Bitcoin, a recurring theme in global headlines due to the your tall and lows in the market, is the third investment preferred by Brazilians, according to a survey carried out by FGV in partnership with the cryptoactive fund manager Hashdex.

Considered by many to be the moeda digital In the future, its name is often linked to large financial transactions.

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The digital asset even aroused interest even from important figures like Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.

Bitcoin cryptocurrency mining
The current moment in the world of cryptocurrencies is one of euphoria. Image: rzoze19 / Shutterstock

And not for less: at first, know that the current moment in the world of cryptocurrencies is one of euphoria. Proof of this is that Coinbase, one of the main cryptocurrency exchanges today, has registered billionaire quarterly profit,US$1,6 billion.

In March 2021, for example, the mining sector turned over US$ 1,5 billion (almost R$ 8 billion in the current direct conversion), according to data from the study by The Block Research.

To give you an idea, bitcoin alone hit the $898,1 billion mark in capitalization in September 2021. That's just under the $1 trillion that the feature hit at the beginning of the same year, but it is worth saying that the fact did not make the currency less valuable in the eyes of investors.

The most popular cryptocurrency has accessibility as one of its main attractions, as anyone can invest a minimal amount of money in it, or even decide to bet on the asset mining on their own.

If you want to try your hand at this second option, however, you need to understand – first of all – what requirements and problems you are likely to face along the way when choosing to mine bitcoins.

Next, you can see that, in addition to expensive devices, cryptocurrency mining can be very costly. electricity.

So, before getting your hands dirty, take the time to take a look at our content and evaluate the pros and cons of this activity and whether it's really worth investing in the idea.

But before explaining what you need to mine bitcoins, let's back up a bit.

What is bitcoin mining?

Mining, very briefly, consists of a mathematical problem that the computer (or any machine set up for that purpose) works to find the result. The reward for miners who can solve this equation is a fraction of bitcoin. This principle is the same for other cryptocurrencies as well.

In cryptocurrency mining, miners use devices capable of solving several equations per second so that the gains are greater.

In practice, after validating a mined block, the miner is rewarded. But for that, he also needs to be the first of all to come up with a solution to a numerical problem.

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How to mine bitcoin?

As this is a race to see who solves the mathematical problem first - who solves it first is who can pocket the bitcoin fraction -, the devices used to mine bitcoin need to meet a basic requirement: have a lot of processing power.

As these machines are working all day, living in a place with cheap energy also helps. In Brazil, for example, keep in mind that the profit from the operation may not be enough even to cover electricity costs, so it is important to evaluate each case carefully.

Finally, many miners also opt for cooler climate locations, as cooler temperatures prevent mining equipment from overheating. With this, the risk of something burning decreases and you also won't need to spend on some kind of extra cooling system.

1. Have the correct equipment

Before starting to mine, it is necessary to invest in the acquisition of appropriate equipment for this operation. A few years ago, when the digital asset began to gain ground in the market, a common computer equipped with some video cards was enough.

Today, however, you won't get great results mining like that. You can even earn something, but the fraction will be so small that, in the end, it won't be worth it.

Currently, to “extract” bitcoins more efficiently, the miner needs special hardware that can cost up to tens of thousands of reais.

ASIC mining equipment
ASIC mining equipment set. Image: Artie Medvedev / Shutterstock

A device that has this function and is one of the best known on the market is called ASIC. Devices in this category consume less energy and are able to mine more bitcoins than a normal computer.

2. Have a cryptocurrency wallet

The next step, when it comes to mining bitcoins, is setting up your cryptocurrency wallet. It is there that you will receive the cryptoactives after delivering your work, which is the solution to the equation we talked about earlier.

These virtual wallets also allow you to manage your “bitcoin address”. Each address has two keys: one public and one private. 

A public key is made up of a combination of letters and numbers and basically looks like this: “18ukxpD1eqnVjux13ehEz8r4d8py1dSdzw". 

You can track all transactions that went through a public address. The private key, on the other hand, only serves to send assets in transactions. 

It's worth an important caveat: if you lose or forget your private key, you will also lose access to your bitcoins forever!

As we will see later, there are several types of wallets, from online wallets to offline wallets. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

3. Participate in cooperation between miners

Even investing in an ASIC device, nowadays it's almost impossible to earn bitcoins mining alone, since a single machine can't compete with the large mining farms that exist around the world.

To get around this situation, you can join so-called “mining pools”.

There, miners offer their extra processing power to other groups. When a certain amount of bitcoins is extracted, the final gain is divided among the members of a pool.

4. Have a bitcoin mining program on your computer

Theoretically, now that you've invested in the hardware, set up your cryptocurrency wallet, and joined a mining pool, you need to install mining software on your computer to bridge the gap. It is this program that will connect you to the blockchain network and, consequently, to valuable bitcoins. 

Below, we will see some examples of software that, in addition to monitoring activities, also show temperature statistics and average mining speed.

The good news is that there are several options for free bitcoin mining programs that can run on different operating systems. 

5. Everything ready to start mining

To start mining, just turn on your machine and access the mining software.

After filling in the details about your portfolio and mining pool, simply select your ASIC device and let the operation in progress.

How to mine bitcoin: mining programs

If you've made it this far and already have at least one wallet to keep your assets safe, it's a good idea to evaluate some mining software options.

In addition to acting as a bridge between your hardware (whether it's an ASIC device or your computer) and the blockchain network, many software offers statistics on average throughput and processing used.

Here are four examples of programs for mining bitcoins:

CGMiner

This is one of the oldest mining software and therefore it is compatible with most hardware. The program works with a single command line and brings features such as: refrigeration control, performance monitoring and remote use capabilities.

BFGMiner

The second alternative is compatible with ASIC hardware and brings complete monitoring options. He is known for his focus on efficiency and allowing fine adjustments at every step of the mining process.

EasyMiner

Easyminer is an opensource program that bets on an intuitive interface. With support for multiple mining modalities, the software allows customization whether you want to mine alone or in a pool.

Awesome miner

Finally, Awesome Miner is a good choice for those who have more than one device dedicated to bitcoin mining.

The program, compatible with Windows and Linux, also has an interface that can be accessed via mobile phones, tablets and other gadgets.

bitcoin wallets

To invest in bitcoins, it is recommended to choose one of the various digital wallets available on the market to protect your assets.

Cryptocurrency wallets can be divided into two categories: online and offline. Online wallets work through an internet connection. Offline wallets, as the name implies, do not need to be always connected.

The advantage of an online wallet (also called a hot wallet) is that transfers can be performed quickly. These wallets are generally used by people who carry out a lot of transactions.

Perhaps the main disadvantage is that they are more vulnerable to cybercriminal attacks. On the other hand, offline wallets (cold wallets), despite not providing so much ease in transferring assets, are theoretically safer, as they are not connected all the time.

Anyway, when choosing a portfolio, consider your goals. If you intend to invest for the long term, cold portfolios may be a more interesting option. However, if the idea is to have assets always available for trading, hot portfolios are the most suitable.

How to mine bitcoin through the cloud?

The cloud is another option that can make the mining process easier. While some prefer to invest in their own hardware to mine bitcoins, in cloud computing you don't have to worry about buying expensive devices to mine.

In this case, even with an older computer, the user can mine bitcoins. To do this, just hire a cloud mining provider (most of them allow you to invest your money in mining funds).

That money results in rewards for your investment. Therefore, the more you invest, the more rewards will be offered.

In addition, these platforms already have established cryptocurrency mining farms. All they need is investment, used to pay for the maintenance and operating costs of the mining.

What equipment do I need to mine?

As we saw before, in the case of bitcoin, it's no longer enough to just have a state-of-the-art computer and some video cards to make a profit (or even to be able to start a mining process).

The ideal is, in fact, to purchase an ASIC device, but one of its main disadvantages is its final price: in Brazil, some versions of the equipment can cost up to R$ 75. 

Even though it consumes less electricity, investing this amount right away can take months of mining to recoup the investment.

How to mine bitcoin by mobile?

Considering that we have more and more powerful smartphones on the market, it's almost inevitable not to think about how high-end cell phones do in bitcoin mining, right?

The procedure actually works, but in addition to being more complicated, it requires specific applications. In the case of iPhones, an extra step is needed, which is to be registered as an Apple developer for the process to work.

It's worth noting that there are several apps that are supposed to be used for mining, but most of them can be loaded with adware or be so complicated to use that it's not worth continuing.

Finally, estimates indicate that leaving a modern iPhone mining bitcoins for 24 hours would be about 0,000852 bitcoin in a month — currently, that's about R$200.

In the end, it's not worth risking your phone's integrity with such a low return.

How long does it take to mine 1 bitcoin?

Bitcoin cryptocurrency mining
Mining a bitcoin unit alone is almost impossible. Image: kitti Suwanekkasit / Shutterstock

Mining a single bitcon by a single miner can take years to complete. And, today, this possibility could be unfeasible or even almost impossible due to the increasing level of competition. 

Remember that there are hundreds of thousands of miners on the network, each of them competing to guess the so-called “hash”, a hexadecimal combination made up of 64 digits.

Can anyone mine bitcoin?

The short answer to this question is: yes! However, as seen above, competition can make bitcoin mining unprofitable, as to gain in efficiency it will be necessary to invest heavily in devices with high processing power.

Keep in mind that mining is a competition. In the end, whoever has the most powerful hardware will get the best results. 

And considering the current scenario of energy crisis in Brazil, this activity is even more costly due to the high cost of energy at the end of the month – not to say unethical.

Attention to energy consumption

Speaking of large energy costs, according to Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, the entire bitcoin mining network in the world consumes more energy electricity per year than the whole of Argentina.

This is one of the vital problems with cryptocurrencies: in order to keep the process running, electricity must inevitably be used up. With the increase in mining, this activity can still become one of the great villains in another aspect: the impact on the environment. 

Another study, this time from the magazine Nature, concluded that bitcoin mining in China will generate 130,5 million metric tons of carbon in the atmosphere by 2024.

To try to mitigate the high energy consumption, some people even resort to renting generators to make the mining process viable.

How much does a bitcoin miner earn?

The miner is also rewarded with a so-called “transaction fee” in exchange for transaction validation services. This fee, which varies from block to block, can reach up to 6,25 bitcoins — which is equivalent to almost R$ 1,6 million at the current price.

However, validating transactions does not mean automatically winning this jackpot, to receive the amount you need luck and speed. He still needs to be the most agile – after all, as we said at the beginning of the text, being a miner requires agility.

Note that this bitcoin reward is halved every four years. The last change, inclusive, was made in May 2020. 

As a curiosity: in 2009, the year bitcoin mining started, this reward was 50 bitcoins (more than R$12,5 million).

How to mine bitcoin for free?

Some websites and apps distribute small fractions of the cryptocurrency for free. We have already seen that one bitcoin is equivalent to a large amount, however, the asset can be divided into satoshis (a bitcoin is worth 100 million satoshis). They are the ones that are distributed around for free.

O Freebtico.in, a kind of virtual lottery, offers bonus bitcoins per hour. On the website, there is the possibility of multiplying the coins acquired in a casino game or buying tickets. Another similar service is the 777Bitco.in, a platform that distributes up to 11 million satoshis in a similar scheme.

There are also services such as Paidbooks, where the user receives 150 satoshis every 10 minutes for reading books. O Bitvisitor, in turn, offers bonus bitcoins every five minutes if the user visits a certain number of sites.

There are several games and services that offer rewards in this way, however, the tiny amount is not worth it when the idea is to invest in the bitcoin market to profit.

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How do I know if my PC is mining bitcoin?

It is also important to find out if someone is using your computer resources to secretly mine cryptocurrencies. The website The Pirate Bay, for example, already was caught using the visitors' processor to mine cryptocurrencies.

Know that there are a few ways to identify these cases. One is to open the task manager on your computer and check the processor (CPU) usage graph. If you notice something out of the ordinary, it could be that something is “sucking” the power of your machine.

A processing spike when visiting a particular website is also a warning sign that the page may be performing a task that uses its processor in the background.

Also, if you close all windows and CPU usage is still high, you may have a mining-related malware issue. Cases where infected ads have resulted in this same behavior have also been reported.

A solution to solve the problem is to open the Task Manager, identify the process that is consuming these resources and close it.

Difficulty mining bitcoin: hashrate

As we noted in previous topics, the probability of a miner being the first to find a solution to a problem is measured by its mining power relative to the blockchain network.

First of all, you need to understand two concepts: what is computational power and hashrate? The processing power of a computer refers to the amount of problems it can solve per second. This division by time is called the hashrate (mining fee).

Processors used for mining have a hashrate in the terabytes per second (T/s) range, which equates to trillions of hashes per second — trillions of tries per second to find the blockchain solution. 

To be competitive, it is necessary to have a high hashrate, as the higher the hashrate of a network, the more difficult the mining process becomes.

Is it worth it to mine on your own?

As stated earlier, although mining cryptocurrencies at home is not impossible, you will face competition that makes the activity practically unfeasible financially speaking.

Is mining bitcoin a crime?

No. The truth is that bitcoin has created a new situation in the market: the first digital and decentralized currency in the world.

As the asset becomes more popular, tax authorities and regulators around the world are wrestling with exactly where it might fit into existing regulations.

Conclusion

Now that you've come this far and know what it takes to mine bitcoins, it's time to assess the advantages and disadvantages of the process before investing your money.

Even if you have the necessary resources, it's not worth moving forward if mining will ultimately result in loss.

Finally, it is still necessary to take into account that bitcoin is currently not profitable for beginning miners. The cryptocurrency mining has turned into a business of gigantic proportions, in which companies alone can surpass 400 hashrate points (the speed at which devices can process data).

Thus, other alternatives may be more interesting for those who want to enter the cryptoactive market, for example, investing in specialized companies that carry out this entire process. 

It is also worth taking a look at other cryptocurrencies such as Ether, ZCash, Monero, which allow you to use more modest hardware in mining and may represent a more attractive investment, depending on your profile.

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