A while back I got in to Nyancoin and after an initial attempt to mine with a GPU bought a used Zeus Blizzard Scrypt miner. I ran it as a miner for a while and rapidly realised that while it was significantly better then the GPU and less likely to overheat my laptop it was never going to earn any sort of profit. After mining a few hundred coins I gave up and it just sat in a pile of electronic junk.
After getting interested in cryptocurrency again (getting hold of a bitcoin debit card and actually using it in the real world!) I thought it would be fun to get the old miner out and see what I could do with it. So here are 6 things to do with an old scrypt miner.
To be honest this is probably the sensible thing to do with an old low hash rate energy hungry scrypt miner. The individual gold rush in scrypt mining finished a long time ago and now we have much more advanced miners such as the A4 which can do 280MH/s compared to my lowly Zeusminer Blizzard at 1.3MH/s. You are never going to return a profit when investing in a a low powered miner these days and will always lose out financially.
2. Join a Professional Scrypt Mining Pool
Good examples of these are Prohashing and CleverMining, despite saying you are never going to recapture your expenses with a low powered miner you could still try. These pools through special algorithims compare a large number of alt-coins and mine the most profitable. At the time of writing I was able to earn about $0.04 a day on prohashing which means it would take 25 days to earn $1.
3. Lottery Mining
Mining cryptocurrency is all about finding a block, using a pool means that you all get involved and when one person finds the block you share it out (usually in proportion to what you have contributed). If however you set out on your own then your miner will keep looking for a block – if someone else finds a block then you get nothing and you start again however if you do find a block then you get to keep it all! Unfortunately the chances of finding a block on your own especially with a low powered miner are very low (and you may never find a block) – hence the term ‘lottery mining’. A good place to go for lottery mining is NiceHash or you can set it up directly at home if you run the mining software, and a local wallet. At the time of writing (14/12/16) finding a Litecoin block will get you 25LTC which is ~$90.
4. Support an alt-coin
There are a number of ways you can support a coin (and accept that you are going to be at a loss). Firstly scrypt based cryptocurrencies rely on miners as each block allows the processing of transactions. The more miners that are being run the better for the network supporting the coin. Lots of the smaller alt-coins don’t have big networks and can struggle to remain consistent. Running a miner either solo or with a pool adds your support – I have run my miner to help with Nyancoin by running it on xPool for a while.
If you want to increase the price of your chosen coin instead you could run your miner on Prohashing and mine the most profitable coins but setup your payout to be in your chosen coin. This will result in Prohashing buying up this coin to pay you back for the coin that you’ve mined and so will result in a steady stream of transactions in the exchanges.
5. Turn your miner to do good – e.g. Science
There are a few scrypt-based coins out there which have good intentions and by mining them you could could contribute to moving the human race forward. An example is mining Einsteinium who report that they use the cryptocoin to support scientific research, on their website it appears that have supported a number of students and researchers with their projects. Please however remember that whenever you get involved with a new coin make sure you do your research as you rely on a degree of trust between you and the leaders of the coin.
6. A glorified heater
Cryptocurrencies put out a lot of heat and so could be use to heat up your house, there are tales of people using the miners especially in a cold winter to remain warm and make a few coins…