We’re expanding into Litecoin mining in 2018. As the value of a few ASIC-mineable cryptocurrencies began outpacing the difficult in mining them we started looking at options to diversify a bit. As things developed, we made the decision to give Litecoin mining a go.
The case for Litecoin mining in 2018
Evaluating the options
Here were our mining options with the investment we want to make in hardware.
- Introduce ASIC miners for Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dash
- Add ASIC miners but only for one of the three cryptocurrencies
- Avoid ASICs, and instead add more GPU miners
- Do nothing
Many factors went into the decision. And, it was a repetitive process, not a one-time go, no-go. Of course, building more GPU miners was the easiest option.
First, we continuously reviewed the broader cryptocurrency space (which we’re continually doing already) for broader concerns such as detrimental regulation. Next we reviewed aspects each of the coins we were interested and tried to get a gauge for their short and long term potential. Finally, we monitored their historical and current price and what ASIC mining each could yield.
The early pick: Bitcoin
Initially we were drawn toward Bitcoin mining as it’s at the center of the public conversation about cryptocurrency. And, while we continued to watch the price grow over the past 6 months, the case for mining it with an Antminer S9 got better and better on paper. What kept us from pulling the trigger was some of it’s more awkward characteristics.
Bitcoin has no CEO. There’s no one to invite onto CNBC to talk about it’s intended vision. That leaves us with the press, largely confused about cryptocurrency, using the word Bitcoin when they should be using the word cryptocurrency. That’s not helping. The numbers all made sense to mine Bitcoin, yet we held back.
The hopeful with math that didn’t add up: Dash. Things looked interesting until we ran the math on a Dash Antminer and projected out it’s yield. The breakeven point on the hardware was outside our window (4 months).
Litecoin mining: everything adds up
Mining Litecoin was of interest for a lot of reasons. We own Litecoin it already. In fact, our overall approach is to mine the most profitable coins our hardware is capable of, and to then exchange what we’ve mined for the coins we want to hold. One of the coins at the top of the list has always been Litecoin.
Acquiring our Litecoin miners
We figured we had missed the party over at Bitmain (S9’s had gone out of stock). But, the Antminer L3+ was in-stock. With pricing information (roughly $1600 USD) we then scoured domestic sources.
Bitmain Antminer L3+
Our Antminer L3+ buying options
We could either pay twice what a new one cost, but have it immediately, or get the retail price from Bitmain. The catch: the new units straight from the factory don’t ship until March, 2018. And, one more thing: the are currently only accepting Bitcoin Cash. Yeah, we know.
In the end, we opted to purchase the Litecoin ASIC miners straight from China. There’s a half dozen pros and a half dozen cons for either direction. In the end, to get our breakeven point where it needs to be, buying for twice the retail price didn’t make sense. And, while we know the many risks of buying from another country with cryptocurrency, we went for it.
Talk about our Litecoin mining will be on hold until the Spring. We took an educated guess with a lot of risk. Only time will tell if the L3+ is a high-producing addition or if it’s a very expensive paperweight. Stay tuned.