Mining at the end of 2018 is very difficult to compare in terms of prospects and profitability to the end of 2017. The mood in the community is grim, but where some see the end of the road, others identify new opportunities. The mining market is growing, retail miners are being replaced by more centralized and larger ones, and now they are busy buying farms at a huge discount, waiting for the crypto market to turn around and for new coins to appear. Then people will start mining again, as was when Zcash and ethereum entered the scene. During moments of prolonged corrections and a general loss of faith, big capital and a new hashrate is coming onto the market, those same people that left it after fixing their profits in early 2018 at the peak of the hype.
Video cards or ASIC in 2018-19?
In general, everything related to ASIC devices from the stage of production, supply, obsolescence, and realizability in the secondary market is strongly associated with the word ‘scam’.
First, new devices come at exorbitant prices. Having bought ASIC Antminer D3 in 2017 to mine Dash for an incredible $3,500 to 4,500, a year later the cost of such a device drops to a mere $250.
Secondly, if there is no direct access to the manufacturer, the device will almost certainly come ‘used’ + potential problems with customs, which in total can bring the delivery time up to several months.
Thirdly, these are devices ‘per se’. They have no other purpose than mining crypto. Keeping in mind such a fast obsolescence period, you get high-tech chips that can be thrown away just after a year of use.
Video cards relieve you of all the above problems. No matter how strongly the community of gamers persuades you, the demand for game cards will always be there, and past generations of chips are still relevant and in demand on the secondary market. In addition, prices for new video cards have gone even higher. For example, Palit 1070 Jetstream now costs a bit more than in October 2017, and the ability to send the device back under warranty (36 months), without having to ship it to China, as in the case with all the ASIC miners, should really be the end of an argument in favor of ASIC’s. If prices on ASIC fall tenfold, then video cards on the secondary market lose at most half of their price. So, a new GTX 1080ti practically lost nothing in price throughout the past year and costs around $699 while on the secondary they are sold at $500 to $550.
Recently, Nvidia has updated its line of video cards, and now the emphasis has been placed on gamers, but both camps largely reacted to the switch from the 10th to 20th generation as a marketing ploy. Although from a technical point of view, the manufacturer seriously invested in developing the new architecture. So what has changed in the context of mining?
Let’s consider the RTX 2080 card with an average price in November 2018 at about $1,200, depending on the manufacturer. For ethereum (ETH), the card issues 41 megahash when overclocking at 1,000 in terms of memory and at PL 50 with 240 W of consumption. It should be noted that the updated RX 570 gives out more than 30 megahash and the price is 3-4 times lower, which negates the whole point of updating the hardware to a newer version.
It should be noted that the new generation of video cards has become more energy efficient. When the prices for new cards fall, we will get a parity in terms of performance when comparing the former top-of-the-range GTX 1080ti with the new RTX 2080, but the new generation has no obvious advantages. For example, on the Equihash RTX 2080 algorithm, it produces the same 780Sol/s as the 1080ti at moderate overclocking of 120 at the core and 400-500 on memory. The RTX 2080Ti gives about 900Sol/s at a price of $1,200. The community though believes that the new generation of cards from Nvidia was ‘sharpened up’ for the new coins with ASIC-resistant algorithms. While Zcash first allowed manufacturers with ASIC-devices, later they can offer new coins for the GPU. Partly for this reason, optimistic big-time miners are now buying up farms at bargain prices.
However, at the moment the situation looks extremely gloomy. After breaking through the consolidation area, at about $6,000, the bitcoin (BTC) entered a new correction phase, pulling the entire crypto market with it. ETH and ZEC, the most famous and popular coins among GPU crypto-miners, update historical minimums. The bulk of the video cards will only allow you to cover the variable costs, which of course, reduces the whole point of mining to nothing. As of the end of November, the new RTX 2080 and the previous generation GTX 1080ti after deducting the running costs (in a cheap electricity area) will bring you about $0.50 per day.
“Should I get into mining now?” you may be asking. Probably not. “Do I need to sell my equipment at a bargain price?” Another no. It is better to wait, given the current prices for new video cards and similar yields generated from the previous generation. In any case, you will most certainly find a gamer to buy the card off you, and if you are lucky, you will discover a new profitable coin.