The value of Bitcoin has rocketed throughout 2017 – and pundits seem confident that the cryptocurrency boom is far from over. In early August, the value of a single Bitcoin reached over US$4000 for the first time. Somebody who owned just $1 worth of Bitcoin in 2010 would now be sitting on a fortune worth over $1.4 million!
Perhaps you are one of the many people kicking yourself right now because you wondered about getting involved in Bitcoin in the past and let the opportunity pass you by? Putting aside the ludicrous fortunes early adopters have made, people who invested in the currency as recently as 2015 are still looking at a return of around 10 times their initial investment.
So have you missed the boat? Well, perhaps not. One stock researcher has predicted that the value could almost double again. Furthermore, you don’t even need to buy them – you could mine for them instead.
What IS Bitcoin Mining?
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are digital currencies generated by solving complicated mathematical problems. Bitcoin miners are essentially computers that solve these problems, and also help to verify transactions within the Bitcoin network. This something of an oversimplification – but is essentially how the currency works.
As there are a finite number of Bitcoins available for mining, the practice gets progressively harder and requires more and more processing power as time goes on. Back in the early days of the currency, a standard home PC could successfully mine Bitcoin, but nowadays far more powerful hardware is required. This has lead to enthusiasts working hard to build ultimate mining rigs for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
How Easy is it?
The bad news is that you can’t just install a piece of software on a bog-standard laptop and watch a fortune arrive in your Bitcoin wallet! (Well, not unless you can jump in a time machine and head back to 2009!) This is an enthusiast’s pursuit, and it’s important to consider the profitability of currency mining, once the cost of hardware and electricity is taken into account.
However, if you are inspired by the thought of tweaking settings and squeezing all the power you can out of processors and graphics cards, profitability is possible. In fact, if you build a powerful machine for gaming or video editing, it could double as a mining rig at other times – for Bitcoin, or for other currencies like Ethereum. The two main options for getting started are to buy a dedicated computer rig designed for mining, or build something yourself like the setup mentioned above.
What Can you Spend it on?
The days when it was hard to spend Bitcoin are long gone. Some of the companies that accept Bitcoin are positively mainstream. Retailers including the likes of Dell, CEX and Expedia are among thousands that have embraced cryptocurrency payment. It’s even possible to gamble with Bitcoin. Bitcasino is available in a selection of countries, with a Bitcasino variant among the options. You can stake and win directly using the currency – so if you combine a win with a rise in Bitcoin’s value, you can essentially cash in twice!
Bitcoin seems to have reached the stage where detractors are being silenced by mainstream acceptance. With hedge funds getting involved, and talk of the currency being seen as a “safe haven” for investment, thinking about the mining options seems like a good idea – even if you have missed your chance of becoming one of the first big Bitcoin millionaires!