The Coinmine One crypto miner, an all-in-one mining and staking box backed by Coinbase Ventures, is being called an “at home” cryptocurrency mining solution. That designation, provided to us by mainstream media outlets, is a rather misguided name since mining and staking crypto “at home” has always been possible, but not necessarily easy or profitable.
The box itself looks like an Xbox gaming system, or a Playstation, and will eventually fit nicely in that empty space on your desk or next to your router.
Mining Made Easy
Coinbase, as a crypto exchange, is famous for packaging the process of buying Bitcoin and other cryptos into a simple point-and-click process. Create an account, deposit some funds, and click the “buy” button and you now own cryptocurrency.
The on-ramp is important, which is why Coinbase Ventures is putting big investment behind the Coinmine One device and business model. If the on-ramp to mining and staking is as easy as opening the box, installing an app on your phone, and pressing “start,” the opportunity for millions of new stakeholders joining various networks will lead to further decentralization and increase overall adoption.
According to Coinmine co-Founder Farbood Nivi, “It’s about what’s coming, and not missing out on the new promising networks like you missed out on bitcoin and ethereum in the early days.”
Nivi also stated that the goal of making crypto mining and staking easy is because it will increase decentralization which in turn creates more redundancy and security.
Underwhelming Power for Proof of Work Mining
There’s a reason, however, for the dearth of affordable “at home” mining solutions on the market, and it’s not for lack of trying. Searching Ebay or Googling for “home crypto mining” will yield you packaged systems, some of which are configured to be “plug and play” out of the box. Mining rigs built for Bitcoin or Ethereum will run well into the thousands of dollars (and up) due to the amount of computing power needed to achieve hash rates which are even remotely profitable.
In terms of hashing power, the Coinmine One tops out at 29 Megahashes per second on Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. By basic calculation, that is enough for roughly 1 ETH coin annually, so don’t quit your day job.
Other Proof of Work options, such as Monero, sit around 800 hashes per second, which is enough to nab you 3 XMR coins per year. It also supports ZCash as well, at 290 solutions per second, but you’ll end the year with half a coin.
Running at 120W, the profitability of mining 1 ETH per year is practically non-existent, and likely results in a loss depending on the current market price.
Staking Might Be Promising
Despite an inability to really compete with high-powered Proof of Work mining rigs, all is not lost for the Coinmine box. The future for most every blockchain is moving to a Proof of Stake algorithm which will shed the need for resource-intensive mining.
The Coinmine One also supports PoS staking with support anticipated for Tezos, Ethereum Casper, Dfinity, Filecoin, Spankchain, Polkadot, Cosmos, FOAM, and more to be added in the future.
Earning rewards on these PoS networks is not dependent on your system specs, so in that regard, the Coinmine might be over-powered in some instances. The benefit, however, is that software upgrades and crypto storage are taken care of for you so rather than setting up different software packages to stake on different networks, you can simply turn them on or off within the Coinmine app.
The only drawback for PoS coins is that staking on most of these networks requires that you own a certain number of coins in order to participate. Take Tezos, for example, where the minimum to participate in staking (referred to as baking) is 10,000 coins, meaning there is an upfront investment beyond the hardware. Coinmine has not yet explained how PoS mining will work in relation to the minimum requirements on various chains.
Bitcoin Lightning Network Support
While the device is too underpowered to mine actual Bitcoin, it will have support for the Lightning Network which is a second-layer payment protocol sitting on top of Bitcoin. Similar to Proof of Stake currencies, where rewards are earned for validating blockchain transactions, users can participate in the Lightning Network by “routing” transactions and earning rewards.
Watch Out For Fees
Despite shelling out $799 for the Coinmine One box, you’ll also be paying Coinmine 5% off the top of your earnings to cover software updates and development of adding new coins to the platform.
It’s a small price to pay for some users who would rather let someone else take care of all the technical jargon and simply walk away with the profit.
With the current crypto market heading south on a daily basis, something will have to kickstart things in 2019 before new investment comes flooding back to the market. Staking with devices like the Coinmine may be an area which sees rapid growth over the next 12 months as investors look for new ways to earn returns in a volatile crypto market.
If this device is successful, look for knockoffs offering similarly easy crypto mining and staking setup for average users to buy a device and literally “turn on” their own crypto-minting machine.
Featured image courtesy of Coinmine