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In 2015, Roberto, a 54-year-old Venezuelan engineer, began to hear that he could generate his own bitcoins by mining cryptocurrency. It wasn’t something he was passionate about, but the situation in his country and low wages prompted the need to search out new opportunities online.
At first, crypto mining was something he didn’t quite understand. All he knew was that it needed computers, a stable Internet connection, and electricity. As he researched, he began to understand the technical aspect and the philosophical principle of mining, which aroused even more interest.
His setup is a Rig with 5 video cards that is part of the NiceHash mining pool. He’s somewhere in Venezuela where power outages and Internet instability can be an issue. To make a little more money, Roberto spends 6 to 8 hours a day performing tasks on services like Hive.
Below, we present Roberto’s testimony reviewed by Criptonoticias in which he describes how Bitcoin (BTC) helps him survive despite the country’s crisis.
“When I became interested, the price of BTC was $700. Everything indicated at the time that it would continue to rise and it did. I could not keep cryptocurrencies because of economic necessity, as I had to move the funds constantly. I remember that the avant-garde dedicated equipment was the Antminer S7, which could cost up to $2,500.
“The first steps in mining were taken with Minergate and altcoins. I used about 5 mid-range computers and the maximum I could make was about 20 dollars a month at the time. One of the most popular coins, which I mined, was Monero (XMR). Then I switched to video cards because they were much more profitable. That’s how I bought an Ati Radeon HD 7950 3gb Ddr5, which increased the mining capacity from 50 h/s to 500 h/sec.”
Unlike computers, GPUs are multialgorithm, but performance can vary depending on what you use. NiceHash changes the mining algorithm depending on the profitability of the moment. For example, you can go from Cryptonight to Equihash or vice versa.
“Once I knew how to manipulate console miners like Claymore, Sgminer or Etherminer, things changed. Also, cryptocurrencies went up in price in 2016, that allowed me to form a mining Rig with 6 Ati HD 9750 cards, which then generated about $300 a month. Seeing that I was doing well, I quit my office job because my salary would not even allow me to buy a box of cigarettes.”
The outlook changed radically after the fall of bitcoin and altcoins. Another important technical aspect was the arrival of ASIC equipment. The manufacturer Bitmain introduced the equipment D3 (x11) of Dash, E3 (Dagger Hashimoto) of Ethereum, X3 (Cryptonight) for Monero, Bytecoin and finally the Z9 and Z9 mini (Equihash) for Zcash, which produced the fall of mining with GPU.
Correction In The Market
Today things are different in every way. Bitcoin was worth $20,000 last year, then dropped to $6,000. The situation of the country has also deteriorated a lot and mining difficulty has increased.
“I survive the crisis with a Rig and 70 dollars a month. I also have an old Antminer S7, but you could say that the GPU equipment, which generated 300 dollars a month, now only produces 40 dollars.
“To have a reference, my current Rig in Equihash can give a mining force of 1,100 sols (hash/s), which currently represents 38 dollars to 40 dollars a month, depending on the value of Zcash and BTC at the time of conversion and collection.
“Everything is more difficult when the power goes out or there is no Internet connection. These failures make you lose more than 30% of your day’s work. That’s not to mention the risk of equipment damage when there are voltage variations. Replacing a mining machine is almost impossible today. The power consumption of the Rig is like having a 12,000 BTU air conditioner on all day. What I earn can be enough to support 2 people, and no more.”
Cryptocurrency price is notoriously volatile. With such a small market cap, Roberto believes that traders and holders benefit the most and that mining is declining because new equipment can centralize mining power.
“That’s why now I’m also dedicating time to trading. Nervousness is not worth it here. You have to be cold because the crypto market oscillates a lot. I am in favor of trading with low cryptos, they are easier to handle”.
Electricity Grid and Pursuit
Venezuelan miners have been blamed for the electrical failures in the country. Roberto does not agree.
“Before in any house, you could have up to 3 or 4 air conditioners and there was no problem with electricity. There might be other reasons, but it is not the mining of cryptocurrencies.”
More and more is being heard about the persecution of miners by police authorities, raids and confiscation of equipment.
“Here (in Venezuela) a Superintendency of Cryptoassets was created, a census of miners was made, support was offered and certificates were issued for those of us who registered. I have mine and even so, that’s no guarantee, they can come and take the machines. What’s the background to all this?
“There’s no fear anymore because we have almost nothing. What we small miners produce is not enough for us to live on. If things improve, I plan to buy an Antminer Z9 mini, but if mining becomes more complicated than it already is, then I will dedicate myself only to trading.”
Bitcoin is growing in Venezuela and in many other places because it provides autonomy, where each user becomes their own bank.
“It has worked for me and it will continue to work for me because all this is anti-system, no authority, and no public organism can control it. When one of us falls somewhere, thousands rise up.”