Bitcoin mini mining rig prices $ 875, Starbucks house owners can mine
Idan Abada has set itself the task of democratizing Bitcoin mining. For him, minting new coins is not just something for professionals.
His message seems to resonate with the masses.
Abada, who lives in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, posted a video of himself using free Starbucks electricity to power a $ 875 mini bitcoin mining rig. The post has since gone viral on TikTok, with 2.6 million views and trends.
The rig looks very different from a warehouse full of swirling ASICs – an image that has become synonymous with crypto mining.
Instead, the Abada miner is relatively simple: it consists of a multi-port USB hub, a mounted mini fan and ten USB sticks, each containing two ASIC mining chips manufactured by Bitmain.
“It’s one of the easiest miners to set up and run because all you need is a computer or a laptop,” explained Abada. “It is operated via USB, and that’s it. Anyone can become a miner and be part of the crypto world.”
Computers in a warehouse near one in Iceland where Bitcoin mining machines were stolen. Iceland’s cheap electricity and cool weather that keeps computers cool have made it a prime location for mining cryptocurrencies.
Egill Bjarnason | The New York Times
A $ 875 mining rig
Abada began mining bitcoin in his room in a shared apartment in 2015 – where he agreed with roommates to pay extra for electricity – and opened his own shop in 2017.
“I noticed that it was really hard to buy bitcoin mining equipment, so I started BitcoinMerch.com,” Abada said. “At first I just sold a few cables and very basic equipment.”
The company now offers its customers all of the hardware they need to get started in mining.
Research firm Technavio expects the overall market for global crypto mining hardware to grow by $ 2.8 billion from 2020 to 2024. Abada says his business has grown exponentially over the past four years as interest in crypto has increased.
Abada says Bitcoin Merch sales so far this year have hit $ 428,000, up 355% from 2020.
One of the top sellers on Bitcoin Merch is the NewPac – the main component of the rig featured in Abada’s viral TikTok video.
“We sold thousands and if we get more they run out quickly,” he said.
Abada says Missouri-based GekkoScience took apart a large miner from China and repurposed the parts for the NewPac. Each of the mini USB rigs have two ASIC chips, making the $ 875 rig a total of 20 chips.
However, while this consumer-friendly facility was made from parts provided by a Chinese miner, the two are fundamentally different, according to Abada.
For one, its budget rig is much quieter than the industrial-grade bitcoin miners.
“It’s not loud so you can run it next to your desk. That’s a big advantage, ”explains Abada.
“With industrial miners you need a warehouse, you need power lines, you need cooling, that’s a whole thing. If you try to get one out of your house, it gets so loud that you can’t sleep in that house anymore” , he said.
But his rig is also much less powerful.
Two important factors in determining a rig’s performance are how much power it uses and how much hashing power it produces. Hashing power, or hashrate, is an industry term used to quantify the amount of computing power a rig contributes to the entire Bitcoin network.
“The downside is that this rig has a very low hashrate,” Abada said. That means this machine will tend to produce less bitcoin than competing rigs.
“These USB miners are typically much less energy efficient than a traditional ASIC,” said Bitcoin mining engineer Brandon Arvanaghi.
It’s not worth it
It might look cool, but Abada is the first to admit that his TikTok fame doesn’t make money.
“It’s actually hard to make a profit if you don’t have free electricity,” he said.
Approximately every ten minutes, 6.25 bitcoins are created. To mint these new tokens, a global pool of miners is contributing all of their computing power to run a hashing algorithm called SHA-256.
The exact same code runs on every single bitcoin mining rig on the planet, including the code featured in Abada’s Starbucks TikTok post.
But these miners don’t run the SHA-256 algorithm in a vacuum. You will compete against each other to see who can unlock each batch of new bitcoins first.
You almost have to join a team of other miners to win, and that’s exactly what Abada did with his rig. But even with the help of this so-called mining pool, the income from his small rig is rather low.
Abada says his mini miner generates 0.0002478 bitcoin per month, minus a 5% mining pool fee. At today’s prices, that’s worth $ 9.35. Since he mines in Los Angeles, where electricity bills are 22 cents per kilowatt-hour, if he runs his facility 24 hours a day, he pays a total of $ 15.84 in electricity bills.
So Abada actually ended the month at around $ 5.88 in the red.
It should be noted that these numbers change by the minute and depend on the price of Bitcoin and the global hashrate.
These types of operating margins are why Arvanaghi says it is almost always a rule that buying Bitcoin directly is cheaper than mining it unless you have “very cheap electricity or large-scale” facilities.
“When it comes to crypto mining, it’s all about break-even costs,” said Arvanaghi.
“USB miners like this one could be attractive to people who don’t have to pay for their own electricity. Maybe children in public places, dormitories, buildings with shared electricity prices, employees stealing electricity from their company, ”he said.
The most practical use case for this miner? A fun hobby for those who are into crypto.
“I think they are cool news and help educate people about bitcoin mining,” said Whit Gibbs, CEO and founder of Compass, a bitcoin mining service provider.
Gibbs runs a company that offers the uninitiated the opportunity to get into the mining game.
However, Compass customers do not keep their mining rigs safe. Instead, Gibbs and his team help customers purchase mining hardware and install it in various data centers that host the hardware, merge it with other rigs, and handle day-to-day logistics. It’s more of a practical approach to mining.
But for Abada it’s about getting as close as possible to the mining process.
“I am now dedicated to teaching and helping beginners around the world mine cryptocurrencies in their own homes,” he said.