A bit of Bitcoin Prospectin’

Santa brought me a new Raspberry Pi board and I’ve been itchin’ to do something with it. When I found a set of four USB Bitcoin mining ASICs for $100 on eBay, I figured it was time to do a little bit of cryptocurrency prospecting. So, I built a RPi Bitcoin mining rig that I have lovingly named Gabby Hayes.

I borrowed heavily from a couple of how-to documents from RaTTuS and Collin Cunningham. I didn’t do anything fancy on this project as you can see from my highly sophisticated plywood stand. My plan is to stick this little rig in the corner of my office for a few months and see what it can churn out.

Currently, Gabby averages about 1.3 gigahashes per second. As of this writing with Bitcoins trading for about $830, that translates to approximately US $0.35 per day in earnings. So, no, I do not intend to get rich on this little project. If I’m lucky, this experiment will pay for itself in about a year.  This is just a hobby project to learn more about the cryptocurrency phenomenon that’s currently happening around the world.

I have not wandered too far off the beaten path here when it comes to both Bitcoin mining software and Raspberry Pi. However, I have a few lessons I learned already, so I figure I will state them hear so the next person can find their answers by way of Google.

  • Dude! Those ASIC miners get hot! I made the mistake of trying to grab one after it had been running, un-fanned, for about 20 minutes.  Do yourself a favor and put a fan on those little suckers. Here’s the one that I used.
  • Raspberry Pi, or at least Raspbian, does not yet do USB 3.0 peripherals. If you buy this sexy little Anker powered USB hub, you do so at your own peril. Unfortunately it’s not backwards compatible.  I suggest you buy a simple D-Link USB 2.0 device instead.
  • Thar be Dragons! Any time I can create a Venn diagram to illustrate a point, I’m a happy camper. As you can see from this one below. I’m rather convinced that I just jumped headfirst into the rabbit hole when I chose to get into Bitcoins. There’s some weird shit and fanatical people out there.

Bitcoin Venn Diagram

So, will we all be paying our utility bills in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, or Coinye West in the near future? Probably not. However, I do believe that what is going on with cryptographic currency markets right now will, at the very least, become a chapter in Economics 101 texts in the next 20 years. Having a monetary system that is decentralized and chain searchable makes for great debate in areas of transparency and reputation based economics. That’s my 0.00002467BTC (~$0.02 USD).