Is it too late for bitcoin cloud-mining to be profitable?

I arrived late to the bitcoin scene, in the sense that I acquired my first 1BTC around a month ago. The reasons are purely logistical, as I’ve been an enthusiastic admirer of the technology and a believer in its disruptive potential and well earned reputation since the BTC/USD exchange rate was a few cents. Since then, I’ve been looking for ways to increase and reinvest that amount (irrespective how minuscule). On the one hand, I will get myself familiarized with the services available in the market today, on the other I will be able to increase my stash. Cloud-Mining caught my attention.

Due Diligence

Usually, before any commitment, it’s a good idea to research, thoroughly, the available options in the market. Drawing comparisons between the available services, which is better, which is a scam, which is profitable, which is less costly. Given my lack of experience in the mining domain, in the sense that, I did not have a full grasp of the fundamental calculations of mining profitability (even with the plethora of profit calculators around) I decided to give bit-miner.com a shot. There were many alternative services (Cloud Hashing, CEX.io, Genesis-Mining etc…). Bit Miner was most suitable as it did not require any form of verification. The service does look shady and doesn’t portray trustworthiness, but what the heck, I decided to invest.

The Investment

After signing-up, I bought a total of 30 shares, from the asset that was available – a rig of 10 AntMiner S4 with a total performance of 20,000GH/s – for an investment value of 322$ (payment charges included: ~25USD) for 9.90$ a share (maintenance costs included). In other words, I bought 300GH/s hashrate. The service distributes dividends twice per month for the value of ~0.00128193 BTC per share (this value varies every month based on the number of blocks mined).

Let’s do the Math

I developed a small spreadsheet in order to estimate my profits after a certain investment period. Here’s a screenshot of the calculations and here’s a link for the Google Spreadsheet in case anyone wants to fiddle with the numbers : Profit Spreadsheet

Cloud-Mining Profit Sheet

Given the investment above, this service will put in my balance a total of ~0.0807714 BTC per month. Assuming the BTC/USD exchange rate is fixed at 255USD this means I will generate a revenue (not profit) of 20.59USD per month.

Now, let’s also assume my investment will span between February 2015 and December 2016, I will break even on June 2016 and make profit of the value of 17.35USD if the BTC/USD exchange rate is still fixed at 255USD.

There are 3 ways this situation could evolve (from today; the investment date):

  1. Best Case Scenario: The BTC/USD rate will increase and I will break even sooner and actually make more profit. For this profit to be substantial the rate should double if not triple (highly unlikely).
  2. Normal Case: If the BTC/USD rate is still the same, by the end of this investment period, I would have generated 1.815 BTC for a cost of 322USD i.e. a profit of ~140USD (exch. rate BTC/USD 255USD)
  3. Worse Case: The BTC/USD rate will drop and eventually I will be at a loss. Or, the service owners will decide it is not profitable for them anymore (given the increase of the difficulty factor) and they will sell the hardware and distribute the returns based on the number of shares owned. The catch is that this hardware deprecates quickly and everyone will be at a loss by the time the owners decide to sell.

Before concluding, it’s important to note that the Dividends per Share value is likely to decrease with time as it is inversely proportional to the Bitcoin Difficulty value.

Edit: I enhanced the spreadsheet to take into consideration the mining difficulty. These are projections and not accurate numbers, and while this addition did not change the outcome in a substantial manner, it makes the calculations slightly more accurate.

Conclusion

All in all, this is not so bad for anyone, with a few hundred dollars to spare, who wants to experiment and get involved in the bitcoin scene. But this is far from being profitable, irrespective of the value of the initial investment! If the goal is to make profit then one should look for other ways to procure/invest in bitcoins that are cheaper and faster (if any).

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