The early days of Bitcoin mining are often described as a gold rush. Those with a strong interest in such things, namely cypherpunks, cryptographers, technically-minded libertarians and assorted hackers, were first to stake their claim. But is there still gold in them thar hills? Bitcoin mining has grown from a handful terahash bitcoin early enthusiasts into a cottage industry, into a specialized industrial-level venture.

The easy money was scooped out a long time ago and what remains is buried under the cryptographic equivalent of tons of hard rock. A new block is created on average every ten minutes. This is the cryptographic work which miners perform in order to find the solution which allows them to define a new block. PoW hashing ensures the proper function of the Bitcoin blockchain. There are no shortcuts in this process, which can only be solved with raw computational power. The number of newly-created bitcoins, awarded to whichever miner creates a block.

This number was initially set to 50, halved to 25 in late-2012, and halved again to 12. 210,000 blocks, until all 21 million bitcoins are created. Hashrate is the measure of a miner’s computational power. In early 2017, Bitcoin’s collective hashrate reached nearly 4 Exahash. D of such hardware, and electrical expenditure. With hashrate shooting up over the years, it would seem blocks would be found by miners ever more rapidly.

Bitcoin’s Difficulty measure is what prevents this from happening. It adjusts to hashrate to ensure that blocks are found roughly every 10 minutes. Note how closely Difficulty matches Hashrate in the 2 charts above. Watts per hashrate per second.

Electricity is the major on-going cost of Bitcoin mining. The price paid per Watt will greatly influence profitability. Bitcoin mining for your circumstances. This is due to the ever-changing nature of the Difficulty modifier and the BTC price, in particular.