While cryptocurrency had its ups and downs in the early part of the pandemic, prices have been skyrocketing since the fall of 2020. Spurred on even more by Elon Musk’s investment in January 2021, a single bitcoin hit a value of over $58,000 in mid-March 2021. Financial experts are predicting a continued surge in value, up to $100,000 and beyond, per Bitcoin.
Other cryptocurrencies, like Etherium, haven’t reached the same heights as Bitcoin, but they are gaining speed partly because they are more accessible to those just starting out. This potentially lucrative cryptocurrency market is still attracting a lot of miners.
Mining relies on a large number of computers at decentralized locations, working together to verify transactions through a process called “Proof of Work”. Miners attempt to determine the hash, a 64-character string of code in a block that is part of a chain of data. The miner that solves the puzzle earns cryptocurrency rewards. Systems with higher hash rates will have more earning opportunities.
Competition has grown, and puzzles have become more complicated, so virtual mining is no longer feasible with standard laptops or desktops. Now, more powerful, specialized machine setups with faster hash rates or puzzle-solving ability are necessary, and these require constant, 24/7 uptime to be profitable. Mining rigs can be purchased off-the-shelf or can be built from scratch, connecting customized processors, motherboards, hard drives, graphics cards, and power supplies. Together, the units produce a lot of heat which can also slow down their ability to hash efficiently.
Whether you’re mining for the fun of it or digging for serious profitability, power consumption and heat generation in cryptocurrency mining is a serious issue. According to a two-year-long study published in Nature Sustainability in 2018, digital coin mining may use more energy, per unit, than real-world mineral mining such as gold, platinum, and copper. In fact, the University of Cambridge estimates that Bitcoin mining alone uses more energy than the country of Argentina!
While researchers are exploring recycling opportunities in the cryptocurrency industry, it may take some time to find effective solutions. In the meantime, there are ways that you can control energy consumption and heat production in your operation. Selecting the right equipment can minimize your spending and environmental impact.
Controlling Your Costs with Network Switching Products
Mining operations can be as small as a single rig, set up in an apartment. With these units, miners are often seeking Etherium or other less common coins. Since Bitcoin has become so valuable and Bitcoin mining so competitive, its miners are usually housed in large mining farms, with thousands of units, filling warehouses over many acres. With energy use in mind, these enormous operations are often located in northern countries where power costs less and temperatures are cooler.
For successful crypto-currency mining, you need your hardware and your networks to be completely reliable since downtime translates into lost dollars. To keep your profits up, you need to keep your energy and hardware costs and travel time down. As hashing difficulty increases, using hardware that addresses these concerns is more important than ever. Consider that some of these large farms could use up to a thousand network switches. Switches that are well-suited for crypto-currency mining, can keep your network devices connected and communicating consistently and help you reduce costs over time.
What to Look for in a Network Switch for Your Mining Operation
- Energy Saving Technology – Hardware with built-in energy-saving technology will help minimize heat output and energy consumption. Switches with green technology will automatically shut down when not in use, helping you keep electrical costs down.
- Smart Fan or Fanless Technology – Digital coin mining is notorious for producing a great deal of heat and sound at mining sites. While conventional fans run continuously, smart fans can adjust speed according to cooling needs to keep the heat down and lower energy costs. Switches that use alternative methods to dissipate heat may also be an option to keep the noise down too.
- Remote Management – When you need to be away from your mining site, you don’t want to worry about downtime. Use hardware that allows you to log in and monitor your network remotely to keep travel time down.
What to Look for in a Vendor?
Finding the right hardware for your operation is essential and there’s no getting around it; crypto-currency mining equipment is expensive. While it’s tempting to go for the cheapest products, it’s important to select reliable networking hardware that will minimize downtime.
When you’re setting up or upgrading your mining operation, do your research. Look for companies that guarantee reliability and stand behind their products with a good warranty. To keep hardware costs down, choose products with no annual fees or service contracts.
Keeping Everything Down
In an industry that is known for its high energy use, you want to do everything you can to keep energy use down. Choosing the right hardware for your cryptocurrency needs can increase your profitability while decreasing your environmental footprint. Every kilowatt you save helps the environment and increases your bottom line. Browse the full range of D-Link network switching solutions to meet the needs of your mining operation.