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Current Bitcoin Carbon Emissions. The numbers. Can we discuss please?

I received a PM from a redditor about a old comment. His PM reads -
So back 10 months ago I posted this comment and you responded with the most reasoned response about the entire Bitcoin network emitting less carbon than a single 747. It made me feel much better about Bitcoin. It also confused me this past few weeks with people posting stories stating that Bitcoin will soon use nearly 0.1% of the world's energy and already consumes more power than every single solar panel in the entire world produces. Those two don't really square, so I looked back and the article you reference was from 2014. I'm curious if you've reevaluated your stance on bitcoin or perhaps have some insight that the current hysteria is just overblown?
Since I've spent the time doing some napkin math (I could be horribly wrong on this, someone please correct me!), I thought I should make this post public for everone to evaulate my maths and my reasoning.
First, I would just redirect to AA's great clip on the subject -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fExR-IKozOY
As for re-evaluating my position, yes, constantly. Im going to do this really quickly, so unsure of accuracy, but should give a rough ball park.
http://www.yousustain.com/footprint/howmuchco2?co2=761+tons
Says its about 761 tons for a 747 to fly 24 hrs.
https://www.thebalance.com/how-much-power-does-the-bitcoin-network-use-391280
Claims 1 watt per 1 second gigahash. Comes out to 343 mW per second. Thats 1234800 mW per hour, which equals 29635200 mWh for 24 hrs. The formula used to calculate megawatt-hours is Megawatt hours (MWh) = Megawatts (MW) x Hours (h). In this case, I've used 24 hours since we are comparing to 24 hours of a 747 flying, so 24 MWh. So currently btc mining has a rate of 1,234,800 per MWh.
Putting 29635200000 (previous mWh * 1000 for kWh) into this government calculator will give you caron comparisons. That calculator claims an equivilent of 2,481,717,074 gallons of gas consumed. Yes, thats nearly 2.5 billion.
To make this comparison more comprehensible....
https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=23&t=10
In 2017, about 143.85 billion gallons (or about 3.40 billion barrels1) of finished motor gasoline were consumed2 in the United States, a daily average of about 391.40 million gallons (or about 9.32 million barrels per day).
This would be equivilent of 6.33 days of gasoline usage in the USA for a single day of mining.
So go go back to our airplane analogy, the carbon calculator says that many mW = 22,055,020 metric tons of carbon emitted.
I do recall looking into the airplane thing back when we were discussing it, and I remember looking at the numbers. Frankly, its impossible to believe those were accurate and im sorry. I should have double checked everything.
According to - https://charts.bitcoin.com/chart/hash-rate
We had around "5EHash" in august of 2017, when that comment was made. We are now at 31EHash, over a 6x fold since that comment was made.
Now that we have the numbers out of the way, some things to consider...
These estimates are based upon the USA's carbon calculators which measures average carbon output based on the varying technologies in the US. According to the wiki the US only is around 12% (in 2016) for renewable energy.
So in general, our energy is pretty damn dirty and we put out a lot more carbon than we sequester.
In that AA video, he talks about the geolocation arbitrage used by miners. This makes a lot of sense. If you are going to invest 50-500 million into a mining operation, are you going to do it in a area where it costs 12 cents per hour (US average), or where it costs 3-4 cents per kwH? See -
https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdudley/2018/01/13/renewable-energy-cost-effective-fossil-fuels-2020/#1c69d08e4ff2
Obviously you are going to massively reduce your operational cost as that is what will lead your investment to become profitable.
Fortunately for us, and the world, many of these arbitrage opportunities are in hydroelectric and geothermal energy areas. These plants are designed to be future proofed, so enterprising mining congolmerates will move to areas where they can secure very cheap energy prices. When these companies are currently using 5-15 GwH for their cities, with 50 GwH capacity, they will happily sell their extra capacity to the mining operation since that is a very favorable economic incentive to all parties.
Another factor to consider is that for every single new ASIC design, they are becoming more energy efficient. So even though the hashrate is jumping, I would say the overall energy used by the network will plateau, if it has not already done so. With GMO and other giants like Samsung entering the mining design fray, this will only speed up energy efficiency.
None of this is intended to be a sidestepping of the facts - Clearly the bitcoin network uses a lot of energy. And when you have less regulated countries (china, India), it presents opportunities for locals to setup mining operations inside their locality, which then uses dirty energy, increasing carbon outputs.
The amount of carbon emissions per day (22,055,020 metric tons) that is above is obviously not very accurate when you account for these arbitrage opportunties. We know for a fact many of the largest mining colo's are situated near hydroelectric and Geothermal energy plants, which means that they are practically zero carbon emissions. Since we do not know the location of every miner, due to the decentralized unregulated nature of bitcoin, it is impossible to calculate how much of a reduction of tons of carbon we will get for that calculation.
But even if we are generous, and say 50% of all mining is done on renewables, that still leaves 11 million tons of carbon per day, a pretty staggering amount.
There is also much to hope for with scientists claiming we can be 100% renewable energy across the entire planet. Such as scientists setting to prove through empiracle data that it is feasible to convert the entire planet to 100% renewables. Though it is probably not realistic that this will happen quickly, or even at all. To give perspective, CFC's have been banned for decades and thought not in use for over a decade, yet recent data has shown levels are increasing. There will always be industry willing to destroy the world in the future for short term profit now.
We should also weigh the costs and benefits of this massive network. If bitcoin becomes adopted across the world as a currency, which if you look at places like Japan, it clearly is, then this will enable literal billions of people who are currently unbanked to join into the global financial ecosystem.
The personal financial soverignty that bitcoin brings is of incalcuable value. Whether the carbon emissions are worth these trade offs is a philosophical question that probably does not have an right or wrong answer.
Then we must also evaluate the carbon impact that the bitcoin network would have if cryptocurrencies were to replace traditional financial networks. There are some good analysis on the carbon footprint of banks, and bitcoin mining, coindesk has done several articles, see -
https://www.coindesk.com/microscope-conclusions-costs-bitcoin/
&
https://www.coindesk.com/microscope-true-costs-banking/
If we are properly to examine the impact that cryptocurrency carbon emissions have on society, then we should also examine the reduction of carbon that cryptocurrency networks will have upon the banking sector.
This site Claims AC & Heating results in 47.7 % of the entire USA's electricity usage. This example is just to present a understanding of how much energy these systems use.
How many Banks are there around the world that have their AC on 24/7? I can imagine just that number alone would lead to a staggering level of CO2 emissions. The coindesk article claims 591k bank branches around the world. The above aritcle claims 3.5k watts for a single central air unit. I had a family member that used to run a A/C business and I've been on top of many businesses. A bank will likely have several of those units to keep the place cool, I would estimate between 2-10 depending upon size.
In more good news, Bank branches are declining, and cryptocurrencies will only accelerate this. Lets hope that bitcoin is the amazon of retail brick and mortor closures.
In conclusion, there is a valid and rational concern as to the amount of power that the bitcoin network brings. And instead of being dismissive, we should recognize the incredible rate at which the bitcoin network is growing on an annual basis. From 4.3EHash to 31EHash over the last year, that is about a 8x fold increase.
Since we can assume that the majority of hashpower is coming online in the last year is likely newer models, these units should be at the current efficiencies. The estimates above should be roughly accurate based on this information.
This information will only be used by politicians and media congolmerates to spin a very bad negative impression of the bitcoin network. And you know what? Maybe they are right. Maybe bitcoin is growing into a massive CO2 producing beast that outweighs the benefits that it brings to society.
But how can we reach a consensus on this issue unless we, the hardcore bitcoiners and techophiles, bring the numbers into sunlight and discuss?
submitted by Cryptolution to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Chill everyone, let's talk bitcoin internals, fundamentals and what it means for price.

So I've been watching bitcoin for a couple weeks, and i got a bit of my own dough into it.
Of recent everybody seems obsessed with the vast accumulation of wealth in the hands of few, and the hordes of panicky upstarts trying to get in, who might get screwed by falling prices (for instance see this lovely post
Hyperbole
Now I'm not saying that the doomsday scenario the prophets are peddling is impossible. But it's about as possible as the wonderland prophets who're hoping for a 100'0000% return.
Trojans
On a related note, yeah some trojan started targeting wallet.dat, surprise surprise. Incidentally, that the same machine you're making VISA payments from and operate your e-banking? You worried about that too? Not? Well I don't see VISA shares falling every time somebody infects himself with a keylogger.
Pricing
So I thought a fair bit about where prices are going to go, and why, and I asked a lot of people and talked this over, and after this, a few things remain that give some direction.
A price of a security (like bitcoins, or gold, stocks, fiat money etc.) is ultimately determined by supply and demand. If you understand supply and demand, you understand prices.
So an important consideration is who's bidding for bitcoins, and who's asking for a price to sell them, and what prices to these parties consider reasonable.
Buyers (bid)
This is a diverse group of people, it may include people who use the small but fledgling bitcoin economy to buy coins to pay other people in them. But by far and large, it's probably a speculation driven market, people buy bitcoins in the hopes the value will rise.
The psychology speculative buying ends up being about a zero-sum game. Somebody buys, somebody sells, the overall activity neither adds or removes coins from the market, and hence when viewed over long periods (months/years) this activity is just white-noise.
This defines the demand, and demand rises and falls with bitcoin popularity and confidence. Some week confidence may be low, some it may be high.
Sellers (ask)
This roughly falls into two camps. The speculative sellers and the miners.
Speculative selling (that is sells of coins bought earlier) is the other half of the zero-sum game, it neither adds or removes coins overall, and is hence just white noise.
Freshly minted coins (by miners) which enter the market are the real driver of supply.
The limited and small constant supply myth
Every 10 minutes 50 new bitcoins are found. That is a fact, and if it strays from that, the difficulty adjusts to keep it there. If you look at it purely from the point of view of scarcity, this would seem a small (but nearly ignorable) inflationary influence.
This however would be an over-simplification. There are substantial amounts of mined coins held by people who've been mining them for the better part of a year. They've been hoarding these coins, and commonly I'd refer to this group as bitcoinionaires. Their actually supply capacity vastly exceeds the day to day supply of fresh coins.
Since these stockpiles are the real driver of the supply, it's important to understand when the miners/bitcoinonaires will sell and when they will not.
Mining economics
The mined bitcoins where obtained by the activity you call mining. This is neither an easy nor free way to get coins. It takes energy, room, time to setup, etc. There are constant costs attached to this (paying rent and electricity) as well as recoverable costs (buying hardware to do it) and unquantifiable costs (work rendered to make it all happen).
You can think of mining as a business that has expenses and profits. In order for that business to work, the constant expenses must be covered, the recoverable expenses must be recoverable, and the work invested must be repaid.
This all leads to a fairly straightforward calculation which goes something like this: You pay around 1000$ for one 1gh/s (one gigahash per second) in hardware. Running that hardware you pay about 2-3$/day/gh in energy. If you factor in rent of some or another form, you probably pay between 1-5$/day/gh in rent. If you also factor in resale value decay of the hardware you bought, you immediately lose about 20% upon buying the hardware, and around 30%/year.
As a business you probably plan to run your miner for more then half a year, so about 50% of the hardware cost has to be recovered in a reasonable time-frame, say 3 months. Which means there's a hardware recovery calculation that you should do that factors in at about 2$/day/gh
If you sum that all up, you get a running cost of mining that is around 5-10$/day/gh.
One gigahash will get you about 1.2btc/day at current difficulty, which is at current prices somewhere around 17-20$.
It is fairly obvious that your expenses need to be lower then your profits. If they are not, what happens?
Difficulty
You may have heard about difficulty, in essence it is a constant value (for 2 weeks) that aims to keep the rate of fresh coins at about 50coins/10minutes. Obviously, the more difficult it gets, the less coins 1 gh/s will mint, and the more difficult the economy of a mining business becomes.
miner psychology
Since you can't simply acquire and sell hardware capacity on a dime (it takes weeks and months to do it), and since you will need months to recover your boot costs, miner selling is out of necessity a long-term affair.
So what can a miner do when the price of btcs falls below their operational cost?
bitcoinionaire psychology
If prices go down and you sit on a big pile of coins, you lose wealth. Nobody likes loosing wealth, I don't like it, you don't like it, the bitcoinionaires don't like it.
In order to become a bitcoinionaire you need to be a hoarder. If you wouldn't hoard, you wouldn't have tens of thousands of bitcoins. A hoarder essentially never likes letting go of his stash. You get rid of as little of your stash as possible to keep your risk and costs in a reasonable balance. Which means, these fat-cats depicted in the picture above, they didn't sell you all they had, not even a fraction. They sold you just about as much as they where personally willing to sacrifice. This means that they're still having the majority of their wealth in the game, and they absolutely do not want to see that devalued to zero.
I've talked to a bunch of these very decent folks, and their sentiment is that they're in for the long haul. True they'll sell "big" positions occasionally, but they keep the majority of their assets stashed away.
If you're expecting the miners/bitcoinionaires to suddenly explode with supply at lowering prices, you're most likely mistaken.
the difficulty/price correlation
For the reasons outlined above, there's a very simple correlation. If prices go down and difficulty goes up, by far and large supply dries out.
However lower prices drive demand (in bitcoin volume) up, because as the price goes down, the buying power (in $/btc) of the would-be buyers increases.
And if the market self-balancing fails, then the difficulty adjust will step in once enough miners have given up.
In sum these dynamics lead to deflation. Since difficulty and hardware turnover moves at a much slower pace then prices, prices are far more likely to adjust to difficulty then the other way around in the long term.
What does all of this mean?
Keep a cool head, and don't let the market fool you. Trust your fundamentals, technicals and sentiment analysis, and tightly control your risk only to what you personally can afford to lose.
If you buy in a mania or sell in a panic (we've see both the past 2 weeks), you're probably going to lose (or diminish your profits).
Study bitcoin and what drives it carefully and come to your own conclusion. Adjust your strategy carefully and maybe, one day a couple years from now, you can be a bitcoinionaire. If not, life is full of other opportunities, so just pick yourself up and try the next.
So chill everyone, and have a good time :)
submitted by pyalot to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Cex.io, maintenance, mining, end of life. . . . a.k.a. "The End is near"

So, I was noodling about and playing with some math today, then focused in on cex.io.
Some background . . .I've been watching difficulty with a passion and turning about the idea in my mind of "What happens with the cex.io model when difficulty surpasses maintenance?" and "When will this happen?"
I decided to math it out.
Current maintenance is $0.18.
the current return in a month (without difficulty change) is $0.25. That leaves $0.07 or 28% of $0.25.
Sometime soon you start losing money, which, with the current monthly growth rate of 1% a day vs. maintenance, happens sometime this month.
This means it will start costing money to run the hash and 1 gh/s, in a sane world, is worth nothing, because who would buy something with negative returns and no future value.
This leads me to more questions:
Anyhoo, just some thoughts. If anybody has insights or other ideas/perspectives, it would be awesome to hear them.
Edit: Found the cex terms of service clause relating to this:
11.5. Mining with using User's Gigahashes can be stopped by CEX.IO if the amount of the Maintenance Cost exceeds rewards for each mined block or if the mining is economically inexpedient. The decision to renew Bitcoins mining is made by CEX.IO, taking into account calculations of mining effectiveness.
submitted by goth_toon to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

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