Friday, November 22, 2013

Bitcoin mining pools are awesome

Got my first payout today, a whole 0.013 bitcoins!  While this may not be a whole lot, it's still exciting for me, though it'll still be a few months at this rate to pay back the initial investment of my little jalapeno.  At the time that I ordered it, Butterfly Labs was claiming that the turnaround would only be about two months, little did I know that they had a six-to-eight month backlog of orders.  People that had preordered early ended up starting at about ten times the income that I'm seeing now, though the massive influx of mining hardware quickly increased the difficulty, cutting everyone's profits.  It's also worth noting that the jalapeno uses electricity, and anyone serious about calculating profitability should take this into account.  However, that said, it's getting pretty cold here, so I'm not really considering the heat that the unit is giving off to be wasted.

Anyways, back to my current situation, I signed up to Slush's pool, which I picked mainly because it's the oldest and possibly best known bitcoin pool on the internet.  For those who aren't in the know, mining pools are groups you can join where everyone in the pool works together in order to mine the same blocks more quickly and efficiently, and everyone is given shares based on how many hashes they personally mined.  In the olden days (only a few years ago, really), it was entirely possible to mine on your own, but now, because of the level of difficulty, If you were to mine on your own, you would probably never successfully mine your own block in the lifetime of your hardware, because even the most powerful piece of hardware is only a drop in the ocean compared to the global hash rate, hence the existance of the bitcoin pool.

Expanding on the solo miner, the reason that you would never earn any bitcoins without joining a bitcoin mining pool is because block mining is luck of the draw, only one person can successfully mine each block, and that person unlocks 25 bitcoins (this number increases after a set amount of difficulty increases in order to make mining attractive fr a longer period of time).  Unfortunately, this means that anyone else who did not successfully mine the block obtains absolutely nothing.  In the case of the bitcoin pool, regardless of who successfully unlocked the block, the 25 bitcoins are distributed based on contribution to everybody inside the pool, resulting in a much more stable income, and in many cases (unless you're sporting a few hundred thousand dollars of mining equipment in the mining cellar of your mansion in the south of France) this is the only way to earn anything at all, as the statistics have shown that, with the exponential growth of the global mining hashrate, an average miner will likely never unlock a single block.

It's worth noting that one should probably stick to one of the bigger, more well-known mining pools, for a few reasons.  First off, smaller bitcoin mining pools can suffer the same fate as the solo miner; if their combined hardware power is not sufficient, they probably won't find many coins at all.  Also, because of the organizational structure of the bitcoin pool, all of the freshly mined coins are first deposited into a central account, and there's really nothing stopping the owner of the pool from suddenly running off with a massive amount of coins, other than their conscience, that is.  That's why I chose slush's pool, because it's the oldest and has paid out many, many times before.

Apart from the fact that running off with everyone else's hard work wouldn't be legal, it's also not in the best interest of the pool owner, as the pool owner actually doesn't need to contribute anything in order to earn money -- the pool itself takes a very small cut (two percent or so) for itself, which, if you're running a massive pool, is a very substantial amount of money.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Butterfly Labs 7GH/S USB "jalapeno" miner review

Hey everyone, my new 7GH/S miner from Butterfly Labs finally arrived today, so I finally got to try it out.  Butterfly Labs has gotten a lot of bad rep recently because they were completely unprepared for the sheer volume of pre-orders they received for their ASIC line of products, with people having to wait six months to a year just to receive their product.  A lot of people did chargebacks and threatened legal action and there was a lot of people claiming that Butterfly Labs were scammers, but I can say for a fact that they're just a horribly managed company.

Anyways, back to the product:

 I ordered this thing ages ago and I had pretty much given up on it ever actually arriving, so I was pleasantly surprised when I did get it today.  Unfortunately, the difficult level is much, much higher than it was when I purchased the damn thing, and it's going to take a good 2-3 months of mining to pay off the box, unless bitcoins continue to increase in value as they have been doing recently (My god, they're at around 650 USD each on Mt.Gox at the moment!).  That said, the market could just as easily crash, but hey, all investments come with risks.

The box is bigger than I had expected, but it's certainly not huge.  It does make a decent amount of fan noise, but nothing that's going to keep me awake at night, and it's certainly not going to stop me from leaving it running 24/7 to recoup my initial investment.

Although it took absolutely forever to get here, now that I've had a chance to use it, I feel that it is a quality product.  It took me only about a minute to set up with BFG miner (mainly because I didn't know the connection information for the mining pool off by heart), and after it started running, I was quite impressed to see that my "7 GH/sec" miner actually runs at about 8 GH/sec, a nice little bonus, if I might say so myself!

So, in short, Butterfly Labs has proven to have pretty horrible customer service and an absolutely ridiculous turn-around time, but they do produce a nice product, I only wish I could have gotten it earlier.  That said, I do have one gripe: I paid around $350 for this thing (I think, it was a really long time ago, after all), and now they're already taking preorders for their next line of ASIC cards, which appear to be much cheaper.  Then again, THOSE probably won't come out for another year or so, at the rate that BF Labs goes!

For those of you who don't have the money to purchase expensive mining hardware (I don't really have it myself, but I figured, what the hell) and just want to play around with small amounts of bitcoins, I do have a few more links to places where you can obtain free bitcoin currency.  Once again, these bitcoin faucets are linked with, please forgive my frugality!

Link #1
Link #2
Link #3
Link #4

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A few bitcoin faucets

As promised, I have included at the bottom of this blog post a short list of bitcoin faucets and/or places that offer chances to win small amounts of currency.   Keep in mind, although these bitcoins are free, the amount of money that you'll earn by visiting these faucets is next to none, and they should only really be used if you're interested in playing in low-stakes bitcoin casinos, or to try out the bitcoin system and see how it works.

At time of posting, all of these bitcoin faucets were operational, but if they happen to dry up, please leave a comment at the bottom so I know to update accordingly.  All of these links have been wrapped with adfly,  I'm sorry, I know it's a pain to have to watch a five second advertisement before getting to your destination, but think of it as your (tiny) donation to me for my services ;)

I will try to find more faucets for my next post, but for now, I hope ten is enough to help some people start out with bitcoins, as the bitcoin currency is the place to be.  I hope that, after milking these bitcoin fountains for free currency, some people will consider investing in mining equipment and get deeper into this world.  

Who knows, if this blog starts generating traffic, I might give back and open a faucet myself, but only time can tell whether or not that will happen.  Also, I'm probably going to post some casinos and other fun things you can do with the small amount of free bitcoin currency that you can obtain from the faucets that I link to you.

I hope that your journey with bitcoin currency will be a long and profitable one! Please try some of the links below for bitcoin faucets.

Faucet #1
Faucet #2
Faucet #3
Faucet #4
Faucet #5
Faucet #6
Faucet #7
Faucet #8
Faucet #9
Faucet #10

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How does one get bitcoin currency for free?

With the rise of bitcoin currency, many people are wondering how to get bitcoins for free, and while the long answer is, as always, "nothing in life is free", the short answer is the bitcoin faucet.

What, you will be wondering, is a bitcoin faucet?  The answer is quite simple -- a bitcoin faucet is a website that offers a very small amount of free bitcoin currency to visitors.  The reason they offer this is quite simple, bitcoin faucets are powered by the advertisement income on their webpages, and by visiting their page, there is a possibility that you will click on one of their advertisements, and in turn, help them to earn money.  Because the amount that a bitcoin faucet gives out is very minimal, it's a very cost-effective method to attract people to their website.  After all, who doesn't want to get their hands on some bitcoin currency, now that (at time of writing), bitcoins are worth over $300 us dollars each, and will likely continue to increase in value, as the nature of bitcoins is that people use high-powered computer hardware to "mine" the bitcoins, but the process becomes exponentially more difficult over time, meaning that bitcoins will either have to increase in value, or the currency will be unprofitable to mine.

Other websites also work in a similar fashion to bitcoin faucets, but require you to complete simple tasks in order to obtain your free bitcoin currency, such as filling out short surveys or visiting webpages that they are advertising for.  All in all, running a bitcoin faucet is an ingenious method of increasing the traffic flow to your website at low cost to yourself.

Apart from getting bitcoins from a bitcoin faucet, it's also common for people to gamble with small amounts of the currency at a bitcoin casino, though this is obviously not a sure-fire method of obtaining free bitcoins.  Though the amount of bitcoins that a faucet gives is very small, it is worth noting that bitcoin difficulty is increasing, meaning that it's becoming harder and harder for miners to produce new coins, and as such, the value of anything you get from a bitcoin faucet now is likely to increase over the coming years, or miners will be forced to leave the market due to lack of profitability.

Some people think that bitcoins are the way of the future, and for us people slowly milking bitcoin faucets, we can only hope that the bitcoin currency continues for a long time, and that every day new people hear about the bitcoin currency and ask how to get bitcoins for free.  That said, the future is bright, and the level of interest and investment in the bitcoin currency is steadily increasing, as is visible from bitcoin currency markets such as Mt.Gox.

I must apologize for not providing any links to bitcoin faucets on this page.  I plan on compiling a list of bitcoin faucets in the near future for easy access to anyone that views this blog.  Until then, happy hunting!