Back in 2009, many people used to mine Bitcoin on their laptops and a CPU was enough to compete to win the block rewards. Since then, the price of Bitcoin has skyrocketed, and so has the block reward, leading to more and more Bitcoin miners joining in.
Unfortunately, the intense competition has caused the crypto mining difficulty to go up as well, which means that the computing power you need in order to mine Bitcoin and make a profit is pretty high. Still, mining Bitcoin on your laptop is still feasible – although not as lucrative as it once was – and in this article, we’ll show you how to do it.
How Does Mining Bitcoin Work?
Bitcoin mining is the process of creating Bitcoin on the blockchain while solving cryptographic hash functions. Miners are a vital part of the network confirming transactions on the blockchain in a reliable manner, through the proof of work consensus mechanism. The intense competition in the game comes from the fact that only the first one to solve the puzzle gets rewarded with the next block of Bitcoin.
When Bitcoin was first launched in 2009, for a brief window, it was mined on CPU-based computers. As Bitcoin prices increased, more players entered the market with high-end technology such as GPUs and ASICs, produced specifically for this task. So if you are not one of the well-equipped miners, Bitcoin mining on your computer wouldn’t be especially profitable. But there are some strategies you could follow.
As more and more Bitcoin is mined and the blockchain continues to grow, the mining difficulty increases accordingly. For a slower miner at the moment, it could take centuries to generate a block. For this, miners can combine their processing power to work cooperatively and distribute the prize according to their contribution to the block. This is called a mining pool.
Alternatively, you can benefit from multipool mining. As the price of cryptocurrency fluctuates, the most profitable coin to mine at any time changes. Depending on the coin prices, you might consider mining other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Monero (XMR), Litecoin (LTC), DogeCoin (DOGE), and so on, for a greater opportunity for profit. Multipool mining is a system that tracks the price swings and the production cost of cryptocurrencies and switches between coins to be mined automatically.
Mining Bitcoin on Your Laptop
Talking about mining, you have probably heard about the term hash rate before. It refers to the total number of guesses made in a second before the solution to the cryptographic hash function has been found. High computing power means higher hashing power. Whoever solves the function first gets the block reward. As you can guess, the higher your hashing power, the higher your chance of mining Bitcoin.
Therefore, if you want to mine Bitcoin and make a serious profit out of it, CPU mining is not a feasible business model anymore as it’s not capable of generating the required hash power, which means you need to invest in a mining rig.
Mining with a graphics card is a more appropriate endeavour since you will stand a better chance on the market. But GPU mining involves a lot of tweaking around and fine-tuning by eliminating the device’s default settings to protect it from overheating. On the other hand, if you want to sustain your profit out of cryptocurrency mining, you probably need to invest in an ASIC miner or build your own.
However, you can still mine cryptocurrency for the fun of it, as a hobby or just to get yourself introduced to the mining field, whatever your equipment is. As a matter of fact, theoretically, you can mine Bitcoin even on your Android device by joining mining pools.
Laptop mining requires a couple of things:
- A laptop with an operating system (Windows, Linux, or macOS);
- A high speed and stable internet connection;
- A Bitcoin wallet;
- A mining software;
- A cold place as mining might heat up your device.
The Most Popular Bitcoin Mining Software
Bitcoin mining software connects you to the blockchain, making you a part of the Bitcoin network. By tracking and securing Bitcoin transactions through the process of solving hash functions, you can collect rewards in BTC.
You don’t have to mine Bitcoin directly and solo. In fact, to stand a chance, you practically have to join a mining pool where you combine your computing power with others and split the block prize.
There are different types of software that serve different purposes. Are you going to mine Bitcoin or other altcoins? Are you planning to fly solo or would you like to participate in a mining pool? Here’s a list of some of the most praised software in the market today:
- CG Miner
NiceHash lets you join a mining pool and start mining the cryptocurrency of your choice instantly. It also is a marketplace for hash-power. If you don’t own mining hardware, you can rent it from people who do on NiceHash. It is a widely used service so it is easy to find tutorials and other information sources on the internet. With its user-friendly interface, it is one of the go-to solutions for beginner miners.
CGMiner is an open-source project that is compatible with ASIC, GPU, and FPGA processors. It is a very well-rounded software with high compatibility with different platforms and hardware. However, it doesn’t have a graphical user interface (GUI), but uses a command-line interface instead. It should be fairly easy and useful for those who are familiar with coding, however, it might be a little intimidating for beginners.
BFGMiner supports only ASIC and FPGA processors, offering a highly customizable, advanced mining experience. It can mine multiple cryptocurrencies simultaneously by hashing mining algorithms simultaneously. However, like CGMiner, you need to be familiar with the command line in order to use it because BFGMiner doesn’t have a GUI either.
MultiMiner is a better option for beginners. It doesn’t require any coding skills and has informative guidelines to assist you on your quest. It has a nice GUI and automated mining features. It works great on Windows operating systems, however, if you use Linux or macOS, you need additional software to run MultiMiner. Like HoneMiner, MultiMiner lets you automatically mine the most profitable coin at a time.
How long does it take to mine one Bitcoin?
Giants in the ecosystem who have ideal hardware and software are able to mine one Bitcoin per 10 minutes. If you own a more regular setup, it would take around 30 days to mine one Bitcoin. However, the amount of time required to mine an altcoin varies.
How much does it cost to mine Bitcoin?
Although there is open-source, free Bitcoin mining software out there, if you are going to invest in competitive hardware in order to increase your chances for profit, it might take up to $10,000. What’s more, you should take electricity consumption into account. Specialized equipment for mining consumes a lot of electricity.
Is Bitcoin mining on a laptop profitable?
It is most generally not profitable unless you have free electricity. As of 2021, you can make a couple of dollars a month. But sometimes the market demand increases so high that this amount increases drastically, like what happened in 2017. However, a more profitable market attracts more competition, so the window of opportunity doesn’t stay open for long. If and when you catch a wave like that, you will make some profit. However, if you are planning to make a sustainable business out of mining Bitcoin, you need to invest heavily in the equipment.
A Few Words Before You Go…
Mining Bitcoin on your laptop is possible. However, to be able to profit out of Bitcoin mining, a laptop setup would not be sufficient. To mine Bitcoin sustainably, you inevitably need to invest in a GPU or ASIC miner.
Mining altcoins might yield more profit for casual miners. However, keep in mind that the competition over processing power is increasing day by day, and to be able to sustain your profits in cryptocurrency mining, you might have to invest more in hardware over time.