Have you heard you can use your computer to make money… mining cryptocurrencies? If you’re reading this article, then probably. But amid 2017’s digital token gold rush, popular YouTube stars are taking the topic mainstream.
Anyone who’s been involved with bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies has probably been asked about how to make money mining. For newcomers, it’s often the most compelling aspect of the industry.
Bitcoin mining has been off-limits to most average users for years thanks to ASICs. But it’s still entirely possible to mine tokens like Ethereum’s ether with a consumer graphics card (or GPU).
Technology YouTuber Austin Evans has 2.2 million subscribers. His video “Cryptomining” already has over 340,000 views after two days.
Evans describes how to mine ether on a sub-$700 gaming PC he built, with a Radeon RX 580 graphics card.
He also notes that, thanks to the cryptomining resurgence, even the GPU itself could cost $650 if you can’t get your hands on one. Bitcoin and litecoin miners caused a graphics card shortage in 2013, and it’s happening again now thanks to Ethereum.
NCIX Tech Tips has 1.1 million subscribers and has racked up nearly 67K views for their mining video. This video describes a more advanced mining rig with multiple GPU cards:
You can tell the videos are aimed at an uninitiated audience — they each spend the first few minutes explaining what cryptocurrencies (especially Ethereum) are and how they work.
If Mining Goes Mainstream, Is It a Bad Sign?
Investor and political advisor Bernard Baruch famously said in 1929: “When beggars and shoeshine boys, barbers and beauticians can tell you how to get rich it is time to remind yourself that there is no more dangerous illusion than the belief that one can get something for nothing.”
Note, we’re not calling these YouTube presenters shoeshine boys. Some describe their years of prior experience mining bitcoin and litecoin — so chances are they’re not beggars either.
The YouTubers also aren’t shilling or selling snake oil — both guides mentioned above mention the caveats such as price fluctuations, power costs and the likelihood of your rig being obsolete before it pays for itself.
However their target audience — and those people at parties who know nothing about cryptocurrency but ask you how to get into mining — may be the people Baruch was talking about.
Gamers Wish the Tutorials Would Stop
Judging by the comments below each video, not everyone is happy about newcomers getting into GPU mining. In fact, a good deal of the comments sounded like this:
8BTC.com News also reported on the animosity VR gamers have for cryptocurrency miners in China. GPU card prices have doubled at some retailers, and most are out of stock anyway. Wholesalers have been accused of hoarding GPUs for their own mining pleasure.
Some even posted their wishes for a crypto price crash to stop the craze. To the cards and their manufacturers, though, it’s all just numbers to be crunched.
As William Gibson wrote in Burning Chrome, “the street finds its own uses for things”. And the street, it seems, is interested in cryptocurrency mining right now.
Is the new interest in crypto mining a good sign or not? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via YouTube