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Mining ravencoin and farming chia on the same machine

Author: LB 2021-08-29 444

I created my first chia plot three months ago and I was dreaming about getting immensely rich by owning a few TiBs of farming space. At least that was what the chia roi calculator was telling me back in May. Things have changed significantly since then and I had to recalibrate my mining rig. Amidst the chia network hype, I purchased a few gaming motherboards with two PCI Express x 1 slots and the chia netspace has grown so much that it was time to fill me PCI Express slots with mining GPUs, because if we only consider the roi, buying video cards to mine cryptocurrencies is almost as reasonable as buying hard drives. Let’s some of my interesting observations!

The idea of chia network, with proof-of-spacetime is novel and brought innovation into the crypto space. Although antagonists do exist and they actively express their opinion on social media, I’m a true supporter of the project and I fully approve of the previous statement regarding the novelty of the project.

So the general idea is to let miners purchase hard drives, create plot files on the disks and let them prove that they allocate a certain amount of space for a certain amount of time to the chia network. Mining rewards are proportional to the size of the allocated space and time. In other words the larger the space you allocate, the more rewards you get. The same applies to time. The proof-of-spacetime algorithm is very similar to PoW (proof-of-work) in a sense that it satisfies expectational fairness, that is to say; your mining rewards are exactly proportional to the allocated space. As such chia network is an egalitarian system, meaning that miners are treated on an equal footing and no distinction is made between two miners owning the same amount of space.

Everything looks pretty in theory, however the actual mining process is somewhat difficult. In order to prove that you own a certain amount of space, you have to create plot files on your hard drives and the hard drives have to be connected to the network all the time. The smallest plot file has a size of approximately 100 GB and clearly, creating many of these huge files is no easy task. At least it’s not easy if you only have a low end computer and you don’t know how to run tasks in parallel. According to the tutorial on the project’s home page, SSD and parallel processing can speed up the process. So this means that you need to buy additional fast SSD drives and if you want to use the madmax plotter for rapid plotting, you might also want to buy at least 128GB of DDR4 memory. Purchasing these additional components increases the initial investment and I feel that this type of entry barrier discourages less courageous miners.

Although it’s true that HDDs don’t consume as much electricity as GPUs there are many other factors you need to consider before choosing between chia farming and traditional cryptomining using video cards.

In my case, this choice was pretty straightforward as I owned no PC prior to the chia mainnet launch. To be honest, I had no experience in mining and building mining rigs until I learned about chia network, so I just randomly bought a few motherboards.

Until the pooling protocol release, I was farming chia solo and I got 6 XCHs from the network, which was a satisfying experience considering that I have never ever done cryptocurrency mining in the past. So I was pretty happy with the result, but as the chia netspace started growing the “time-to-win” value on the chia GUI was also increasing at a worrying pace. A few weeks ago I decided to join one of the chia pools and I have already plotted 130 GB of farming space using plotnfts. With this amount of space I’m receiving daily payouts from the pool and this has given me motivation to do more plotting. Eventually my plan is to connect my entire farm to the pool, because farming solo can be a nightmare unless you have millions to invest into this project.

Unfortunately, farming profitability has been declining sharply and buying GPUs and mining other cryptocurrencies, like ravencoin or ethereum is almost as profitable as farming chia. I think this will cap the netspace growth, because more and more miners will buy high end GPU to mine these traditional cryptocurrencies instead of buying more HDDs and spend a lot of time creating the plot files.

So a few days ago I decided to buy a Geforce RTX 3070 Ti card and launch a ravencoin mining process on the card. The card is impossible to buy in Central Europe, because no retailer is able to catch up with the demand and they are out of stock all the time. In some cases, you might find a few dealers who are able to restock the cards, but they do limit the number of purchases and you’re allowed to buy one card with one identity in a month. Whether this is legal or not, I don’t know but this doesn’t seem right. Well, the whole video card industry is in an unprecedented state, so what can we say?

Anyway, eBay is always a good source if you want to buy mining equipment, so I searched for a while and I found a German seller with a brand new Geforce RTX 3070 Ti card. I purchased the card for 850 Euro and I got it delivered in a few days. The card was in perfect state, brand new, in its untouched box. Unfortunately the card has the latest LHR limitation, which means that if you launch an ethereum mining process on the card, it automatically lowers the mining hashrate. The curse can be nullified however by running different mining algorithms on the card. I managed to install the Linux version of NBMiner on the machine and I was able to mine ravencoin with 35MH/s, plot chia plots into 128 GB of RAM using the madmax plotter and farm chia into the XCHPool no problem.

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