Home mining for non-KYC Bitcoin.
An article on setting up an ASIC Bitcoin miner at home with the goal of generating a non-KYC stack. Procurement, electrical infrastructure, ventilation requirements, noise treatment, connecting to a pool, and operational costs/rewards will be covered here. Additionally, community questions from Twitter are answered individually at the end. Several additional resources are presented as well.
If you're reading this, you probably have a basic understanding of what role Bitcoin mining plays in the ecosystem, approximately how it works, and the evolution of mining hardware to the modern-day ASIC machines. I'll be jumping straight into how to mine at home but if you are interested in the basics and history of mining, follow the links here, here and here.
Have you ever considered mining Bitcoin at home? Maybe you have but were deterred by naysayers telling you that home miners cannot compete with industrial-sized players. Or maybe you heard it's too complicated to configure your own setup. Or that residential electrical costs make it so that you will never be profitable.
Join me as I set out to put the FUD to the test and find out for myself what the truth of the matter is. You know how the saying goes, "Don't trust, verify". For as long as I've been interested in Bitcoin, mining struck me as a crucial piece of the network that I just didn't understand, it just seemed out of reach from a technical understanding and from an ability standpoint. I made assumptions that resonated with the naysayer's narratives and chalked it up to another missed opportunity. But that changed in November 2020 when I read a home mining guide by @diverterNoKYC called Mining for the Streets. Diverter's guide offered a totally fresh perspective on what I thought I knew about mining. I was convinced after reading Mining for the Streets that home-mining for non-KYC Bitcoin was a goal within my reach. I highly recommend starting with Mining for the Streets. If you have had an interest in mining at home but have been told it's not profitable then his guide will change your mind. Diverter's guide can also be downloaded here:
I'm living proof that where there is a will, there is a way. A little bit of ambition, creativity, patience, and resourcefulness can go a long way. Those who are willing and able to put in the work and solve some problems will reap the benefits. Here is how I routed around the FUD and reached my goals, I hope you find some of these resources helpful and some of these ideas thought provoking. This article is organized by the following sections:
Procuring your miner can go really smoothly or it could quickly become a traumatizing experience. It depends on your ability to take your time, plan ahead, listen to your intuition, and take into consideration some important factors. The unfortunate truth is that there are scammers out there, they run legitimate looking websites, they respond to your emails, they'll take your money and run too. I nearly sent someone 0.26 BTC for an Antminer S19 Pro the day after Thanksgiving. I nearly ordered one off of Amazon too because they said it was in stock when the rest of the world had none.
Here's my advice, if you hesitate for even a second, that's your intuition trying to tell you something. Don't get in a rush. Take your time and reach out to someone you know for advice when you need it.
They got me pointed in the right direction and now I'm giving that information to you. Start lurking in some of these Telegram groups:
Hardware Market Verified Listings is the first place I would consider finding mining equipment ads that I would act on. This is the room I found the ad for my machine. The sellers in this channel have given their identifying information to the channel admin, CrypTech Solutions and they have a reputation to maintain. Although this adds a sense of security to the transaction, it is not a silver bullet against getting scammed so you do need to be careful. @MineFarmBuy & @KaboomRacks post ads here often and they have good reputations. @BlockwareTeam also posts ads there as well however, they have a strict 5 ASIC minimum now. So if you are ready to act on an ad, find it in this channel, even if there is a high minimum order quantity (MOQ) contact the seller anyways to get on their radar, they will often consolidate small orders.
Hardware Market is a channel for buying and selling crypto mining hardware ads only, no mining or crypto discussions. This will give you an idea of what the market conditions are like, what availability there is, and who some of the big dealers are. Be careful about posting into this room that you want to buy an ASIC or two, you really open yourself up to scammers by doing that. I'm not saying the people in this room are scammers, but scammers lurk everywhere waiting for an opportune moment to strike.
Miners Peak this group is all about contributing positive content to the mining space, but discussion doesn’t have to be limited to mining. No buy or sell ads in this channel.
Crypto Scams & Bitcoin Scammers Blacklist the title of this channel pretty much sums it up, this is where people can seek help from the community to help safe guard against scammers. If you ever have any questions, like "Has anyone worked with Satoshi Nakamoto from Miners-R-Us before?" this is a good place for it.
Blockware Solutions Hardware/Hosting/Pools/Market this is a channel maintained by Blockware Solutions, they offer hosting services, sell equipment, and more. This is the company I bought my ASIC from. This can also be a good source for current events in the mining space.
Kaboom Racks Marketplace this channel is where you can find ads to buy or sell mining equipment through Kaboom Racks. These guys also have a good reputation in the industry.
Between those six Telegram groups, you should be able to get a good "lay of the land" and start to see how procuring some mining equipment works. When I first joined these channels I just lurked for a few days and tried to get an idea for how things worked. I kept an eye on the Hardware Market Verified Listings channel until I saw an ad that met my criteria and then I jumped on it.
Another resource is Upstream Data, this company specializes in pairing modular Bitcoin mining datacenters to natural gas engines as a creative solution for vented and flared natural gas at upstream oil and gas facilities. Recently, Upstream Data has started selling ASICs to individuals with a minimum quantity of 1. Additionally, Upstream Data is launching the "BlackBox" which is designed to attenuate sound and be operated outdoors. This is a great solution to dealing with the noise and heat generated by ASICs. Full disclosure, I am affiliated with Upstream Data as of December 2021.
Alternatively, there was a recent announcement from Compass Mining that they are now offering ASICs specifically to serve the home mining market. You can now order directly from them in quantities as low as 1 ASIC. Just look for the "Hosted At Home" icon next to the ASIC you are interested in. If you do buy from Compass (or any distributor) then I do recommend considering the privacy implications of such a purchase and using a P.O. Box for the receiving address. As well as paying in bitcoin as to not leave a payment trail that is directly tied to your identity. Also, consider using functional contact information that does not reveal your true identity, email, or phone number.
What criteria suits your needs will depend on you and your unique situation. I decided to use some profits from cashing out some bitcoin and I set $5k aside for this project. I understood from Diverter's Mining for the Streets guide that right then was an excellent time to start mining because we just passed a halving event, we were on the precipice of a bull run, and the new generation of mining equipment is coming to market. So with these conditions combined, getting the best mining equipment I could afford with the highest hashrate meant that I would be able to maximize my results for a longer length of time.
I wanted new equipment because I can't trust how used equipment was treated by the previous owner.
I wanted the latest generation hardware so I could get the longest life expectancy.
I wanted the highest hashrate I could afford so I could maximize my returns.
I had a $5k budget for equipment & infrastructure.
Given the market conditions and the long lead-time on ASIC's being delivered from the manufacturers, I narrowed my choices down to the Bitmain Antminer S19 Pro or the MicroBT Whatsminer M31s+. I had my chance to get the Whatsminer first when I saw Blockware Solutions post an ad in the Market Hardware Verified Listings on Telegram with no minimum order quantity.
I responded to the ad on Telegram and soon I was talking directly with Mason Jappa, he informed me of the anticipated lead-time, we agreed on a price, and as things progressed he was very good at keeping me up to date on changes in delivery dates and getting me all the information I needed to make this a smooth transaction.
At this point, you may be wondering about maintaining your privacy, as you may have concerns over making Bitcoin related transactions that involve any of your personally identifiable information. I'm going to share with you how I tried my best to remain as anonymous as reasonably possible. It occurred to me some time ago that interacting with the world in a private manner was difficult. One tool I have found to help preserve my privacy was establishing a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Having an LLC allows me keep my personal information off of public records, bank wires, shipping labels, and various communications. In the case of procuring this ASIC, I was cognizant of the possibility that in some variation of a world controlled by a totalitarian regime, hell-bent on eradicating Bitcoin as it poses the opportunity of freedom for the many and threatens the sovereignty of nation-states, it may be best if my name and residential address were not tied to an ASIC Bitcoin miner purchase. All of my communications with Blockware Solutions were done via Telegram and Protonmail, I wired money from my business bank account which doesn't use my personal name or address on payments, my LLC is registered with an agent who filed the forms with the Secretary of State on my behalf so that my personal information is not on the public record, and I arranged to have Blockware Solutions deliver the ASIC to my business P.O. Box.
I recommend considering your privacy and how it can be preserved. One other possible solution I explored was purchasing an Antminer S19 directly from Bitmain. Unfortunately, Bitmain requires a range of KYC information and that was an immediate red flag for me. Here is a screen shot of the email I received from Bitmain after creating an account with them:
I hope this section provided you with some good resources to get your ASIC hunt started. Between the day I committed to the decision to mine at home and the day I received my Whatsminer, 27 days had passed. Make sure you are planning ahead and not getting in a rush. This stuff takes time and haste makes waste. But while you're waiting, you have plenty to think about with the infrastructure you want to build.
Any serious Bitcoin mining equipment will require 240v AC electricity. So make sure you understand the specifications of the equipment you're buying and ensure that your home can handle the load. My home definitely was not capable of handling the load. The Whatsminer that I bought is rated for 3,600 Watts which calls for 15 amps at 240 volts. Hopefully your home is already capable of handling this kind of load. If not, take into careful consideration the rating of your main circuit breaker, the rating of the circuit breaker on your miner's specific circuit, the wire gauge on that circuit, the rating of the outlet socket, the rating of the connecting cable plug, the wire gauge of the connecting cable, and the rating of the connector plugging into your miner. If there are any weak links in that chain you may find out the hard way, which could result in damage to your ASIC or an electrical fire. It is better to ensure the entire circuit is over-rated.
Consider contacting your electrical utility provider to inquire about alternate meter rates. Upon request, many providers will give you a meter that charges less during off-peak hours to incentivize you to use your high consumption accessories during times of low grid demand. Each provider is different and has different rates but for example, the programs often look something like: $0.11/kWh from 14:00 - 18:00, $0.05/kWh 18:01 - 13:59. This could potentially help you reduce the average cost. Based on this example the reduced rate would lower the daily operating cost at 3,500 Watts and $0.12/kWh for 24 hours from $10.08 to $5.04.
This is a picture of the original electrical panel on the back of my house. I mean original like installed in the 1960's when the house was built. Aside from wanting to mine Bitcoin, my wife and I knew that we would need to upgrade this panel when we bought this house less than a year ago. We had actually taken some money left over from the home purchase, put it into bitcoin with the intention of selling it later specifically for these electrical upgrades. We wanted to update this panel and run a sub panel to the garage so my wife could create her art work and so that I could get a nice welder and some other tools. When we had the electrician bidding the job I asked how much extra it would be to run an additional 240v line to the basement to provide a single outlet 30 amp service. It was going to cost an extra $200 so we decided to include that addition to our project specifically for the mining equipment.
If you already have 240v available in your home, then you are ahead of the game. If you don't, you will need it and hiring a professional electrician to do the job may not be as expensive as you think. Or if you are a DIY'er, it may not be as difficult as you think, as you will soon see. If you do hire an electrician just know that scammers are not unique to the cryptocurrency space, scammers are everywhere so try to use the same kinds of precautions and street-smarts in dealing with people in real life as you would when dealing with people online. If any of the content in these images of the electrical panels looks foreign to you or it doesn't make sense, then do not attempt this at home, you will die, call a professional. Just make sure they are not a scammer.
This is how my hired electrician left my panel for me. Now, you may not be an electrician, neither am I, but I know enough to tell when something isn't right. Actually, I've worked with heavy equipment like hi-voltage diesel generators for longer than I'd like to admit so house wiring is pretty straight forward to me, I just don't have the certifications to call myself an electrician. In any case, everything in these pictures is wrong.
Here is what I found behind the meter, which explains why my lights would flicker and fade when running the washing machine and other appliances:
Your eyes do not deceive you, that is indeed a main neutral wire left disconnected by the hired electrician. When a house doesn't have a neutral, the accessories that run on 120v start causing an imbalance in the electrical system. This will typically result in dimming or flashing lights when running other appliances. But with enough imbalance this can cause damage to appliances, electrical fires, or worse. All the work that had been done on my electrical system needed to be re-done and it was left in a hazardous condition. Needless to say, things were not going very well between the electrician and I, so I decided to re-do and finish the work myself. The danger my family was put in and the top-dollar I was paying for amateur results was beyond unacceptable no matter the circumstances.
Here is the panel after I was finished with it, I'm not an electrician but it is better than before and safe. With the main panel properly put back together, I was able to safely run the new 240v line down to the basement room for the outlet.
I used a 30 amp circuit breaker to feed the circuit for the miner. This circuit was ran with 8 gauge wire from the main panel to the outlet. The outlet was terminated with a Nema 6-20L socket.
The miner is equipped with an IEC C19 plug, this means that it would be necessary to make a cable with a Nema 6-20L plug on one end and an IEC C19 socket on the other end. Finding a cable with thick enough wire gauge as to not create an electrical bottle-neck in this configuration was difficult. So I made my own cable with 3 conductor 14 AWG wire rated to 90°C, which should be able to handle enough amperage according to the chart below. This rewireable C-19 plug works great on the Whatsminers.
With the connecting cable made, I was ready to fire up the miner for the first time. But before plugging your ASIC, there are a few things you should looks for. Your ASIC will have had a long journey to get to you, during this journey it was probably rattled, shaken, and jolted quit a bit in transit. This means that things may have come loose or shifted. So you want to check and make sure the grills on the fans are not bent. Make sure the bus bars on the power supply are not touching. Shake the whole machine and listen for any rattles or loose sounding components. Remove the fans and look down the tube to make sure it looks clear. Check that the circuit boards and other harness connections are secured and oriented the right way. It may seem kind of weird to dissassemble a brand new machine that you just spent a lot of money on and waited a long time for. But if you find even one thing wrong, then you will be thanking yourself for taking the time to check. These machines are not complicated so fear not.
Here is a video of firing my machine up for the first time:
The first thing I noticed is that this miner runs hot and loud. This thing can produce 148°F at the output fan and screaming up to 100 dB. Immediately I knew that I was going to have to do something to address the noise and the heat. After about an hour in my room with the ASIC running I had gone deaf and the ambient temperature in the room was ~80°F.
I hope this section made you aware of what goes into this type of electrical infrastructure. If your home is equipped with the properly rated circuit to handle running an ASIC then you are ahead of the game. If you need to make electrical upgrades, consult a licensed professional. But don't let that stop you from reaching your goals.
The difficult thing about addressing a problem that is loud and hot is that thermal insulating materials and acoustic insulating materials typically have completely different properties. Where thermal insulation is usually light and fluffy with a thin layer of Mylar or foil on one side, sound will travel right through that with no problem. On the other hand, dense materials that will cause sound to bounce off or reflect and otherwise interrupt the sound pressure waves is typically really good at transferring heat.
Everyone's situation will be different; my situation is that I share my home with my wife and our small children. In fact, my kids' room is directly above where the miner was installed so I had no choice but to address the problems of heat and noise. If you have family, roommates, or close neighbors and you want to mine at home, you too will need to be resourceful and creative when addressing these problems.
Industrial settings can make as much noise and heat as they want, they have a totally different set of problems than those of us mining at home. Industrial miners usually have huge warehouses with hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of air, massive ventilation fans, cheaper electricity, and they are typically set far apart from residential areas. Home mining on the other hand, will typically need to have the highest hashrate possible to run as efficiently as possible since residential electricity is so expensive. This means lots of noise and lots of heat. It's important to understand that once you start mining at home, you will not be able to shy away from these problems, your family, roommates, or neighbors will not let you. So be prepared to come up with solutions to these problems that suit your unique situation.
My basic idea was to build an enclosure that would mitigate the noise and allow sufficient air flow to keep the ASIC cool. I wanted to take careful considerations in building the enclosure so that I didn't inadvertently make the problems worse. Even though I have worked in the mechanical trades my entire adult life, my formal education is in audio. Because of that background I know that square spaces with parallel surfaces can create standing waves, which can actually amplify certain noises if the dimensions of the space align with the wavelengths of the noise. I wanted to be careful not to do that and some of the best noise treatment solutions to that problem are to make sure none of the surfaces are parallel and to make sure that none of the dimensions match the wavelengths of the noise being treated.
To better understand what I was working with, I made a 12 minute audio recording of the ASIC running to give me an idea of the machine's basic noise profile. When displayed on a spectrogram, time runs along the X-axis, frequency runs along the Y-axis, and the amplitude of the frequency over time is displayed as brighter in color for higher volumes. The 2-channel, stereo recording looked like this:
This provides some information but not a lot of detail. It can be deduced that there is a relatively even spread of noise at medium amplitude across a wide range of frequency with a few bands of high amplitude constant noise at some particular frequencies displayed near the bottom of the graph as bright horizontal lines. Contrary to popular belief due in part to the CSI-Effect, one cannot simply zoom and enhance there way to clearer details. Below is what the spectrogram looks like when one simply zooms in. We can see that the loudest noise is a horizontal band between 600Hz and 800Hz but in terms of wavelength, that's a range of ~17" to ~23" in dimensions that will be excluded from the design of my enclosure.
In order to gain more detail from this information it is necessary to apply some audio clarification techniques to enhance those details to get a more precise understanding of what the problem is.
Since the lowest and brightest horizontal band is in between 600Hz and 800Hz and the other horizontal bands above it follow it's basic pattern, it is reasonable to deduce that we have a fundamental frequency with several harmonic frequencies appearing at higher ranges, this is a very common phenomenon with sound. This means that by addressing the root of the problem, the harmonic frequencies will naturally be mitigated as well. Thus I can ignore the higher frequency content by reducing recording's sample rate to only two times (Nyquist theorem) the fundamental frequency I'm interested in and apply a low-pass filter to get rid of frequencies above ~2kHz.
I know that only a few audio nerds reading this will follow that last part, but it basically means that the spectrogram now looks like this:
With a little more fine-tuning, one can zoom in and get the resulting precise frequency information needed to arrive at 720Hz. Which should have been obvious to me because it is a 12x multiple of 60Hz, the frequency at which power is being delivered to the ASIC.
720Hz is our culprit in this case, and that can also be confirmed by looking at the frequency on the X-axis and amplitude on the Y-axis.
Now the wave length of the problem frequencies can be calculated using the general variables of the properties of sound traveling at ~1,097 feet per second at ~72°F at an altitude of ~5,280 feet.
We get 1,097/720 = 1.52 feet or roughly 18-1/4". This means that any dimension in the enclosure that is 18.25", 9.125", 4.5625" or 36.5" will allow standing frequencies to occur that could actually amplify the 720 Hz noise. So I want to take these dimensions into careful consideration and avoid them when designing the enclosure.
The next consideration that needs to be made is what materials to make the enclosure out of. Typically with noise treatment, the idea is to use different materials that will have different effects on the sound waves. I chose to use 1/2" Maximum Density Fiber (MDF) for the inside of the enclosure and 1/2" plywood for the outside of the enclosure. Then I separated the two layers with a 1/2" air gap. This way, the noise would have to travel through the MDF which based on it's density would effect the sound pressure waves in a certain way, then travel through a gap of dead air which would effect the sound pressure waves a different way, and finally through the plywood which would have yet another effect on the sound pressure waves.
I purposely designed the enclosure so that it was out of square. Shorter and thinner on the input side; taller and wider on the output side. Keeping the surfaces un-parallel helps mitigate the possibility of standing waves.
I used 6" duct collars for the inlet & outlet. The fans on the ASIC had a 5.5" diameter so maintaining 6" ducting will ensure there is no restriction in air flow through the ASIC.
In order to mitigate the amount of dust and debris getting in the circuit boards of the ASIC, I installed a furnace element on the inlet side of the enclosure. On the outlet side of the enclosure I used another tool in noise treatment called a diffuser. Diffusers are purposely made of uneven material so that the sound waves don't have smooth, flat surfaces to reflect off of and bounce around all willy-nilly. I made this diffuser out of 1/2" pine square stock cut to random lengths.
My original idea was to use several small canvas bags filled with sand to pack around the ASIC machine inside of the enclosure. My logic was that this would prevent the air from going around the ASIC tube when it should be forced through the tube and also that the sand bags would add another layer of dense material to help with the noise treatment.
Additionally, I would need to get the power and Ethernet cables to the ASIC somehow. For this, I ordered a panel-mount adaptor for an IEC C19 plug and a panel-mount Ethernet coupling.
Unfortunately, the sand bags had a negative effect on the ASICS ability to expel heat. The sand bags not only prevented air from cooling the body of the machine but they trapped heat inside the machine. I had to remove the sand bags after the machine reset itself a couple times due to over heating. The sand bags did make a difference on the sound, so I lost a little bit of noise reduction by removing them but over heating the machine was not an option.
Once finished and installed, my total noise reduction was about 10dB, which isn't as much as I was hoping for but it certainly does make a difference. Technically, a 10dB reduction is perceived by humans as being half as loud as the original un-treated noise, so I'm being hard on myself, it is pretty damn good. I can stand in my kids' room directly above where the machine is installed and I have to really focus to hear the dull hum of the ASIC mining away in the basement. We can sit in the family room downstairs next to the room where the ASIC is installed and enjoy movies or talking without any distraction or interruption from the mining rig. From outside the room that the miner is running, the home's central air system is louder when the furnace is running, completely masking the low mining noise. I am totally content with the noise levels now.
I hope this section revealed to you how loud an ASIC can be and what it means when introducing that kind of power into your living space. I tried to come up with functional and simple solutions to address the noise and I'm happy with the way things turned out. Think outside the box and you can solve any problems that you may encounter while mining at home for non-KYC bitcoin.
There are a few options when it comes to keeping your ASIC's circuit boards cool; water-cooled blocks, oil submersion, and air flow are a few common ones. In this guide I'll be sticking with the stock air-cooled method as the machine was manufactured for. Keeping the circuit boards cool is of critical importance, overheating will cause increased down-time, decreased hashrate, and more expense in replacement parts. The fans do a good enough job keeping the machine cool but the trade off is that they are loud and they produce a lot of atmospheric heat. You may find some clever uses for the excess heat produced by your ASIC such as supplementing your home's central heating system. For the sake of getting this project moving along I chose to just duct the exhaust air outside to atmosphere. I may attempt to find a better use for it in the future.
The fan diameter on this particular ASIC is 5.5", so in designing the ventilation system, I wanted to be sure that there was no restriction or bottle-neck in air flow bringing fresh air to the machine or exhausting hot air away from the machine.
For this reason I went with a 6" diameter duct opening on both sides of the noise treatment enclosure. I also made sure that the center of the fans on both side of the ASIC were aligned with the center of the input and output vents in the enclosure.
In order to bring in fresh air and exhaust hot air, I was going to need to utilize the window in the room to do so. This is a basement room so the window is in a window well. First I removed the plastic guard from over the window well, pulled out all the weeds, and removed the loose dirt.
Next, in order to prevent dust from being sucked into the air intake vent, I put down three layers of 6mil plastic and then put a layer of small rocks on top of the plastic. This should also help prevent more weeds from growing in the window well. After that, I removed the window entirely and then cut out a piece of plywood to take it's place. Then I cut two 6" holes in the plywood so that I could run the intake and exhaust vents. From the inside of the room, I framed in the plywood to make it sturdy.
For the exhaust vent, I ran an extension vertically to help keep the heat away from the intake vent. I put a weather guard cap on the top of the extension to help keep snow and squirrels and whatever else out of the duct work. After installing the vents, I placed some rocks around the window well to finish it off.
On the inside of the room, I ran the inlet ducting in standard non-insulated flexible tubing. For the exhaust side, I ran it in insulated flexible ducting to help prevent radiant heat from warming up the inlet line and also to help keep the room from accumulating heat.
After getting the enclosure connected to the duct work and running the ASIC, I was having trouble with the machine resetting every 15 - 20 minutes. The mining software was indicating that the fault was related to overheating. I realized that part of the issue was the sand bags not allowing air to flow around the body of the ASIC. But even after removing the sand bags, I was still getting overheating faults. It dawned on me that the fans on the ASIC were powerful but not powerful enough to fill a 20 foot run of 6" duct work with enough pressure to adequately push the hot air away from the ASIC fast enough. For this reason, I went to a hydroponic gardening center and purchased an in-line 6" hi-velocity fan to help evacuate that hot air. This fixed the problem immediately.
I hope this section got you thinking about cooling options and the potential issues you may face when setting up an ASIC in your home. Be creative and remember that those who ask permission seek denial.
Now that the electrical is ready, the noise treatment enclosure is ready, and the ventilation is ready; The long awaited process of producing my own non-KYC bitcoin can start.
Connecting to a pool:
After all that hard work getting the necessary infrastructure installed, prepared, and tested; it's time to kick the tires and light the fires! The actual configuration of connecting the miner to a pool was by far the easiest part of all this. I was really surprised by how simple and straight forward it was. When I built my first Bitcoin full node on a Raspberry Pi, it took me 2 months to get it working. I have this incredible ability to turn any seemingly simple project into a bee's hive of problems. But truly, this was easy.
There are two ways to connect to your miner, the Whatsminer Tool or just using a web browser on your local network. In hindsight, I found using the web browser has become my preferred method.
Step 1: There needs to be a way to interface with the ASIC machine so that important information like hash rate and temperature can be monitored. The interface also allows the user to configure other important settings like which pool to point to. Download the Whatsminer software tool onto your PC. This can be found here. I downloaded the WhatsMinerTool-6.0.27.zip. Make sure you check the manufacturer's website for the latest interface tool if this is the method you have chosen. If you have a different ASIC brand, then you will probably need to do something similar to get the interface specific to your machine from the manufacturer or just use a web browser.
Step 2: After unzipping, running the installation, and launch the application; simply click on "Start". This will tell the software to scan your homes local network for any ASIC's, so make sure your ASIC is powered on prior to starting the software. It will probably be necessary to push the "IP Found" button on the back of the ASIC which will make it discoverable.
Once discovered, the information related to the ASIC will be displayed in the software, it's simply displayed like cells in a spreadsheet. This is where you can find all sorts of data on your ASIC such as Status, hashrate, temperature, local IP address, Watt consumption, and more. The "Start" button will turn to "Monitoring" once clicked.
Alternatively, if you are using the web browser interface method then you can log into your router on your local network and navigate to the DCHP settings to find the local IP address for all the devices on your network. Then you can take that IP address for your Whatsminer (or other ASIC) and type it into the URL bar in your web browser. For Whatsminers, the default username/password should be admin/admin or admin/1234. Be sure to check the documentation from your ASIC manufacturer for the correct credentials. Once logged in, I recommend updating the password from the default to something difficult to guess. Log out and back in again to double check that the changes have taken effect.
Step 3: Set up an account with a pool of your choice. Only Slush Pool will be covered here, which is the only pool I have personally tried so far, here is a link to their website. @Crazyk_031 recommended Slush Pool to me to start with. Once researching more into how it worked, I liked that there was a mobile app available to monitor the ASIC while on the go; the fee structure seemed fair in that block subsidy rewards plus mining fees from the transactions included in the rewarded block were disbursed to miners based on an average of hash power they contributed minus the 2% pool fee. And I also like the web interface. Additionally, SlushPool is not part of the Bitcoin Mining Council, which I think is a benefit and SlushPool has consistently acted in a manner that is more aligned with my personal opinions. SlushPool supported small blocks during the 2017 Block Wars and they were also the first pool to signal for Taproot activation. SlushPool also pushes development of the custom firmware, Braiins.
I'm also signed up on the waitlist with @laurentiapool so that when it launches I can try this one too. Unfortunately, something in the software with Laurentia Pool will not work with Antminers, so if you have one, you will not be able to mine with Laurentia. But the cool thing about a project like Laurentia is that the mining rewards are paid out directly from the coinbase to the mining operator. This means that the pool operator's wallet does not receive and hold the rewards prior to the 100 block confirmation. Mining operators with Laurentia Pool will still need to wait the 100 block confirmation period for their rewards to be spendable. The bigger picture here is that when KYC creep eventually starts effecting the way pool operators interact with mining operators and also effecting the information required to be collected; then projects like Laurentia Pool will provide a way to route around these kinds of choke points since the mining rewards are paid directly from coinbase to the mining operator.
There are only two things needed to create the Slush Pool account: an email address and a Bitcoin address for the rewards to be deposited to. I would recommend to use an email address with no personally identifying information and to use a Bitcoin address that is not tied to any KYC information and that is completely segregated from any KYC'd funds you might have. I also recommend updating the Bitcoin address in between each payout so that you are not reusing it. As well as randomizing the payout amount each time to avoid patterns that could be used against you later. Then use Samourai Wallet's CoinJoin implementation, Whirlpool to break the deterministic links from the payout UTXO's and their origin at Slush Pool's wallet. In the near future we will see mining pools that require mining operators to KYC themselves in an attempt to create a white-market Bitcoin ecosystem that rejects transactions from black-listed addresses. I think that's a bunch of bullshit that will not end well for those who try to force legacy system regulations into Bitcoin. Anyways, I digress, once an account is set up, the dashboard has helpful charts so that the performance of the miner can be monitored.
This is what the dashboard looks like once logged into Slush Pool, it prominently displays your ASIC's current hashrate, health, and your rewards. This snap shot was taken after running my ASIC for a total of 92 hours. I'll come back to this image and explain the operating costs/rewards in the next section.
There is also a cool graph that displays your active machines with the green line, your machine's scoring hash rate with the yellow line, and your machine's calculated share hash rate with the blue line. As an aside, coincidentally, the sharp dip around 10:30 am was actually when the electrical utility company replaced my old meter that charges $0.12/kWh 24-hours a day with my new meter that charges less during off-peak hours.
That's a quick tour of the dashboard, Slush Pool also has a Demo Account feature where you can simulate running your own miner to see how everything works. Once you have your account all set up and you're familiar with the dashboard the miner can be pointed at Slush Pool.
Be sure to navigate to the Rewards section in your SlushPool dashboard and configure your bitcoin deposit address and payout threshold. This particular change will require email verification to take effect.
Another consideration in pool selection can be overall network hashrate distribution. If one pool gets too much hashrate it could raise concerns of a 51% attack. Not that I think we'll ever see a 51% attack, I'm just saying that's the idea behind keeping the network hash power distributed.
Step 4: Back in the Whatsminer software screen, click on the "Pools" button, this will display some dialog boxes where you can copy and paste the URL provided by your mining pool.
Slush Pool offers V2 URL's to help make information transfer more efficient and encrypted to prevent MITM attacks and hashrate hijacking. The standard V1 URL's can also be used. A list of Slush Pool's V2 URL's can be found here. More in-depth information on Stratum V2 details can be found here and here. Make sure you enable any changes in the mining software configurations by saving them. Or in the case of the Whatsminer software by clicking on "Start Update".
Alternatively, if using the web browser interface then once you have your SlushPool account setup, you can copy/paste the pool URL found from the dashboard settings to your miner configuration page that you logged into through your web browser on your local network. Make sure to hit save after each change. If you change one parameter and move on to the next without hitting save first, then those changes will be lost. I recommend using a Stratum v1 URL unless you are running the Braiins Firmware. Also, use a URL that is more geographically aligned with your location, for example if you are in the US then use the "stratum+tcp://us-east.stratum.slushpool.com:3333" URL. After you have saved that URL then you need to update your worker name to reflect your SlushPool username. So this would look like "econoalchemist.worker1" for example. Then save that change. Next, the password used here can be anything and doesn't effect security, it could be "1234" if you wanted, it is just a way to prevent spam. Then save that change. You should have three fields in the configuration page where you can specify different pool URLs, personally I used this to store backup pool URLs in case a SlushPool server goes down, that way I have a redundant secondary pool URL and a tertiary one as well to help mitigate any downtime on my end. For example, my primary URL is the US East Coast one, then the Canadian one, then the General one.
Once you have made all your modifications to the configuration page and saved them, then you must reboot your ASIC in order for the changes to take effect. Be patient and give your miner at least 30 minutes to get spun up to full hashing power and start reporting to the pool. Make sure you are also logged into your SlushPool dashboard so you can monitor the status of things from the pool's side as well as logged into your miner web browser interface to compare the status of things on your local side.
And that's it, the ASIC is now pointed to Slush Pool and generating bitcoin rewards! The health and configurations of the miner can be viewed through the Whatsminer software tool or through your web browser. And pool specific details can be monitored from the Slush Pool dashboard.
Just to recap:
1) Install the miner software.
2) Find the ASIC's local IP address.
3) Create an account with a pool.
4) Copy/paste the pool's URL into the mining software or web browser interface.
The numbers don't lie, so let's look at some real data and see if mining at home can be profitable. My basic idea for mining at home for non-KYC bitcoin is that I'm dollar cost averaging through my electric bill. I fully intend on keeping the bitcoin rewards I earn from mining as opposed to selling the bitcoin to cover my costs.
Because the bitcoin earned through mining rewards is non-KYC, I would be willing to pay a premium. Meaning that if my electrical costs were more than the value of the earned bitcoin, I would be willing to continue operating this way until a certain point. What percentage premium you would be willing to pay depends on your unique situation.
But as you'll see, I'm not paying a premium. I'm actually getting bitcoin at a discounted rate by mining at home. This is counter-intuitive to the narratives that I assumed were true. Such as:
"residential electrical costs are too high to profitably mine at home"
"you can't compete with industrial mining operations"
"it would be better to just spend the money on a bitcoin exchange instead of the electricity"
Through my experience, I have found none of those narratives to be true. In fact, I have found the opposite to be true. KYC bitcoin is more expensive than non-KYC bitcoin and mining at home can be even cheaper than buying bitcoin through non-KYC exchanges.
First and foremost, providing KYC information to trusted third parties exposes the user to unnecessary security vulnerabilities like we witnessed in the Ledger data-breach, imagine if the data at CoinBase was miss handled in some way... oh wait, they contract their services out to the IRS and DEA among other government agencies around the world, so never mind, they totally fuck your data. Putting a price on that is difficult to quantify but it is a price I am not willing to pay. Additionally, when the sovereignty of a nation-state is threatened, the ruling government will stop at nothing to mitigate the threat. People cheering on Bitcoin regulations because they think it will drive mass-adoption as if as though Bitcoin is some kind of Trojan horse that will do more damage from inside the system, are helping build a cage around the people using Bitcoin. The legacy system is broken, it has failed, central banks are rotting carcasses that have sustained parasitic scavengers for far too long; trying to force the old system into the new will only harm the end users. For every pro-KYC regulation or requirement or rule that is created another group of Bitcoiners are cornered because they didn't understand the danger of connecting their name and their Bitcoin address.
On the other hand, Having non-KYC bitcoin that is not traceable to your identity; that is native to a decentralized, permissionless, censorship-resistant protocol, that cannot be stopped by any person, company, or government - that's powerful. That is the kind of power that is worth fighting for. It's freedom from living by someone else's rules, it's freedom from appealing to authority, it's freedom from being forced to live in this world through the lens of some oppressive fucker that doesn't give a shit about you or your family. You take control of your bitcoin and nobody gets to tell you "no" ever again, you're in charge & you make the rules.
That's all I'm going to say about the dangers of KYC and the benefits of non-KYC for now. But there is more that goes into the cost of KYC bitcoin that makes non-KYC bitcoin more affordable, there are actual financial costs. Take CoinBase for example, the information below can be found on their website here.
With CoinBase not only will you expose yourself to the security risks of a third party having your personally identifying information and be sacrificing your freedoms, but you will also be paying fees:
Want to wire USD to CoinBase? $10.00 flat fee plus your bank's wire fee.
Want to deposit USD with a debit or credit card? The greater of either a flat rate ($2.99 above $100 USD) or a variable percentage which is 4% unless you qualify for a waiver.
Want to use that USD to buy bitcoin? 0.5% spread fee.
Let's look at an example: Alice wants to buy 0.125 BTC, so does Bob. Alice decides to use CoinBase and Bob decides to use Bisq.
Alice spent $166.93 more than Bob, or a 4.4% premium on top of loosing her freedom and privacy.
I'm making a broad assumption here that Bob was able to make his Bisq trade in parity with the USD/BTC spot price. In my personal experience with Bisq, that is a very reasonable assumption. Additionally, if Alice ever cashes out that bitcoin there will be an instant 25% capital gains tax imposed. Maybe Alice can offset some of the tax burden with deductions, allowances, or charitable contributions when filing her taxes. But the statutory capital gains tax rate stands at 25% for the vast majority of citizens in the United States.
Even if Alice doesn't sell, her personally identifying information is now tied to that BTC. If the government wants to impose an unrealized capital gains tax or a 6102 style executive order, she will be liable. Boating accident, you say? Bullshit, that will only permanently freeze the BTC in Alice's address and that's a best-case scenario assuming she took preventative self-custody measures and removed the BTC off of CoinBase, otherwise it would have been confiscated without her consent by that point. If Alice claimed boating accident in the face of a 6102 order and that BTC ever moved, then, well straight to jail. What about CoinJoin, you say? Bullshit, breaking the deterministic links between Alice's known address and post-mix address will only create the technicality that the government cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Alice is still in possession of that BTC. That does not mean she will be absolved of her liabilities for what she previously provably owned. Furthermore, Alice cannot technically prove that she doesn't own that BTC anymore either after she mixes it. Have you ever had a photo-radar speeding ticket? Have you ever tried to fight one? I mean, technically they can't prove it was you behind the wheel but are you still liable? Did the fact that they couldn't technically prove you were driving the vehicle at the time of the violation absolve you of the fines associated with that violation? Alice's best option was to never KYC in the first place. Her second best option is to provably sell the BTC the same way she bought it and then find a non-KYC on-ramp to get back into Bitcoin.
Lets continue with the data from the example above and see how much it would cost to mine 0.125 non-KYC bitcoin at home with my setup. We already saw that non-KYC can be less expensive than KYC bitcoin, but can mining at home for non-KYC bitcoin be even less expensive than that?
The screenshot of my Slush Pool dashboard above was taken after running my Whatsminer for 4 days 17 hours. The unconfirmed rewards are as good as mine, but technically there needs to be a certain number of block confirmations before they are confirmed as mine. I am going to include them in my total mining rewards for the 4 days 17 hours my miner has been active. The 2% pool fee is already subtracted from my rewards, so what I see is what I get.
Let's unpack this information:
4 days 17 hours is a total of 113 hours.
0.00198729 confirmed BTC + 0.00045225 unconfirmed BTC = 0.00243954 total BTC.
0.00243954 / 113 = 0.0000215 BTC per hour
0.125 / 0.0000215 = 5,814 hours
5,814 / 24 = 242 days
242 days = 7 months 3 weeks to mine the same 0.125 BTC amount that Alice & Bob bought.
Now that the amount of time has been calculated, the cost to mine can be calculated since my electrical costs and miner consumption are known.
$0.12/kWh x 3.4kW = $0.408 per hour to run the miner.
0.408 x 5,814 = $2,372.11 to mine 0.125 BTC that cost Bob $3,797.54.
Bob spent $1,425.43 more than me, or a 60% premium for 0.125 BTC.
Bob got his BTC all at once where it took me 7 months 3 weeks, so urgency may have it's price.