One of the best ways to generate your own bitcoins without trading for them is to mine them.
Before we begin, however, it must be noted that Bitcoin Mining via USB is a primitive method of mining bitcoins and nobody who wishes to make a profit, or even the slightest amount of money through mining should use one. However, it is a good tool to get the basic idea of how mining is done without investing much into it.
USB Bitcoin miners were a big thing back in the early days of Bitcoin technology. When it all began, people were mining using their CPUs alone. However then for a short period of time came the age of USB powered Bitcoin Miners which gave a short boost to Bitcoin Mining.
However, as time progressed the mining difficulty increased and high-power devices started to take over. Today, if you make use of a USB Bitcoin miner, it would probably take you hundreds of years to reach even three decimal digits. If you want to learn Bitcoin Mining these are a good, inexpensive option for you. However if you’re serious about mining for Bitcoins, you should check out our complete list of Bitcoin Mining Hardware devices.
Before you begin to mine for Bitcoins using USB Miners, here’s what you’ll need -
A USB Miner
A Bitcoin Mining Software
Joining a Bitcoin Mining Pool
Creating a Bitcoin MIning Wallet
While we have dedicated chapters for each of them, let us refresh our memories by taking a quick glance at each of them:
This is the most critical part as this is the actual, physical device that will do handle the mining operations. When handling major mining operations, users usually tend to purchase an ASIC device which has only one dedicated purpose - to mine for Bitcoins. Similarly, USB Miners too are used to mine bitcoins by connecting them with your PC. As of 2017 there are no ‘new’ Bitcoin USB Miners as the technology is itself about 4 to 5 years old now. However, if you still wish to mine for Bitcoins, here’s a quick look at some of the best USB Bitcoin Miners:
The ASICMiner Block Erupter USB Sapphire Miner, popularly known as just the ‘Sapphire Miner’ has been around for a really long time. It was one of the first USB Miners to be created. It offers the users with a hash power of 330 MH/s. Using it according to modern day standards would give you a grand total of about $0.01 per month - basically you’d make your first dollar in about a 100 months (a little over 8 years) considering prices stay stable.
Not a very profitable device, but none of the USB miners are profitable, even in the long-long-long run. However a good tool if you want to understand how mining functions. It is priced in at $29.99
One of the cheapest and the most easily adaptable USB Bitcoin miner, you can stick it up any computer and it will mine for bitcoins. However, as is the case with USB Miners, this is painfully slow and will take you almost a year to make a full dollar. The Avalon Nano 3 gets you a revenue of about $1 per year.
The device features a mining power of about 3.6 GH/s - a significant improvement over the Block Erupter above. The Avalon Nano 3 comes out at a price of $19.99 - which will still take about two decades to break even.
A little better compared to what we saw above, the GekkoScience miner is certainly more powerful than the Sapphire Miner. The device comes out into the markets with a hashing power of 8 GH/s and allows the users to mine $0.15 per month. This will ensure that you make your first dollar in the first year itself, as opposed to the Block Erupter above which will take 8 years to do so.
The GekkoScience Compac USB Stick Bitcoin Miner is priced in at $49.99 - you’d break even in about 50 years if you buy this.
Coming out into the markets with a hashing power of 2GH/s, the Antminer U2 is one of the most trusted names when it comes to the obsolete world of the USB Bitcoin Miners. The device can still be seen around, though not for mining purposes but for testing setups. It is priced in at $49.99 which is quite expensive for a USB Miner.
A couple of years ago the device became obsolete and the returns were as low as a dollar a month. By now it has gone down to about a dollar per year which means it would take half a century to just break even!
Note: None of these USB Miners are going to be profitable even in the long-long run. As Bitcoin prices rise, more and more people are flocking in to make use of the technology, every four years the block rewards are falling and the mining difficulty is on the rise.
After you have decided on which USB Miner you are going to use to mine bitcoins, you would then need a Bitcoin Mining Software. There are a number of softwares which are available - some of them are OS Specific and there are others which are pool specific or even device specific. Depending on which kind of miner you are using or which pool you are registered with, you might need a different miner.
Bitcoin mining software also differ based on the Operating System they operate on. For a complete, detailed list of Bitcoin Mining software and how they function, please refer to the chapter dealing with Bitcoin Mining Software.
Wallets are places where you can store your Bitcoins - wallets provide you with a key which you can share with the people who are going to pay you Bitcoins. Wallets can be physical or virtual, they can be online or offline. They are a complex lot and need to be chosen wisely. Here’s our complete chapter detailing how to choose the ideal Bitcoin Wallet.
Bitcoin Mining Pools are the fourth and final component that you’ll need. Basically pools involve a large number of people joining hands to mine for Bitcoins faster and share the rewards that they earn. For a detailed read on pools, check out our chapter on Bitcoin Mining Pools.