Bitcoin price gains: Did Bitcoin mining just become profitable again?

As Bitcoin enjoys a record week of price rises, we look at the profitability of mining Bitcoin now the prices has surpassed $7,000.

On the 15th December 2018, Bitcoin recorded its most recent low price of around $3,200. For the miners, despite a drop of mining hashrate to 35 million TH/s, this meant that only those with access to free or subsidised electricity were making any money at all.

Fast forward to May 2019, and although Bitcoin’s hashrate has risen to 46 million TH/s – an increase of a third – the price of Bitcoin has more than doubled. Does this mean that Bitcoin is worth mining yet?

Bitcoin mining is still ASIC-only

Unless you have an ASIC, forget it – it’s a long time since it was worth mining Bitcoin with a GPU. If you’re after a GPU miner, you’re better off looking at Ethereum or another altcoin – read our Ethereum mining guide if you’re interested.

However, looking at the popular and widely available Bitmain Antminer S9 and things are looking better. Even though the hardware was released in 2016 and is old technology now, as Bitcoin rose above $7,000 the aging miner flipped into profit.

Plugging the numbers into CryptoCompare’s Bitcoin mining calculator and the S9 is now making a profit of $0.09 a day on average electricity fees:

It’s not going to make you rich, but just breaking even is worth celebrating after many were considering binning their old ASICs.

If you can get hold of the latest miner from Bitmain – the Antminer S17 – then you might actually make some money. The S17 boasts hashing power of 56 TH/s and plugging the numbers in you could be making almost $3,000 profit a year – which more than pays for the miner.

Bitcoin mining is still very much the preserve of mining farms with access to cheap electricity, and as the price of Bitcoin goes up, so too will be the number of miners attached to the network and therefore the network hash rate.

Competing against these farms is always going to be tough, but it’s good news that, at least for now, mining for the rest of us is profitable.