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It’s been a bit of a challenge getting this post to stick anywhere! Medium shadowbanned my crypto related content immediately and even Bitcointalk took it down after about 48 hours. probably because I included reflinks. So I’m grateful to the WhaleReports team for allowing me in.

This article series originally ran behind a paywall at 21Cryptos magazine issues #3, #5, and #6 in January, March, and April 2018. The fine people at 21C agreed I could have the rights to republish the series to be read freely later.

The articles reference mining hashrate rental services MiningRigRentals and Nicehash. Following are my reflinks for those services:

Nicehash: https://www.nicehash.com/?refby=6340
MiningRigRentals: https://www.miningrigrentals.com/register?ref=7591

No part of this article should be construed as advice, investment or otherwise. All actions described herein involve risk, some of it speculative at the highest possible risk. This is permissionless crypto and you own 100% of your choices, risks, and losses.

Thanks for reading!

-nsf

 


 

Contents

1 – WHAT IS $MINING AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?
2 – HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH CRYPTO MINING?
3 – HOW DO I MAKE SERIOUS BANK MINING CRYPTO?

 


 

WHAT IS $MINING AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

 

In the beginning, there was only mining.
If you wanted some bitcoins, it was up to you to head over to bitcointalk, download the open source Bitcoin code, compile it yourself, and set your computer’s CPU to start processing sha256 hashes in the hopes your work would discover the nonce of the next block’s header and earn you 50 bitcoins.
Sure, you could get someone to send you some as a test. But you’d have to do 99% of that work anyway, to even generate yourself a Bitcoin address to receive them with. So why not type in one command line and wait for your computer to make a few on its own?
This is the foundational genius of cryptocurrencies, cryptoassets, cryptotokens, whatever you want to call them– this is what it is. If you have access to a computer, electricity to make it work, and a network to which you can connect… you can create your own valuable asset from the work you do with those tools. If you are online, you have access to income, to safe savings, to purchasing power. You don’t have to buy anything. You do not need anyone’s permission to hold (hodl wasn’t invented yet!), save, spend or trade your bitcoins. Your wallet is a node on a network of money. All nodes follow the same rules, and reject those who break those rules.
Nobody can tell you whether or not you’re allowed to participate in the bitcoin ruleset and the Money over Internet Protocol it enables. Specifically, nobody who is normally in charge of the money and valuable assets people generally use: governments. This ethos is why Libertarians fell in love with Bitcoin so hard! This is also where I first entered the story. I’m not a hardline libertarian, so although I thought the philosophy of Bitcoin was cool af in 2011, I wasn’t super interested. Libertarians are not a dominant force in society, I reasoned, and if Bitcoin was money for Libertarians, Bitcoin couldn’t ever be a dominant force in money. So when I downloaded a Bitcoin-QT wallet, I didn’t bother typing setgenerate true -1 into its console, and I left it on my hard drive to rot.
At the end of 2013, I found a Dogecoin meme on Imgur. I liked how it turned the Libertarian hold on Bitcoin and spanked its ass. Here was a version of Bitcoin that didn’t take itself too seriously… that had a random block reward for the hell of it… that had a massive supply so anyone could have and use a whole bunch… this was a Bitcoin I could get behind. I love underdogs. I love memes. I love trolling those who take themselves too seriously. And I believed Planet Earth is just crazy enough that Dogecoin could challenge Bitcoin as an implementation of it that more people– MOST people– might end up actually using. I wanted some. I downloaded a DOGE wallet and visited faucets that airdripped me tiny amounts of DOGE. It was an awesome first day as a cryptocurrency fan. But on Day 2, the faucets were empty. And I still wanted more Dogecoins.
I didn’t want to sign up to a shady website and send real dollars to buy bitcoins and then turn around and buy dogecoins with those bitcoins. That was a ridiculous idea, to trust multiple websites to take my real money for my intangible playcoins. So the remaining option was to buy a couple of gaming GPUs I could sell later if/when the hobby died out, and make them myself.
This is how LOTS of people– many of whom you call OGs today– got into crypto, and stayed. We were Dogecoiners. We could create our own money for fun.
And then Dogecoin pumped like hell on the cryptomarkets, and suddenly our hobby became for fun AND profit.
The profit started to change everything, and FAST.
The gaming rig optimizing community began adding more than one GPU to a computer, making even the most tricked-out gamer’s rig look like an empty box by comparison, all in the name of tweaking for more bitcoins more efficiently. Then miners began building and running multiples of these Frankensteins, in parallel, creating a run on the retail GPU market that left shelves empty to the puzzlement of big box stores, totally throwing the “I’ll just resell to gamers” backup plan out the window (unless you knew like ninety basements’ worth of gamers). Then dedicated ASIC machines hit the marketplace, designed to only mine Bitcoins, making everyone’s investment in bitcoin-mining GPUs instantly obsolete– but they could still mine Dogecoins (or Litecoins or many other coins), and dump them for Bitcoins or trade them for profit or HODL them tight. New variations of Bitcoin with parameters designed to be better and fairer than bitcoin started springing up, rallying miners to support them and earn mounting value for that support. Altcoins challenging Bitcoin’s status, novelty coins, scamcoins, colourcoins, themecoins, you name it. Miners could employ multiple strategies to earn wealth in so many ways that played to individual strengths– computer hardware chops, trading skills, a knack for identifying good projects before anyone else– mining became an edge that PAID.
The crypto network of money grew and mining grew with it. Today we have giant Chinese farms burning cheap coal to mine bitcoins and offload the environmental externality costs to the planet’s future. We have hundreds of mineable currencies and hundreds more that you only get by buying, not mining. We have coins using algorithms that can only be mined with CPUs, or GPUs, or their own special ASIC machines.
For every thousand people that have read an article saying Chinese farms have a monopoly on mining crypto, there is a home miner out there exploiting the gap between that idea and the truth, and making BANK. You know how you lord your 5x ICO gainz over traditional investors who used to brag about their banner years of 20% profit? Mining for profit can exploit a more complex game-theory interaction of information asymmetry, timing, and economics, and make that 5x look just as silly. (How silly? I will not get into specifics here, because a) it is good practice to show not tell; b) it is better practice to keep this hypothetical and devalue miners as targets for hax; and c) you wouldn’t believe the gainz, dear reader.)
Yes there are plenty of ways to make money in crypto besides mining.
You can buy ICOs whose tokens live on other networks. However, when you buy an ICO at retail value, you are paying its issuers what they have dictated the their project is worth. But you also have no way of knowing whether the issuers gave massive discounts to secret bulk buyers whose breakeven on the investment is one tenth what yours is… or even if the issuers bought their own ICO themselves to inflate their numbers for the sake of promotion. And between the ICO valuation period– where the issuers tell you how much their project is worth– and the period after the market for its tokens matures, the token will go through something called price discovery, where the market over time figures out what the project is ACTUALLY worth by finding an equilibrium between buyers and sellers. That equilibrium, for a usually pre-product pre-income venture, is almost always going to be lower than the issuers’ number of tokens outstanding times its full retail token price on ICO issue, due to the issuers’ greed or optimism, and the discounts only the issuers can truly quantify. Fundamentals of vapourware promises only matter as a speculative premium on price, until and unless that venture gets a product, a userbase, and revenue. This boils down to one thing: price discovery for an ICO is probably going to start high and trend downward, and as an investor, you are fighting against those odds. And we’re not even going to get into how the United States Securities and Exchange Commission wants to protect you from those bad odds…
You can buy tokens who secure their respective networks via Proof-of-Stake, for the passive income. PoS is fantastic, but it’s got an inherent problem: vulnerability to a Sybil attack, where an attacker spoofs (pretends to be) a whole bunch of unique nodes on the network, and coerces the network to his favour, without anyone else knowing the network is full of fake nodes. There are decent band-aids and even better tech on its way to fixing this with finality, and I don’t suggest you avoid PoS because of Sybil attack risk, just know that it exists. However, its reliability at scale isn’t as conclusively proven as proof-of-work or PoW mining is. You may, as I often do, value the passive income from PoS projects more than the risk of Sybil attack. But you’ve assessed that risk by looking at stake generation and the richlist in the block explorer, right? Right?
You can get airdrops. These are pretty sweet. You get tokens for free. Oh, except you have to fill out a form on a website that fingerprints your browser and OS and serves you an ad with a password-stealing keylogger in it. Or you have to download a wallet with a trojan in it that steals all the other crypto on your computer AND creeps your webcam without you knowing. Or I’m being a pessimist and these free tokens are legit and make it to a marketplace where they trade for… almost zero. (What did you expect for free?!) There are always rare exceptions of legitimate airdrops from which you can grind out some additional working capital, even valuable airdrops, but these are few and far between.
Notice a similarity between these three ways to get crypto? They all require you to buy at someone else’s price, or jump through someone else’s hoop, in order to participate. Mining is unique in that you can make a capital investment with resale value, and then forever choose what to mine, or even to mine at all. You are in control. Unlike PoS, you can mine whatever you want, rather than only produce small amounts of the asset you bought (or some specific related asset). Unlike an ICO, you know your mining costs and can choose the effective price you pay via mining breakeven, rather than taking an issuer’s word for it– and no agency has to give you permission, or legalize over what work your computer does to reward you. And unlike airdrops, you can choose what you want to earn, when you want to earn it. There are unique risks to mining, like a pool not paying you, or capital depreciation/obsolescence of your rigs, but you can account for these. They don’t stand in the way of your full and complete control.
Maybe most importantly, mining introduces you to an important set of fundamentals you may have ignored in your investing. If you’ve bought a PoW coin without knowing what it cost to mine it, you may have been the other side of the trade belonging to a spec miner taking extreme multiples in profit. From your pocket. This is the information gap I mentioned earlier, which directly pays miners. No information gap or profit opportunity? The miner turns off the rig, or points it somewhere else. Information gap that can reduce risk or increase profit? The miner turns on the rig and mines like hell.
You want to be the miner, don’t you.
#iwanttobetheminer

 

HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH CRYPTO MINING?

So you want to get started with crypto mining. You read my last article where we covered why it’s so powerful, not just as a method of earning, but as a tool in understanding and *controlling* your investments and your crypto wealth in a broader sense. You get it, you’re at the front door of my house, and I can hear you pounding on it.
Before I invite you in, do something for me first.
You can run this as a real experiment, or a thought experiment and take my word for it– you assume 100% responsibility!
We’re going to take a look at what it means to have a miner running in your home. Go to minergate.com/downloads/gui and install it on your computer– laptop or desktop, big or small, doesn’t matter. (Good antivirus will alert you, because MinerGate mines crypto, and it is a potentially unwanted program for many people.) Install it and run it for 60 seconds, then turn it off (uninstall it forever if you want).
Did you hear your computer working harder than it ever has? Good. Proof-of-work mining is WORK. It uses all possible resources of your system, pushes the fans to their maximum to keep things running within tolerance, and can still burn out a laptop in a very short amount of time.
If you tried this on a laptop, chances are you turned off MinerGate before your 60 seconds were up due to how spicy and blowy things got.
MINING. IS. HOT. AND. LOUD. It’s not just a case of plugging in a computer and making money. You have to do some planning in order to find out if living with mining rigs is right for you.
Do you live in a small apartment with weak A/C, in a hot climate? Or do you live in a house with a nice cool basement? If you’re the former, think twice before you invest in a mining rig– during the great crypto crash of 2014 I took a Dogecoin mining rig off the hands of a young couple in a similar situation for a very good price, and the girlfriend’s flushed and sweaty face as I carted that milk crate full of AMD 7950s out the door was the definition of relief. You need ventilation for hot computing equipment, both for its health and your peace of mind! The loudness is another factor to consider, especially if there’s constant fan noise 24/7 in your living space– it takes a lot fewer decibels to wreck your ears if the noise is constant. 85 dB at four feet away will damage your hearing permanently after eight hours; GPU and ASIC miners can get uncomfortably close to that, in the mid-70 decibel range, and in close quarters it is not fun to always be shouting or cranking the volume on your TV!
So we’ll continue assuming you have a corner of a nice cool basement, where you’ll run your rig. The next thing you’ll need to consider is your cost of electricity. Most people don’t even know what they pay per kilowatt-hour, and think of this more in terms of the size of their monthly bill. Miners drill down to the details on this one, because running a miner is not unlike running a clothes dryer that never, ever stops– expensive! Once you get your cost per kWh from a recent bill, plug it into any electricity calculator (app or Google one), and see what it would cost to run 1000 watts of power, 24/7, for a month.
Now you have a sense of what your mining hobby is going to add to your monthly electricity bill. This can sometimes eat up 95% of your month’s mining earnings– over 100%, in a crypto bear market! But in general, your mining proceeds will pay for the electricity used to generate them, with some left over. Mining in this way is long and slow, which is fine, because it’s also set-and-forget passive income. It’s not a bad thing to get rich slow! But building up a crypto portfolio this way takes patience, and encourages a lot of people to outright buy their crypto for that instant involvement, as opposed to creating it by mining.
Still want to come into my house, or do you feel like making an excuse and backing away slowly? No worries, this is where we mining evangelists lose people. They’re no longer interested in those 1000x spec mining gains… oh, you’re back? You want a mining rig now? I see.
You have two options. Are you going to buy one or build one?
If you build a GPU rig yourself, you definitely learn more. There is a wealth of guides and informative, step-by-step help out there, because a mining rig is just a beastly gaming rig, and hobbyist computer building has been around for decades. You also get to mine the largest set of possible coins, including brand new coins with brand new proof-of-work algorithms. You can leverage your existing computer experience, or learn enough that you’ll be able to do your own tech support, which is valuable by itself.
You can also buy a pre-built GPU rig, or an ASIC (a machine that only mines one proof of work algorithm, like sha256 for Bitcoin or scrypt for Litecoin). Though these options are at potentially greater upfront expense, and subject to availability, they are plug and play, and will get you up and mining with relatively little time investment on your part.
(Here is an aside. “But what about the third option of cloud mining?” you might say. Cloud mining is almost always a Ponzi scheme. If you have a cloud mining contract, and you can’t log into your dedicated cloud rig and choose to mine at any mining pool that exists, then you are not mining. If anyone says different they are trying to profit from your lack of mining knowledge, if not scam you outright, and if they protest, they can come talk to me. Cloud mining is not mining, in the same way that watching a YouTube video is not 10,000 hours of expertise. Do not get into cloud mining. If you do, you and me? We’re no longer on speaking terms.)
Let’s assume you have made a decision! You are going to buy an ASIC, or you are going to build a GPU rig. Fantastic! This is where my article gets easier to write, as you’re taking over the work from me. Mining is DIY (in the same school as DYOR), and as a self-starter who’s in this to learn, you are going to choose your ASIC or rig parts and get up and running yourself, using your personal Google skills and ability to follow instructions such as those at 1stminingrig.com/tutorial-ethereum-mining-rig-part-1 for a GPU rig build. You have questions, like “What ASIC is most profitable?” and “What GPUs should I buy?” and you’re going to answer all of those yourself! You’ll start with some Googling of benchmarks for different GPUs, checking online computer component prices against your local retailers, or plugging numbers into mining calculators at whattomine.com or coinwarz.com to determine how long it may take to earn back what you spent on your mining rig (assuming nethashes, coin prices, and mining difficulties stay constant, which they literally never do). All by yourself.
However, I have some meta-tips for you, that tutorials or other miners might not readily give you as you ask specific questions.
  1. The most profitable rig is always going to be the one you bought at a great deal. It is a common mistake to agonize over prices and comparisons, when any creative deal you make or savvy discount you get will do far more to lower your number of days to recouping your investment (miners call this ROI) than that agony will. You are not required to buy anything brand new at full price. You do not need a pricy polycarbonate custom open air rig frame when a free milk crate will do.
  2. Uptime is alpha and omega. Miners love to tweak extra profitability out of their rigs, messing around with them trying to squeeze a few extra hashes out of the same equipment. This is a silly hangover from ego-boosting optimization among hobbyists, where the highest benchmark is a reflection of skill. If you spend 8 hours optimizing your rig, and you get an extra 1% of hashrate out of it, congratulations, you played yourself! Your 8 hours of downtime will take that extra 1% of power 800 hours of uptime to make back.
  3. Profitability calculators at whattomine and coinwarz are only snapshots for comparing different equipment. They are not predictors of profit. They are woefully inaccurate, and almost completely useless in telling you how much money you will make. The only thing that will tell you how much money you will make mining? Your own mining.
  4. Keep track of your performance. Be as fine-grained and detailed as you can handle. Daily statistics are great. Once you turn on your rig for the first time, pick something– anything– to mine, and leave it up for a week, don’t move it or jump around pools and coins as much as you might want to. This allows you to set a solid benchmark, so when you change what you’re mining later, you have a definite idea of whether you’re doing better or worse than your benchmark baseline for profit.

Once you are comfortable with your electricity costs, your maximized uptime with minimum time spent troubleshooting, and your rock solid baseline, you can do two things. You can forget about your miner and continue on your way, earning wonderful passive income from crypto, which is probably going to appreciate a ton in value if you hodl!

Or you can go beyond, into the stratospheric realm of speculative mining. If you can master some game theory, deep research, snap decision-making, extreme risk, and right-place-right-time timing, spec mining will make you– bar NONE– the absolute highest returns possible in all of crypto.

 

HOW DO I MAKE SERIOUS BANK MINING CRYPTO?

Welcome to the third and final installment of this article series. If you were interested enough to read this far, then you’re aware that you won’t be handed a 1-2-3 set of instructions to extreme profits, and if you’ve built your own mining rigs, you know that the second the learning grind stopped, the slow grind towards profitability began. Yes it’s a grind, but in grinding you have given yourself an experiential and informational advantage over a casual reader, or someone skipping to the end. To those people, this article might be donkeysauce. To the mining grinders: here is the mindset that will allow you to recognize extremely profitable mining opportunities, and here are the tools you can use to exploit them. Remember, all this is a mere introduction, as anything further would be doing your work for you. I can lead you to the edge of the rabbit hole. From that point, it’s up to you to see how deep it goes.
Arm yourself with your search engine of choice, because we’ll get into a few economics and game theory terms you might need to brush up on. Speculative or spec mining is not in the dictionary yet either, but maybe you and I can put it there!
If you’ve been mining, and the first thing you did was leave your rig pointed to one pool for a week, you now have an fairly accurate idea of what daily earnings you can expect. This is your baseline, and it’s valuable information, because with it, you can evaluate opportunities directly as they pertain to YOU and YOUR MINING. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the almighty USD are marketing and trading benchmarks, but with mining, any kind of conversion can muddy your analysis. If your daily mining baseline profitability is X, this is now your basis against which all opportunities are measured. Therefore, we are now working with opportunity cost. If you mine something, and it earns you less than your baseline, that is an opportunity loss, as you could have just stuck to your baseline, and earned more as well as saving yourself the time.
Broadly, at time of writing, there are two general categories of spec mining: prospecting and launch mining.
Prospector style spec mining is the easiest place to get started learning, as you have the time to hone your evaluation and decision making skills. It’s quite easy to sum up: you sift through all the Proof-of-Work mineable coins that have ever existed, and look for undervalued coins to mine.
Fundamental analysis for prospecting will be a little different from what you’re used to. Something that would be a turnoff, like no Github commits for two years, may be irrelevant to a prospector if the network has a healthy number of nodes, a stable nethash of committed miners, long term charts showing a stable bottom, and rich list addresses show clear accumulation. You could grind out a fairly large bag for a fundamental comeback or an “everything pumps in a bull market” move up. The downside risk is that the nodes and miners could slowly drop away, or the only exchange it trades on could delist it… in prospecting, your greatest risk is the long number of days you’ve spent accumulating this bag when you could have at least been making baseline.
There is an additional edge to prospecting in examining the math behind the coin itself. Look at the block reward and spacing between blocks: how many total new coins are minted per day, and how many of those can you get with your rig? Look at the total network hashrate: if your rig were to join this network, what percentage of that nethash would belong to you? Look at the coin’s specific fundamentals: are there any small positive changes that could have a big impact on the price in the marketplace? If so, how likely are those changes, and how could they be influenced to come about? And finally, look at the timeline to profit: how many months of electricity bills are you willing to eat while you grind out a bag that may be a zero-or-moon situation?
Consider this reminder that I have led you only to the edge of the prospecting rabbit hole. All of the ideas above can be extended further in several directions. The larger the altcoin landscape becomes, the more prospecting opportunities exist deep behind the front page of CoinMarketCap. The most effective prospectors consider their prospecting as a side bet, a high-risk diversification away from all their rigs mining the same thing. They’ll take one “pet coin” they loved from 2014 and dedicate one rig to keeping the network healthy with stable hashrate, signaling to other would-be prospectors that the network is worth keeping alive, and maybe there’s something to this coin they don’t know about…
Launch mining is the most challenging and exciting way to spec mine. It is 9D chess against some of the greatest players in the world– some of whom you may know from Twitter, even more who remain anonymous except for their suprnova.cc handles. If this part of the article seems a little disjointed, it’s because I am giving you a peek at the starting line of the race. There are launch miners out there that might be mad at me for even showing you that much.
It starts with analysis similar to prospecting, but with less information available to you, and almost zero time for you to analyze and act on that information.
Let’s assume that a new coin launches its network, and you are looking at its brand new announcement post in the bitcointalk forum. You have the opportunity to start mining it immediately after the genesis block, at the starting difficulty when blocks are very easy to find and your rig might represent half of the entire network if it were mining RIGHT NOW.
To optimize your chances at profit, you need to make a very quick breakdown of the block reward, spacing between blocks, emission curve, premine if it exists, and total eventual coin float. From that, you need to calculate your expected price per coin if you jump on mining it based on the opportunity cost of your daily baseline (which you should know COLD!). You need this calculation dearly, as it allows you to set your own price for the coin via creation of a breakeven: the number of this new coin you mine in your first day, divided by your daily baseline, is the literal cost of the coin. YOU have set YOUR PRICE for this coin, not the developers or sellers of an ICO!  This new coin doesn’t currently trade on an exchange, and it may never, so rather than sellers or the marketplace dictating the price to you, it is you who get to dictate the price to the marketplace if and when it arises. This should sound powerful, because it is. It’s what you get in exchange for the risk you took.
There are ways to minimize risk. You can make a quick breakdown of fundamentals, as you would analyze an ICO before buying it. Weigh the time it takes you to make an analysis with which you’re comfortable, against the opportunity cost of not jumping on the network right away no matter how it turns out.
There are barriers. Your mining rig(s) might not even be set up to mine a coin with this particular Proof-of-Work algorithm. There may not be any mining pools for this coin right away. There might not even be wallets released for your operating system yet. You can prepare to hurdle these barriers if you have setup your rig with quickly configurable batch files and mining software, a solo mining or self-built stratum pool configuration, and even a compile environment to create your own wallet from the provided open source. (If there is no open source, RUN SCREAMING.)
There are even bigger risks. The entire launch may be a ploy to get seasoned miners, who are known to keep crypto wallets, to download this coin’s wallet which contains an untraceable RAT (remote access tool) trojan that allows them to take over a computer and steal all the crypto that exists on it. There could be a premine hidden in the coin’s source as there famously was with NinjaCoin $NJA. There could even be an extremely sneaky pool share faking exploit that amounts to hidden fake hashrate, as there famously was with Pharma $XPH. You could have misjudged the opportunity and the coin’s blockchain turns out to not work properly at all… or it could work well for awhile, until the dev dumps his premine never to be seen again.
The upsides to these risks are worth it. Imagine you got the chance to be the first buyer of an ICO, and also be allowed to set the price for as low as you can possibly make it, for the very first coins you buy. Then imagine this coin turned out to be a massive, legitimate project, and you got in on the ground floor! This is the optimal case for speculative launch mining.
So how do you find these opportunities at the moment they are born into existence? It’s a nonsensical hangover from the early days of Bitcoin, but at time of writing, nearly every new Proof-of-Work coin worth mining is launched by its developer posting in the Alternate cryptocurrencies > Announcements (Altcoins) section of the bitcointalk.org forum. (Some coins are posted to two smaller forums, cryptocointalk and bitcoingarden, conjunctively or alternatively.) Currently, the Twitter bot @Ubiqannbot live tweets whenever a new [ANN] post is made at bitcointalk. There are plenty of ignorable ICOs and plenty more obvious scams that will alert you and consume your attention, but nobody said this would be easy! You may be able to automate something better for yourself.
There’s one final, important aspect to taking maximum advantage of a good launch mining opportunity. This is similar to leverage trading BTC USD, where taking on additional risk allows you to add a multiplier to your profit or loss. Similarly, even if you could make a 100x on a day’s worth of mining with your own rigs, on a small mining operation, that still may not amount to very much. So how can you leverage mining beyond your own rig?
You can rent other rigs.
Two services exist to let you do this. One of them is MiningRigRentals, and if you’re interested in practicing renting a rig, this is where I suggest you start. It’s straightforward and you can rent any rig that mines almost any Proof-of-Work algorithm that exists. You load your account with bitcoin, litecoin, or ether, pick the rig and the time for which you want to rent it, enter your mining pool information, and you’ll be up and running. This is the simple way to do it. Once you get comfortable, you can create a mining profile, and rent a whole batch of rigs at the same time, if you feel speed of deployment is of the essence.
The other service is Nicehash. Good old NH has made more profit for spec miners over the years than any ICO discount has made anybody ever, I’ll bet.
Nicehash is more complex, and thereby much more powerful. Instead of renting discrete rigs, you specify an amount of hashrate in aggregate that you want to rent, and Nicehash allocates rigs to your rental order, sending that hashrate to your chosen mining pool. And instead of paying a set price for the rigs, you bid for price-per-hash in a dynamic auction. Nicehash’s internal algorithm is constantly reallocating its hashrate to orders as they outbid each other. It is a centralized service, and it freely buys up its own hashrate in order to prevent stink rental bids, so owners of mining rigs selling their hashrate to Nicehash don’t underperform their baselines and leave for greener pastures. The first time you look at Nicehash, it will be donkeysauce to you. Their documentation is thorough even if the second-language English isn’t perfect, so persevere and be prepared to pay some tuition via losses during experimentation.
If throwing perfectly good bitcoin at rented mining rigs to gain little-known amounts of brand new coins that may be scams or never end up being traded anywhere sounds extremely risky to you, that’s good, your head is screwed on straight. Over time, as you become more confident with the lightning-quick evaluation of new launch mining opportunities, your experience will decrease this risk to the point where opportunity outweighs it.
Above all else, recognize that it is up to you to Do Your Own Research! This is where I leave you to do that. Thank you for your interest in mining. Good luck, and maybe we’ll cross paths again in our spec mining efforts. NSF out.