We’ve all seen the news coverage of the supposed clash between gamers and crypto miners due to rising graphics card (GPU) prices.
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But, for people who already have a GPU – maybe they’re gamers, artists or graphic designers – the opportunity to make money back while they’re not using their computers is there.
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By making it easy for people with powerful GPUs to mine crypto in their downtime on their personal computers, hashing and gaming can work well together.
Are Gamers Really Against Crypto Mining Due To GPU Scarcity?
News reports focus on the idea that crypto miners in the millions are hoovering up powerful GPUs and controlling supply due to the increase in the value of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin, leaving the market short for gamers.
It’s certainly true, as The Verge reports that a range of powerful graphics cards, including the likes of Nvidia and AMD, are in short supply. This is because serious cryptocurrency miners buy in bulk to build rigs for the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum. According to Polygon, some Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 cards often sell at a price increase of around 80%.
Some gamers say that it’s increasingly difficult to build the kind of PC they want from scratch because they can’t access mid-range video cards, such as the GTX 1060. And as the middle range becomes scarcer, this inevitably increases the price of more powerful GPUs. Naturally, many gamers are in defence intelligence mode, trying to control the shortage in the market.
The truth is the shortage of GPUs is no different to the shortage of automobile chips and computer parts, it’s simply because manufacturers anticipated a recession and economic crash after Covid 19, which never happened and in fact had the opposite effect, increasing demand for computer parts all over the world. So manufacturers are left playing catch up for the next couple of years. It's been a hard market to predict and control the market.
Cryptocurrency miners who do this for a living need ever more powerful GPU/CPU hardware to solve the equations necessary to mine a coin. An example of the complex and expensive rigs that some users are utilizing can be seen here.
This is a mining rig that uses a total of 78 Ge Force RTX 3080 graphics cards. It started operations in January 2021 and makes more than $20,000 every month for the miner. And, when media outlets began covering this mega-mining rig, it started creating a lot of criticism.
Gamers, in particular, say this is precisely why they can’t get hold of the GeForce RTX 30 series GPU, while the owner of this rig managed to source 78. The users of the mega-rig remain unphased and calls it Berta 2.
Each graphics card within this rig can process up to $9.15 worth of Ethereum every day. And every GPU in the set up would have cost the user $100,000, which means he will just about be making a return on investment at the time of writing. While the GPUs were priced at $699 on launch, the shortage bumped the price up to $1,199 each when Berta 2 was built.
Gamers Can Use Their GPUs To Mine For Coins During Their Downtime
As the value of crypto has increased (although the news reported a crash last week), so has the money-making potential from mining. Before the most recent surges in the value of Bitcoin and Etherium, graphics cards were already in relatively short supply in the millions.
Of course, demand since the rise in crypto value has grown even further, and with scalpers ready to join and scoop up new releases and sell on at an inflated cost, it can certainly be a problem.
According to Tom’s Hardware, the shortage of powerful graphics cards is echoing the shortage in 2017. These are both in direct response to the surge in the value of cryptocurrencies and the potential to make more from mining cryptocurrency. In other words, it’s a pattern that is repeating itself. Gamers, artists, graphic designers, and people with powerful GPU/CPU hardware, the option to make money from its power is there. In this way, it’s possible to make money back from investing in the graphics card and high-spec set-up in the first place. And this is possible when the computer is not in use – in many ways the ideal solution.
Make Back The Cost Of The GPU Within Months Through Crypto Mining
If we work on the basis that GPUs usually cost about $2000, it’s possible to begin creating $200 back every month simply by having the ability to leave the computer running when it’s not in use for work or gaming. It’s possible then to pay for the equipment in just 10 to 12 months.
This is why at NiceHash, we’ve found huge support for crypto mining from gamers. When they realise how simple it is to use their already existing GPU power to make money back when they’re not using their set-up for gaming, they decide to join and mining becomes much more accessible and viable.
For those who want to take crypto mining more seriously, it’s necessary to buy at least three and usually around 30 GPUs to set up the rig. With 12 GPUs costing around $20,000 to set up, it’s possible to make about $1800 per month through crypto mining. After 12 months, the initial investment is paid back, and the graphics cards paid off. A good way to control your investment into the cryptocurrency sphere with a sense of security.
From then on, the $1800 per month for crypto mining is pure profit. Holding on to the mined coins for a couple of years will bring in more profit, as their value will more than likely rise over that time. Being patient and not selling can seriously pay off, and we do see this happening often.
Crypto Mining Is A Valid Side Hustle For Gamers Or As A Main Income
Many of the users at NiceHash can live off the money they make through crypto mining. This is particularly the case for those living in developing countries and less well-off regions around the world. Many join the mining trend out of financial security rather than a real interest in cryptocurrency.
With just 5 or 6 GPUs, they can make around $700 per month, and depending on where they live; this could be enough to keep their family going. In other regions, it’s possible to get by with even less income. For example, in places like Thailand and Venezuela, crypto miners can make $150 per month and provide security for their families (without needing employment from a company).
So, while there is undoubtedly a debate among gamers who insist that crypto miners are buying up all of the GPU supply, the reality is many gamers are using their video cards for both purposes. It doesn’t have to be either/or for gamers and miners.
This leads to an interesting and potentially valuable investment opportunity. Think of it as a modern day parallel to the gold miners in the Wild West who became wealthy, and at the same time, so did the people providing the pickaxes and tools.
If you are going to buy mining software or hardware, I would strongly urge you to do your due diligence before purchasing it. Cyrptojacking i.e hackers using malware and botnets to steal coins or your identity remains a huge issue in the industry (being a hacker isn't cool!)
For people not interested in cryptocurrencies or gaming, there’s always opportunities provided by investing in companies like Nvidia or AMD (legitimate providers of mining hardware, protected from malware attacks). We can assume that they will continue to thrive, and their investors will continue to see good returns and investment security. At least for the foreseeable future.
My message for people interested in crypto mining is that the investment into the expensive GPU upfront will quickly pay for itself. After all, 12 months isn’t long to wait in investment terms for decent returns. Remember that with a GPU, you can always switch the algorithm to mine another coin. So, if one goes down, another will be going up in value. Also, don't always get carried away with the sensationless news - consult with experts in cryptocurrency sphere before getting involved with large investments, and again ensure you are using the correct software (being careful of any attacks from malware and botnets).
About Matjaž Škorjanc and NiceHash
Matjaž Škorjanc is co-founder and Mining Manager of Slovenian company NiceHash, the world’s leading cryptocurrency mining services provider and cryptocurrency coin marketplace. Škorjanc founded NiceHash in 2014 after spotting a gap in the crypto mining market for a user-friendly free exchange for NiceHash users to bid against each other openly.
Based in Slovenia, both Škorjanc and NiceHash are vocal advocates for decentralization and the potential of crypto (not only in Slovenia but for users worldwide). NiceHash believes in a blockchain and decentralization, where everyone has equal access to a new financial standard. Matjaz Skorjanc is a Slovenian expert in block chain tech, operating systems, mining software, defence intelligence and networks.