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How much can I earn with cryptocurrency mining on my laptop?

Author: LB 2021-01-18 1157

Since Bitcoin appeared, the crypto world has been evolving very rapidly. Altcoins usually aim at solving imperfections found in the Bitcoin network. As Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency, its inventor(s) have not thought of every aspect of the potential problems. One of these important issues relates to mining. When you are mining Bitcoin, you can simply calculate hash values of the transaction data and there is no more complicated calculation needed to validate a block. When a miner is mining Ethereum though, he has to load large DAGs into the memory and do the validation process on these objects. The third and very ingenious solution is realized by Monero, which utilizes the RandomX algorithm and initializes a virtual machine to mine the cryptocurrency. This implies that every mortal human can become a Monero miner. Let's cast light on this issue!

Some crypto experts say that mining algorithms should be ASIC and GPU proof, because when an algorithm is easily implementable on GPUs or ASIC miners, it becomes vulnerable to 51% attacks. However, if a mining algorithm can only be executed using ordinary CPUs, then many amateur miners join the network and it gets much more distributed and eventually more 51% attack proof. On the other hand there is an other group of crypto experts who believe that once such an algorithm becomes GPU or ASIC mineable the network can immediately be exploited by 51% attacks so it's even more vulnerable than traditional mining algorithms. Bitcoin can be mined with ASIC miner rigs, Ethereum mining is usually performed on GPUs and Monero, launched in 2014, in theory can only be mined with traditional CPUs.

Mining Monero in 2021

In order to make a mining algorithm ASIC and GPU proof, it has to rely on idiosyncrasies possessed solely by CPUs. Instruction sets are good examples, because classical CPU instruction sets can hardly be reproduced on GPUs or ASCI miners. The Monero mining algorithm is based on this idea, and RandomX uses the transaction data to load a Virtual Machine's (VM) memory and a random program code. The VM is executed and the result is hashed again to generate a new input for the next run. The loop returns as long as the results don't satisfy a given criteria and this is basically the POW (proof-of-work) algorithm to mine Monero. The VM requires a pretty large memory page, and this serves as a tough barrier for ASIC miners to be optimized to mine Monero. On the other hand, the VM's instructions are peculiar to the CPU architecture and there is no straightforward solution to implement a similar algorithm for GPUs. While there are GPU based Monero miners, the large majority of Monero mining is performed using ordinary CPUs.

Consequently, if somebody has a PC (who doesn't have one these days?) and installs a CPU Monero miner, he can start mining coins. Don't expect crazy returns, because large tech companies have already entered the mining market and as Monero's market price fluctuates around $150 a large number of amateur miners have already joined the network, so the network's hash rate is quite high already. But still, you can earn some money by mining Monero in 2021. Well, let's see how to install a miner software to mine Monero and also let's calculate the mining profitability.

Mining Monero on a laptop

So first of all, you have to download a Monero mining software. You can click on the following link and download the latest miner's binary: XMRIG. If you're using Ubuntu, you have to download the file "xmrig-6.7.2-bionic-x64.tar.gz". You have to untar the archive and open the "config.json" file to set up your miner. You can set the number of threads you want to use for mining Monero, you can specify the mining pool's address and you will also have to set your Monero wallet's address.

I used my own laptop with a Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-8265U CPU @ 1.60GHz CPU with 8 cores. As you can see, I was able to squeeze a 1.7 kH/s performance from my office laptop:

Mining Monero using CPU

I started mining Monero at night and I checked the results in the morning. If you set up your miner properly, you can check the results on the following site: This is what I got:

Mining Monero on Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-8265U CPU @ 1.60GHz CPU with 8 cores

So my laptop mined 0.00018367 Monero while I was sleeping and in USD this would be $0.02847:

The mined Monero in USD

In other words, my laptop mined $0.02847 in a few hours, so if I were to run this miner for a month, I would earn around 3-4 USD. Clearly, this is not a huge business, but now you can see how mining Monero works. In order to calculate the clear profit, we'll have to take care of electricity as well.

If you have a look at the following figure, you will see that my laptop requires 23.7 W of power.

My laptop's power requirements

Let's suppose that 1kWh costs $0.1. In this case my laptop would consume 0.0237x24x31x0.1 or $1.76 of electricity. So this means that mining Monero can be positive, albeit with a very tiny balance. Nevertheless, mining Monero on a much larger cluster with several hundreds of CPUs can be very attractive.


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