Monero (XMR) has been on a nice run lately. No significant news has come from the official Twitter in a week and the big news on the horizon is the rumored launch of Multisig wallet on the Monero network. This is big news as Multisig wallets allow multiple owners/users of the same wallet to help with businesses. It is considered the last implementation to drive Monero up in value and demand across the darknet.
If there is more price increase to come, should you mine Monero? This is a difficult question to answer because all situations are different. There are a few variables that cannot be answered in all situations which must be considered. Power cost, hardware cost, difficulty, and coin price all play a role. Nobody can predict coin price or difficulty but the cost of hardware and electricity can be predicted if not controlled.
To best illustrate this I will present some info from one of my mining rigs currently tuned to Monero. This information applies to me and this rig only and may give you some insight to decide if mining Monero is right for you.
Electricity – I am in a unique situation where I have access to a single 20A line for free. I do not pay anything for the electricity and nobody is going to come collect if I max the line out 24 hours a day. I do not have a landlord who will get angry and try to collect after he/she sees a spike in use. I cannot exceed one 20A line and I cannot install another line to do the same. A single line is my limit. A 20A line can provide 2400 watts at peak but for safety I limit it to 80% of max or 1920 Watts.
Hardware – New hardware is expensive and often not in stock or marked above MSRP. Luckily due to my electricity situation I could use cheaper older hardware to mine. Older hardware is generally slower and uses more power than modern newer hardware. The disadvantage is limiting how much hash/watt I can draw on my single line. The benefit is I can buy it easily and get started. My hardware:
2x Powercolor HD 7850 – Bought these for ~$100 each in 2013 or 14 wen I mined Litecoin. Cost is hard to say as these have mined much more than they have cost. Today you can find these at $40-60 on ebay. Ill use $50 each as the price. Total $100.
1x Sapphire 7870 – Bought on craigslist for $75.
1x XFX 7970 – From Amazon. Paid $124.50.
1x Gigabyte RX560 new from Amazon. Paid $109.95. Now a bit higher.
1x PCI-e riser – Amazon $8. Stick to the linked ones from Mintcell. The others have a bad reputation and like to catch fire or simply not work.
1x 850 watt EVGA Bronze PSU – New from Best Buy for $63.00 on sale. Not on sale now but goes on sale frequently.
The 7850s were on my Son's computer until I upgraded it earlier this year to a 1060. The computer is a Ryzen 1500X which I use to game prior to getting back into mining. I do not include this price as I would have bought the parts for the computer without mining. I was using the 7850 for gaming (light gaming) but I included them above for illustration.
Total – 380.45 for the above equipment that I would not have purchased for my home computer if I was not mining.
Adding the Ryzen 1500X to the above mining hardware gets this rig to 2.4-2.5 kh/s mining Monero. This is stock bios, all cards overclocked safely running very stable. Modified Bios might bring another 5-10% at the expense of hours of testing. Testing is not mining so I chose stability. This compares to newer cards like the Reference Vega 64 or Vega 56 flashed to the 64 Bios at about 1.3-1.4 Vega to my set-up. With modified Bios, undervolting, and mild overclock Vegas are achieving 1.8-2.0 kh/s per card.
A single Vega 56 at MSRP is $399 while a Vega 64 is $499. I will not debate the MSRP/over MSRP situation at the moment. The Vega has been available for short times both at MSRP and even below slightly if you were lucky. For a card this expensive I would stick with the 64 as modified bios would void the warranty on the 56. 1.3 x $499 is $648.70 for 1.3 Vega 64's to get the same Hash as I produce. Any standard 600 watt PSU would be fine as undervolted the Vega is rumored to get under 150 watts each. You could also save the $8 riser cost at the expense of higher temps. I will use the standard $648.70 for the cost.
$648.70 – 380.45 = $268.25 or 1.9160714286 Monero at today's price that I earned by sticking with old equipment.
The numbers below are for my single rig miner from yesterday. Starting at 0738 yesterday my Monero mining balance for this worker was 0.0731703757. This morning at 0738 it was 0.1110337017 for a difference of 0.037863326. At the market price of $140 this is $5.30 for the last 24 hours. Assuming this stays steady over 1 month this would be $159.02 or 41% of my equipment cost.
This assumes that price and difficulty stays flat. Being in this game for 4 years I understand neither to be true. Looking at Monero hashing over the last 1 month there has not been any large spikes with a range of 220 MH/s – 270 MH/s. Currently there is 258 MH/s. Without a significant rise in hashing difficulty will remain relatively constant.
Assuming this all stays constant which we know not to be true I can achieve 100% return on investment at roughly 2.5 months. After full ROI then starts ‘profit'. With the Vega being a bit more expensive, the ROI will take a bit longer but the card itself will have better resale and may even sell at higher than buying price when sold.
Remember this is without electricity cost. If you have to subtract electricity cost that will extend payback on any equipment or even make ROI not possible. If I had bought Monero when I started buying equipment then I would already have a profit although at the expense of a hobby. For your own situation weight the value of mining vs simply purchasing the desired coin like Monero (XMR).