Anyone buying hardware to mine Ethereum is going to lose
Put Your Hard Hat On
This drove people to buy Radeon R9 290/390 series cards, on top of people stripping shelves bare of the Polaris-based Radeon RX 470, RX 480, RX 570, and RX 580. Both variants were depleted with 4GB and 8GB models selling out, and then NVIDIA felt the effects with GTX 1060s becoming super popular overnight, selling out just as quickly as retailers began cashing in on the Ethereum mining boom.
It wasn’t long until the higher-end GTX 1070s began leaping in price, before also flying off shelves. This trickle effect was hitting other markets that weren’t being talked about, including high-end PSUs. I had a near impossible time of finding high-end PSUs, with 1000W+ units selling out all over the place. There were a few high-end 850W units left, but the numbers were thinning.On eBay, there were plenty of mining-oriented products that began enjoying the Ethereum rush, including PCIe x1 to x16 risers, steel frames for multi-GPU rigs, and more.
Please Don’t Buy Hardware For Mining Now
Now that there are virtually no Radeon cards on the market, and most of NVIDIA’s mid-range GeForce cards are extinct, the difficulty of mining Ethereum has skyrocketed. Six weeks ago you could make a very nice money mining Ethereum, but the difficulty of mining it continues to swell – and it is even faster now that there are thousands of new miners joining pools across the world.
The current price on graphics cards is f***ing ridiculous, with retailers and etailers cashing in on the feverish demand on AMD and NVIDIA hardware. It’s not right, and I hate it beyond words. A large reason for this is that I worked in IT retail for ten years before I changed careers and started writing for TweakTown.
I used to sell the very hardware that I now review for a living and work with every day, and I rode waves of random popular spikes in sales. The whole ‘can it run Crysis’ happened while I worked in IT sales, and we couldn’t get enough graphics cards in before they were flying off the shelves.
This global GPU shortage is unprecedented.
It hasn’t happened at this scale before, and we’re standing right under a gigantic bubble. It might seem fine now, but NVIDIA and AMD can’t get enough cards onto the market, and even if they could, this pent up demand for Radeon RX 400/500 series and GeForce GTX 10 series cards will die. It will go down. This is a guarantee. Ethereum mining has teased people with the ability to make a lot of money very quickly from their homes, using consumer level hardware.
When mining Bitcoin was a ‘thing’ before it changed over to requiring ASIC specific hardware, we went through a similar wave, but it was nowhere near as all-consuming as the Ethereum wave. This new Ethereum wave feels like Pokemon GO, where it was everywhere for weeks – ramping up to around two months.
The Ride Is Nearly Over
The DAG continues to expand with Ethereum mining, and with the drive towards the sky in difficulty, the revenue per day continues to drop. Even for my mining operation here with 60 graphics cards spread across 15 systems, I’ve seen a 30% drop in the last couple of weeks, but it has nearly halved in the last month. Boo.
To Hold, Or Not To Hold
Put Your Seatbelt On
Any minor crash of Ethereum could spiral out of control at least temporarily, and when the DAG increases to the point of squeezing out anyone with less than 20-30 graphics cards, it will be fruitless to mine Ethereum on even a 6-way GPU system. I’ve got friends who are either building, have just bought, or are upgrading their PCs for mining. I wouldn’t recommend getting into Ethereum mining right now, as the ROI isn’t there – and it won’t be coming back.
Everything is changing so quickly, with today being a day of red across the entire digital currency field. Give it another two weeks, and you’re going to see Ethereum mining dead for anyone with less than ten cards, and another 4-6 weeks before the rest are squeezed out.
There might not be many Radeon and GeForce graphics cards right now, but the flood of GPUs that will hit the second-hand market in the next couple of weeks is going to be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. This is going to be a great thing for consumers, and either a regrettable thing for the ex-miners, or a break even point as they leave the digital currency mining game.
AMD and NVIDIA will no longer have gamers mad at miners because there’s a lack of stock, because stock will get replenished over the coming weeks and most likely won’t get to the point of where it has been for the last few weeks.
The mining-specific cards will be useless in the second-hand market with 90-day warranties and no display connectors; they will only be a good buy for fellow miners who want cheap mining-specific cards. But if these GTX 1060/RX 580 cards are selling for $249 and are let’s say two months old at the time of sale, they’d have to be something under $100 before most people would prepare to buy them.
The Canary Isn’t Dead, Yet
I don’t see cryptocurrency mining going anywhere, but it is going to be squeezed out of the hands of mainstream use, and into the realm of more serious miners. Mining won’t die, but it will transform. For anyone who is just getting into mining, you might not have looked at some of the available charts that show the DAG for Ethereum is ramping up quickly. Let’s take a look at the Ethereum difficulty chart, which is available on CoinWarz.This is over the last 30 days, and you can see here that we’re looking at nearly double the difficulty of mining Ethereum, the main driver behind the amount of Ether you mine each month dropping significantly.Here we have the last week, where you can see that each wave is getting bigger and bigger, and lasting long before it bounces back down.
If we then take a look at the price of Ethereum over the last month, you can see it reached those massive highs of $400 from a month ago, to the slump of under $300 just before June 16. It really went down in the end of June to nearly $200 before recovering to $300+ a few days later, and is now below $250 once again and coming down still.
With this in mind, please take care in the mine… it’s an exciting, but very volatile place.