How can I earn Bitcoins, what is mining Bitcoins?

You should start to see the count under “A” grow – these are shares which are positive contributions to the network. R’s are rejects, this count should stay low unless your rig has some problem. You may also see an “HW” if you are running additional hardware, these are hardware errors being counted.
Asteroid mining program at work

Mining with my laptop’s GPU was slow and painful, I was getting 17 MHz/s max and very few shares. The USB ASIC block erupter is much faster (330+ MHz/s), you can see why ASICS are the next evolution in mining. I was able to get the USB ASIC online and seen by Asteroid pretty quick, but it took me a day or two to tune my rig and make it stable for hours at a time. The key issues I found and addressed were:

1. Use a powered USB hub for your ASIC mining devices
2. Actively cool or enhance the passive cooling of the devices
3. Run Caffeine or a similar program to keep your computer from sleeping or hibernating

Asteroid complained and said it ran into a bug a few times when I first started mining with the USB ASIC device. I had read these things get really hot and mine wasn’t for some reason. I had been running it in an unpowered USB hub. However, once I plugged into my laptop directly, or used the powered USB hub, the Asteroid bugs went away and I started to get longer sustained hashing, and the advertised 330 MH/s rate.


But then you run into the second issue of heat – these devices only use 2.5 watts but they don’t cool as efficiently as they need to. Adding the cooling fins as shown in the photo fixed this and now I can mine overnight with good stability.
USB Block Erupter ASICMiner

So how much is that little ASIC miner card making you?

So you have your mining rig setup and stable now, when can I start counting my money? Well, it’s still going to be a while, take a look at my payout chart below. Even on good shifts where I contribute 200-300 shares and BTC find 20+ blocks, I’m still only making 0.00003867 Bitcoins every 50 minutes or so. With some quick math, if 1 Bitcoin is ~$125 by today’s market, that’s less than 10 cents for a 24 hour shift. And by the way, that was a good shift, if you consider sometimes BTC isn’t finding any blocks, the figure is closer to 4 cents a day.

More calculations

I purchased the block erupter for $20 on eBay, so it’s going to be 500 days until the device pays itself back. Keep in mind this doesn’t take into consideration the cost of electricity or the fact that ASIC might get outdated in less than 500 days. Either way, at this scale, there isn’t much opportunity. Just one more point in case you’re on the fence, I can’t even withdraw Bitcoins from my guild until I have at least 0.01 Bitcoins. After paying more withdrawal fees once that comes, I’m definitely not making anything from mining (with this technology and at this scale). I am still mining though, and switched my USB Block erupter farm over to a permanent Windows BFGminer rig. Click here for more details.

BTC guild screen capture

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