April 5, 2018
For those in the know, mining cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, demands a lot of processing power from your computer, and will also very quickly rack up your electricity bill.
Students are ‘dropping out’
For this reason, university students in the US have been at an advantage, because their electricity bill is often included in the rent for their dorm rooms.
This hasn’t changed, but what has changed is the increase in mining costs, combined with a fall in many of the cryptocurrencies being mined.
Crypto-miners are not alone in facing these issues – it affects avid gamers too. The rising cost is linked to the graphics cards used in computers, and these graphic cards alone can easily cost as much as the average person spends on a whole laptop.
Is mining still feasible?
Whereas university students were making quite a lot of money off of mining in the past, these days it can yield as little as $100 per month – which, if they paid for the electricity themselves, would not be a feasible business for the students.
One student reported that he last year managed to mine .00027 Bitcoins daily, but that it cost him 24 kilowatt of electricity to mine. With the soaring price in Bitcoin back then, it seemed like a great idea – these days, it’s a less attractive option.
The simple reason why crypto-mining is becoming more expensive is due to the fact that currencies like Bitcoin are inflation-proof: the system is set up in a way that there is a limit to how many Bitcoins can be in circulation at any one time.
This means that mining Bitcoin, for example, becomes more difficult as time passes. The equation computers need to solve to yield Bitcoins become harder the more Bitcoins are in circulation.
As the amount of Bitcoins comes closer to the limit, mining will only be possible for those with the most sophisticated computers – and those who can afford the incredibly expensive energy bill.
Mining costs around the world
The price of mining Bitcoins varies depending on where you are in the world. In South Korea, for example, the price of mining a Bitcoin is double of what Bitcoins are currently worth. Anyone mining in South Korea would therefore have to be very confident that the value of Bitcoin will go up.
In Venezuela, conversely, the government subsidizes the energy, and so the price for mining one Bitcoin is only around $500 – around 1/20th of the current value of Bitcoins.
The US falls somewhere in the middle – depending on which state you’re in, mining a Bitcoin will cost you around $3,000-4,000. So for the US citizens, mining is still a profitable business.
For those considering to begin mining Bitcoins, there are some good news on the horizon, however. Intel is currently working on a solution that will lower the power consumption of computers used for mining.
Have you been affected by the rising cost in mining? Leave your comments below!
April 4, 2018
There are many ways to describe the market for cryptocurrencies and blockchain, but “stable” is not one of them. One only needs to glance over any news relating to the popular currencies to see that the coin values go up and down, round and round.
New types of cryptos constantly emerge, and some only last a few months before they fade back into obscurity. Investors bite their fingernails and tear their hair out, as they watch their once-promising investments plummet in a split second – just before they rise in value again.
No, the market for cryptocurrencies is anything but stable.
Why many are still reluctant about investing
Compared to traditional markets, the market for cryptocurrencies is extremely volatile. On the stock exchange, you can maybe see stocks move up or down one percent. On the cryptocurrency market, that number is five times as high.
This alone is one of the reasons why many are still choosing to stay far away from cryptocurrencies. Players in traditional markets know better: the bigger you are, the harder you fall. Investing in a market as unstable as cryptocurrencies means taking too many risks, at too high a cost.
Another reason many stay away is that cryptocurrencies are not tied to anything physical, anything tangible, outside the digital world.
Is Stablecoin the solution?
Enter Stablecoin. A cryptocurrency that comes with the promise of solving this issue. Two of the main players in this space are DAI and Tether. The latter of the two, for example, is tied to the US dollar. That means that every Tether coin is, in effect, worth around $1.
Tether supports this by having one actual real dollar for every Tether coin issued. This concept is much more palatable for those who are used to having the reassurance that they stocks can be redeemed for something physical, that there is a guarantee their currencies will be worth something down the line.
But tying cryptocurrencies to a national currency is far from the only option on offer when it comes to stablecoin. Others are offering, or will be offering in the near future, cryptocurrencies tied to traditional assets like gold and oil.
What this also means is that it is possible to exploit the volatility of cryptocurrencies that are not tied to anything. So if you sell a coin like Ripple (worth $100, for example) for 100 Tethers, and Ripple then falls to $20, you can buy five Ripples back. In this way, many investors are making big bucks.
But is Stablecoin safe?
However, not everyone are equally optimistic about stablecoin. Tether as a company has been the subject of some controversy, and many claim there is a conflict of interest between Tether and Bitfenix– they have the same founder.
Doubt has also started to spread as to whether there are any actual US dollars to backup the enormous amount of Tether coins being issued.
Finally, Tether has, as a company, been reluctant to release their accounts, which has raised further suspicion about their legitimacy as a company.
What do you think about Stablecoin? Are they the solution or just another scam? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!