Power from Websites, Browsers, and VPS
I was late on understanding cryptocurrency and by no means am I any expert of crypto. I am not qualified to tell you that Bitcoin is the best investment you could make. In fact, I was very, very skeptical of it. I know that cryptocurrency is considered “decentralized” which means it is not controlled by the government, but by Skynet — I mean the Internet. I do own some Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin just because. I bought about $100 worth and received another $50 as gift, but it has since gone up and down and grown to around $250. I still don’t fully understand it, but I do know enough about it to talk about it.
The fact that I have made about $100 from a $150 investment does not make me an expert at all. I really wish it would have made $150,000 or $1,500,000 and then I might tell you it was luck and some expertise in knowing when to get in, and when to get out. I certainly don’t plan on making a bunch of YouTube videos or websites or run Facebook ads to tell you about how great cryptocurrency is because I made some money from putting some extra bills money into the Coinbase system.
For all I know, it reminds me of when I used to play Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and you did jobs for the NPCs and you earned “credits”. There was nothing physical except the fact that it was a number that appeared in your inventory that was agreed upon by everyone in the game as the exchange of currency. A fairly recent-day movie also reminded me of what cryptocurrency was and what it could be, and this movie was Guardians of the Galaxy, in which “units” were traded across all sectors of the galaxy.
Crypto is definitely not a bad idea at all if we consider it a universal currency that could be exchanged across the entire world and eventually, when the governments of the world decide to let us know that aliens do, in fact, exist, and we start moving beyond our own planet, universal currency might be something to consider.
While I don’t regret not learning about crypto mining much earlier, when the concept of a cryptocurrency was still new, I must say that I avoided learning about crypto altogether because it confused me. Every time someone spoke about it, put out a video, it really just brought up more questions than answers. I’ve been able to pick up tidbits here and there casually about what it actually is and what it does. I had avoided buying Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and getting involved in the Altcoin world. To me, it was a media fad. I loved the original idea of a cryptocurrency being used as the “world money system”, but we are quite a few years away from being there. For investing in cryptocurrency right now, you might just be showing your support of a possible future of the coins.
To get these “coins” (virtual digits in cyberspace are what you actually pay for), you go to a “crypto currency exchange” and you take USD or currency from your own country, which you probably earned from hours of labor or your time spent working, and trade it for 1s and 0s that gets put in a ledger kept in check by thousands of computers that process information about the transactions of where this money is going, mostly keeping you anonymous, or at least, some coins do. There are certainly ways to trace who you are, but there really is not a way to tell what you bought or the payer and the payee, other than a random set of numbers.
The whole crypto movement was enough to gain media attention for nearly a month or two in the spotlight and on social media. You could not get by without hearing some kind of mention of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, or Ethereum. The media attention caused a spike and mass amounts of investors and commonfolk, especially Wall Street, to think they were missing out on something huge, something that could make them lots of money, an easy cash cow, and where there is hype about money, there is the desire for everyone to get in on it.
And sure enough — a quarter percentage of those investors made money — some even became millionaires overnight. This drove the hype of crypto up even longer as those people showed their earnings which caused even more of a “wow factor” sensation and made more people want to buy it, but soon as the hype died down, the entire coin exchange crashed, but not to the point where there is no hope for it. There are millions to billions of dollars in circulation as I write this — being traded in all types of crypto currencies every month.
Is there any other way to get this cryptocurrency without spending a dime? Technically, not at all. You need some type of machine to become a ledger or tracker — or a mining machine — to get any sort of “credit” for mining. Joining a mining pool will allow your computer and hundreds of other computers to pool resources together so that the mining is done faster. These pools may also give out rewards for being the fastest or the computer that has done the most mining, which for Monero — is usually every 6 hours or so.
It all sounds so great that all you have to do is run your computer and you get money — cryptocurrency (or your own currency after you exchange it). After 24 hours of crypto mining, however, is it really worth it to continue? With a GPU, quite possibly, but I had actually spun up an instance with a VPS on Vultr. I also experimented with mining from visitors on my website with Coin Hive.
When my website is visited, a message pops up and asks the visitor if they want to dedicate the resources of their computer to mining. A fair trade — for not having advertisements, and it takes just a little bit of resources from the person’s computer until they leave the page. So if they spend 5 minutes on a web page reading, that is 5 minutes of mining time.
The concept behind someone donating their CPU power is truly amazing. Imagine being able to browse the Internet without ads, in exchange for a little CPU power as you read articles or visit websites, completely ad-free? It is like watching a 5 minute ad at the beginning of a show or movie in order to get the rest of the movie ad-free. If you agree to an ad-free experience in exchange for 5–10 minutes of your CPU power, would you do it? It is a concept that could threaten the very existence of Google, however, by the time you have read the remainder of this article, ads and even placing links and charging people through Paypal are still the superior method.
Another barrier in place is that usually when you get paid through the ads you place on your website, you are getting paid in your own currency, whereas mining CPU power of your visitors pays you in Monero. I could not tell you exactly how to trade Monero because I did not mine long enough to get to that point, but after some research, there are exchanges that do exist to trade it, though after you have taken into consideration the mining pool fee (if you are mining with a pool) and the fees for exchange, it would hardly be worth it, unless you are running a website that gets hundreds of thousands of visitors a month.
I wanted to experiment with mining so I pooled together my own resources: all of my websites, a 1 GB RAM VPS with 1 Core CPU —at 4 threads, and a 32 GB RAM VPS with 8 cores — at 16 threads. I made efforts to understand what “threads” were — something about the power and speed at which a single core can process, so 1 core might be able to do four things all at once and after that, another core may take over to do more (i.e. running a browser, a video, Adobe Photoshop, etc. at the same time). Processing power for both was at 100% CPU. Here are the stats of both VPS.
1 core ($5/month):
8 core ($120/month)
On Vultr, the Bare Metal Instance does not show the CPU processing power, but on the 1 GB Core instance, it did, which was running at 100% to 105% the entire time.
1 core mined around a block every 10–30 minutes at around 20–25 hashes/second while the 8 core was mining a block about every 5–30 seconds at around 130 hashes/second.
Here is what mining looks like:
With Coin Hive, you can mine from your own browser and from your visitors. After nearly 24 hours of mining, here are the yields from Coin Hive:
#1 — mining from my own browser, on 3 different Chromebooks, and a Windows laptop — part time, so each were active around the same time for several hours throughout the day or overnight.
#2 — mining from a semi-popular website that receives most of its traffic around 300–400 visitors per day.
#3 — the website that you see above asking if you want to allow the session — receives around 200 visitors a day.
#4 — this website is the most popular and is a website for locals in the area — receives around 50–100 visitors per hour.
#5 — while this website did not generate any hash from visitors, it is a news-type website that only gets traffic when there are important events happening in the United States, usually only spiking in traffic during natural disasters.
Coin Hive sets a limit on the amount of websites you can mine from unless you are pulling in over 100kh/s (good luck). Otherwise, a message appears:
Create New Site
Note that your account is currently limited to 5 sites. We can only lift the limit for users with more than 100kh/s.
You have reached the site limit of your account.
You can always change your least active websites to your most active ones, so changing them is no problem at all.
Here is the graph chart showing the hashes/second:
To place a script on the website to mine from users without their permission or any option to opt out is not recommended. On several websites, I did use an opt-out form, while on some others, I placed a script that hid the fact that users’ CPU were being used to mine. I felt bad about it, but considering this was a 24 hour experiment, I’m sure my guilt will pass, and my visitors will forgive me.
Aside from mining on Coin Hive, this is what was mined from the two servers I used:
So taking the Coin Hive balance and the Monero Pool balance and adding them together:
0.000312803821 + 0.00017 = 0.000482803821 XMR
At the time of this writing, 1 XMR = 294.30 USD or 0.3 BTC.
0.000452803821 XMR = 0.00 BTC = 0.13 USD
1 core VPS = $5/month
8 core VPS = $120/month
Even being generous and assuming I could manage an average of 800h/s using this Monero Profit Calculator, it would only bring in about $30 in profit per month. $125 a month would technically be the investment not counting the costs of the laptops that might endure wear and tear from running at 100% processing speed, and the electric these laptops might consume if they were to be operating for 24/7 for the month. Luckily for me, I invested in solar panels for my house a few years ago. Still paying those off, but the electric bill in the summertime amounts to around $7/month (which is really just tax for being “connected to the grid”), while in winter, it might range from $40-$70/month.
Within 24 hours, it has been long enough to know this is not by any means a great investment at all, and anyone who would say otherwise is fooling themselves, even by pooling together resources from websites, my browsers, almost a half dozen laptops, and my own spun VPS, all to make — a few cents? I can beg on the streets and probably get 25 cents within the hour — much faster than what mining can bring for me.
What might make it worth it? If mining happened to at least cover the costs of the servers and then some. Perhaps it might be worth it to mine at the GPU level, or even if you were to volunteer your resources because you feel strongly about a certain crypto coin. Other than that, I don’t recommend it, other than for the experience of mining, or if you happen to make a good investment on some rig that you can leave running in your house for months or years at a time without worry.
To me, personally, it was not worth it on a VPS, but it was very interesting to see what it was like mining in action. It might be worth it to the person who truly understands and wants to be a part of the cryptocurrency community. If anything, to pay $5 a month for a VPS constantly mining might be worth it, as just a passive income, in which you set it and forget about it, and invest the $60 a year, and overtime, might see a yield from it, or to just try and be a part of the crypto community and contribute. But very few of the VPS providers are willing to tolerate the abuse of a VPS operating at 100% CPU 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days out of the year.
Misuse of System Resources: Intentional misuse of system resources, including but not limited to employing programs that consume excessive network capacity, CPU cycles, or disk IO. — Linode
I have a few friends who are making $500 to $5,000 a month with mining rigs, but they did put up the initial investment (the one making $5,000 a month put up money for a $30,000 rig), and after leaving it running for months at a time, there is only the hope that whatever they mined went up in the value of the U.S. Dollar, because despite how strongly many people may feel about cryptocurrency, most will eventually want to convert it back into their own currency… because if we could pay the bills with cryptocurrency, I am sure most of us definitely would opt for that option.
Cryptocurrency is not going away. Buying cryptocurrency or owning part of it as an asset or investment might give you an understanding of what it is all about. Whatever you put into it, just know: you can lose it. Whatever you put into it, you can also have the opportunity to double it. For the time being, it is more like a very mini-lottery that can pay out a few hundred dollars a day if you have the investment to make up front. You’ll make more on a $10,000 investment than you would on a $100 investment.
The more money you put in — and get lucky, the more opportunity you have to make money, but it involves certain risk. There are just a few dozen companies still accepting all types of crypto as an actual currency that can be traded as if it has actual cash value, which — to an extent, it does. There is enough money floating around in cyberspace to help cryptocurrency maintain somewhat of a base value, but this type of fluctuation scares off most companies to want to even bother with it.
It was and still is a very interesting world experiment, baffling some of the most expert investors, but crypto is paving the way for how our money can and might work in the future, especially for advocates who feel that governments, banks, and the “powers that be” have far too much power because they control the money, being as whoever controls the money… are the ones who control the world. If cryptocurrency has done anything great for humanity, it has introduced us to the powerful technology of blockchain.
Image Sources: Google