Is Crypto Mining Dead?

Josiah Nang-Bayi, MD
12 Min Read

Cryptocurrency mining has faced mounting challenges recently that have led some to proclaim the practice “dead.” Difficulty has skyrocketed, profits have declined, and energy and hardware costs have risen. With all the mining gloom and doom, should crypto miners capitulate or is there still a future for this activity? This article will dive into the nuances of the debate and analyze the complicated question of whether crypto mining remains viable or if it is truly dead.

The Bear Case – Arguments That Crypto Mining is Dead

Here are some of the major arguments put forth by critics who believe cryptocurrency mining is no longer profitable or feasible:

Mining Difficulty Has Risen Astronomically

The difficulty of mining major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has increased exponentially as more hashpower joins networks. This makes finding a block progressively harder. Bitcoin’s difficulty has risen over 11 trillion percent since its inception! Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the difficulty level over the years (   As the difficulty rises, individual miner profits constantly decline.

Dominance of Mining Pools and ASICs

The emergence of pooled mining and specialized ASIC rigs has made solo home hobby mining unviable. Large centralized pools with massive hashrates and expensive ASICs dominate the industry. Small individual miners simply can’t compete. Mining has become an exclusive competitive enterprise.

Falling Cryptocurrency Prices

During crypto bear markets and crashes, valuations plunge making mining unprofitable since block rewards are worth much less. With crypto prices down 80-90% in 2022, mining revenue had dropped drastically even accounting for difficulty changes. Low prices cannot sustain high mining costs.

Prohibitive Hardware and Electricity Costs

ASIC and GPU mining rigs require large capital investments while electricity costs make up the bulk of operational expenses. As professionalization of mining raised the bar, turning a profit is increasingly unlikely for average miners. Profit margins have thinned considerably.

Bans on Crypto Mining

Countries like China and Iran have intermittently instituted outright bans on crypto mining. Other nations may follow suit as concerns around energy usage, regulation, and internet security grow. Jurisdictions with cheap power often leverage this for economic gain, shutting out foreign miners.

Environmental Impact Concerns

Coal-based mining in regions like Kazakhstan and Xinjiang has given crypto mining negative publicity. There is pressure from climate advocates and governments alike to restrict wasteful crypto energy use, especially for proof-of-work chains.

Ethereum Merge to Proof-of-Stake

Ethereum’s shift from proof-of-work mining to proof-of-stake validation removes mining revenue from the second-largest blockchain. The less energy-intensive staking model is also being adopted by newer competitive chains.

Lower Public Sentiment Towards Crypto

Souring public sentiment towards cryptocurrencies as a speculative asset has made mining operations less attractive, especially during bear seasons. Failed crypto companies, scandals, and volatility have decreased broader interest in participating directly in crypto economies.

This collection of arguments presents quite a grim outlook on the viability of crypto mining going forward. However, looking a bit deeper reveals counterpoints making the picture more nuanced.

The Bull Case – Reasons Crypto Mining Is Not Dead

Here are reasons why reports of the death of cryptocurrency mining may be exaggerated:

Mining Remains Critical to Blockchain Functionality

Transaction validation through mining ensures blockchain ledgers remain secure and immutable. It provides critical infrastructure. As long as cryptocurrencies are valued, miners will work to support underlying network functionality. The role of mining itself creates inherent value.

Newer Coins Can Still Be Mined Profitably

Mining brand new cryptocurrencies right after launch can be profitable since network difficulty starts low. While rewards decline quickly, miners periodically switch to fresh networks. This includes coins trying novel mining approaches too.

Major Bitcoin and Ethereum Upgrades Coming

Both Bitcoin and Ethereum have major technical upgrades coming in 2023 and 2024 that will introduce more efficient mining approaches and impact rewards. This could improve profitability.

Many Older Gen Miners Still Operational

While efficiency is improving rapidly, even previous-generation ASICs can still turn a profit mining Bitcoin if electricity costs are cheap enough. Not all rigs immediately become obsolete. Proper maintenance keeps hardware mining longer.

Major Growth Across PoS, Altcoin, and Niche Mining

While BTC mining has grown competitive, promising opportunities remain across proof-of-stake mining, altcoin hashrates, and niche sectors like mining various metaverse and web3 tokens. Growth and innovation is happening.

New Cooling Tech Improves Efficiency

Advances like liquid immersion cooling allow squeezing greater hashrate from rigs while reducing power for cooling. Improving efficiency enables maintaining margins even amidst difficulty increases.

Mining Remains Highly Profitable for Big Players

Major mining firms like [Hut 8](, [Hive](, [Bitfarms]( and [Riot]( with huge economies of scale, cheap power purchase agreements and the latest gear are still mining profitably. Billions in investments show big companies believe sizable gains remain achievable.

Underutilized Excess Power Still Exists

From hydro dams in China to oil-rich Kazakhstan, excess energy production capacity can be leveraged for competitive mining. Where power would simply be wasted, crypto mining provides monetization.

Heat Capture Creates Efficiencies

Capturing mining rig heat for reuse decreases net energy impact. Heating homes or greenhouses with excess thermal energy offsets electric costs and maximizes infrastructure utility through cogeneration.

Surplus Hardware Gets Repurposed

Once ASICs and GPUs reach obsolescence for front-line mining, cheaper electricity locations can reuse them for smaller altcoin mining until hardware failure. Used inventory gets recycled later.

Renewables and Off-Peak Power Reduce Costs

Utilizing cheaper renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydro provides lowered or even negative real energy costs to miners in strategic locations. Time-shifting workload to off-peak hours on the grid also cuts expenses.

Regulatory Clarity Will Attract Participants

Clearer crypto mining laws and tax policies from governments provide more certainty to investors. Jurisdictions like Texas are attracting US miners thanks to friendly regulations. Compliance helps secure mining’s future.

These counterpoints make the case that while crypto mining is maturing into an increasingly competitive industry, it is not yet ready to be declared dead. Data center innovation, energy arbitrage, regulation, and technical upgrades still give miners pathways to potential profits.

The Complicated Reality Facing Cryptocurrency Mining

Given the nuanced analysis above, here are some key takeaways on crypto mining’s complex current status:

– Crypto mining remains critical to securing proof-of-work blockchains even amidst rising mining difficulty and hardware requirements. It retains inherent utility.

– Turning a profit mining Bitcoin and Ethereum is extremely difficult for small hobby miners and now requires major scale, cheap electricity, and access to the newest gear.

– Cryptocurrency price volatility has a major impact on mining revenue. Bear markets diminish short-term returns, but bull runs can offset costs.

– Newer altcoins and proof-of-stake mining provide options, but competition rises quickly as more miners pivot to the most profitable networks.

– Nascent cryptocurrencies still early in launch offer brief windows of time where mining remains feasible before becoming too competitive.

– Improving hardware efficiency, renewable energy, heat capture, and other technical improvements are advancing to combat rising mining resource requirements.

– With massive economies of scale, the latest ASICs, and the cheapest electricity, major mining firms are still extracting sizable profits where smaller miners cannot any longer.

– Geographic regions with excess energy production capacity maintain competitive advantages attracting large-scale mining infrastructure investment.

– Clarity from governments on regulations and energy policies related to crypto mining will provide more certainty on its future viability in different jurisdictions.

In summary, while crypto mining is becoming a harder industry for small-scale miners, it continues evolving alongside energy technology, hardware improvements, and market forces. Reports of the death of crypto mining are exaggerated, but mining is undeniably entering a new mature phase. This requires exceptional resources and scale to remain profitable long-term for all but highly optimized professional operations. Mining is getting harder but is not yet dead.

The Future of Cryptocurrency Mining

Crypto mining will likely continue transitioning to an enterprise-scale industry with individual hobbyists playing less of a role. Major optimizations around energy, geography, hardware, and regulations will emerge as competitive differentiators for commercial mining operations.

Innovations in mining in cleaner grid power, renewable energy integration, next-generation ASICs, and heat capture will improve sustainability. Given mining’s crucial role in blockchain networks, it will remain a critical function even as profits diminish over the long term for Bitcoin and other major networks.

The future trajectory and viability of cryptocurrency mining remain tied to energy technology, hardware capabilities, cryptocurrency adoption, regulations, and blockchain platform evolution. Monitoring technical and industry developments informs strategic decisions and risk management around potential mining pursuits. While the era of easy mining profits has ceased, focused players continue to find lucrative niches. But expectations need adjustment as crypto mining enters a new more intensive phase requiring exceptional execution to remain profitable.


Rather than conclusive verdicts about the death or future of crypto mining, the true outlook is nuanced, rapidly changing, and competitive. The guarantees of easy mining profits have evaporated. Major capital investment, expertise, advantageous resources, and efficient operations separate viable mining ventures from unprofitable ones these days. Small-scale hobbyists face increasing challenges in accessing gains.

But blockchain technology itself still offers promise and mining remains integral to infrastructure security. There are always fluctuations between bull and bear cycles. Dedicated miners adapt and optimize using new techniques and technologies. Reports of the demise of crypto mining are exaggerated, but the industry faces critical evolution. By understanding the evolving landscape and challenging economics, individuals can make informed decisions on possible mining participation.

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Josiah Nang-Bayi, MD is a medical doctor by profession, an author, a financial literacy and digital assets enthusiast, an entrepreneur and a growing philanthropist.
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