit card and Barclaycard credit card to purchase cryptocurrency legitimately,” she said.

Read more: Reuters

Cryptocurrency Mining course

Following on the heels of January’s very sociable Milton Keynes Cryptocurrency Meetup, those who attended were invited to a Cryptocurrency Mining Course last weekend in Witney.

System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Course (Image: BIUK)
System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Course (Image: BIUK)

It was kindly put on, for free, by Kevin Ackland, owner of Systems & Solutions. He and Richard Owen, IT Manager, gave a broad and very interesting presentation covering cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in general, and mining on PC hardware in particular.

System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Rig (Image: BIUK)
System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Rig (Image: BIUK)

This was followed by a wide ranging discussion on cryptocurrency and mining. I found this particularly interesting as I am new to mining, having just dabbled in a little GPU and CPU mining. Some of the attendees have extensive experience so I learned a lot.

System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Rig (Image: BIUK)
System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Rig (Image: BIUK)

We then had a look at a mining rig in operation, including going through the processes of starting it up and operating it. This included monitoring the operation, and power usage, via smartphone apps. I was surprised, and impressed, at how quiet it ran (having seen YouTube videos of very noise dedicated Bitcoin miners).

System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Rig (Image: BIUK)
System & Solutions Cryptocurrency Mining Rig (Image: BIUK)

My thanks go to Kevin and Richard for putting on the course and for being such good hosts. If you’re considering getting a mining rig, and you’d like one made to your specification, do consider Systems & Solutions.

Bitcoin investors warned they could unknowingly owe tax

Bitcoin investors who made huge gains when the cryptocurrency’s value rocketed last year have been warned that they could unknowingly owe tax to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Bitcoin Electronic Money (Image: MaxPixel)
Bitcoin Electronic Money (Image: MaxPixel)

However, there is some confusion around the issue, as Ed Molyneux, the boss and co-founder of cloud accounting software provider FreeAgent, explains:

“HMRC sees bitcoin profits being subject to capital gains tax, but there does not appear to be a definitive answer on the issue yet, which could cause confusion among investors.”

It comes down to whether bitcoin is classified as an investment or a currency. Currencies are exempt from capital gains tax, but investments and commodities are not.

Read More: CityAM

Experiments in Crypto Mining 2: Cryptocurrency Mining with a Home PC

After my initial rather disappointing first foray into mining cryptocurrency (specifically the Bitcore coin using my PC’s graphics card) I didn’t pursue the idea further. It hadn’t been a great surprise as my graphics card was old and looking rather underpowered compared to the latest GPUs.

However, last week I heard about someone profitably CPU mining the Aeon coin and I decided to take another look. I followed the same process, starting by downloading the Minergate software.

I installed it (despite lots of warnings, presumably false alarms, about viruses), created an account and kicked it off. You need to create an account on the MinerGate.com website, and you then link to this from the MinerGate app.

Mining XMR using the MinerGate app (Image: BIUK)
Mining XMR using the MinerGate app (Image: BIUK)

The process began with running a benchmark. The result of this was a score for my PC of 927 – four stars! That sounded encouraging. However it then said “You can make an extra 50 USD per year with only this computer” which rather brought things down to earth.

Anyway, after running it overnight the results were that I made a few tens of pence in Monero/XMR in parallel with FantomCoin/FCN (the software chooses what it believes is the most profitable coins for you) but spent about 50p in electricity. So overall it was not profitable.

My conclusion therefore is not just that my old PC isn’t any good for GPU mining of cryptocurrency, it’s no use for CPU mining either!

My cunning plan now is to use a new, powerful gaming PC for mining that I ordered recently. Watch this space to see how I get on.

Experiments in Crypto Mining 3: Mid-range Graphics Card