The best bitcoin mining machines you can buy represent application-specific integrated circuits, which represent hardware that was specifically designed to mine bitcoins. In the early years of its inception, Bitcoin miners used their regular computers to mine bitcoins, but the system wasn’t fast enough and was affected the performance of the computers. Miners moved to using the graphical processing units (GPUs) as they could hash data much faster (50 to 100 times) and used less power.
Then, in 2013, came ASICs, which quickly captured the bitcoin mining market as they used less power than CPUs or GPUs and made possible the development of bitcoin mining farms. With the ascension of other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum or Litecoin, traditional CPUs and GPUs are still used by miners, which is why companies like NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) are still enjoying a boost in sales of chips provided by higher demand from cryptocurrency mining. Recently, a new concept emerged, called “cloud mining”, which allows miners to rent computer power from a provider like Gensis Mining, but the concept is still fresh and prone by many scams.
Mining bitcoins involves identifying new transactions into a group of transactions called a block, which is a added to the blockchain (a distributed ledger that keeps all transactions). Each block includes a cryptographic hash of the previous block, but to be accepted, the new block must include a number called nonce (a number used once). To identify the correct nonce, miners might try different values. The current number of nonces that miners have to try before creating a new block stands at around 6.24 sextillion. The miner that identifies a new block gets a reward in bitcoins, which was initially set at 50 bitcoins per block, but was halved twice since then and currently stands at 12.5 bitcoins per block. As the limit of 21 million bitcoins in circulation is reached, the reward will amount to zero.
But is bitcoin mining profitable? As with any business, it takes some initial investment in the form of a bitcoin mining machine, which can cost thousands of dollars, as you shall see in our list of 5 best bitcoin mining machines you can buy. In addition, bitcoin mining machines, or rigs, consume quite a lot of electricity. Recently, it has been estimated that the Bitcoin network is using 240 kilowatt-hours of electricity per transaction, or 32.53 terrawatt-hours (TWh) per year, which makes it the 62nd biggest consumer of energy in the world, above Serbia and just below Denmark. As Bitcoin price has surged past $16,000 and some estimate that the price could reach $100,000 next year, there are concerns that, as more companies engage in mining, the energy demand from the network will soar further, which could potentially affect the environment in countries that rely on coal-based power stations. At the same time, the cost of electricity eats into the profits, which is why many bitcoin miners are concentrated in China, where electricity is cheap (but is also mostly created through burning coal). In addition to bitcoin, you can take a look at other most profitable cryptocurrencies and coins to mine in 2017.
Therefore, as electricity consumption is a major factor in bitcoin mining, manufacturers of the best bitcoin mining machines you can buy, factor in electrical efficiency, which results in a higher price tag, but can pay off over the long run. Another important factor that manufacturers of best bitcoin mining machines take into account is the capacity or hash rate, which is the rate at which the bitcoin mining rig goes through mathematical problems per second. The best bitcoin mining machines you can buy have this capacity measured in Terra Hashes per second.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at 5 best bitcoin mining machines you can buy.