Want to Build a Bitcoin Mining Rig? Compass Mining Now Sells Single ASICs.

Single application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) bitcoin mining rigs can now be purchased individually, rather than in bulk.

AccessTimeIconSep 21, 2021 at 5:25 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 7:08 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin mining began as a cottage industry with individual miners able to mine Bitcoin on a laptop. Over the years, the technology became more specialized and sophisticated, with large facilities taking over the industry.

But with the launch of its at-home mining program, Compass Mining is betting that individual bitcoiners will want to mine bitcoin once again.

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  • Bitcoin miners play a key role in securing the Bitcoin blockchain. They compete for the right to compile transactions in new blocks and add them to the chain. In return, successful miners are rewarded with newly minted bitcoin (6.25 BTC) as well as the fees included with each transaction in that block. That’s a lucrative payout – if you’re lucky enough to find a block. But the cost of setting up and operating a bitcoin mining rig can certainly cut into your profits. And typically the price has been prohibitively high for the average at-home miner.

    Compass’ new retail program will allow individuals to buy a single application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) bitcoin mining rig that they can set up at home, rather than having to buy them in bulk from the manufacturers. Brands include the WhatsMiner series from MicroBT and the Antminer series from Bitmain, offering 78 to 95 terahashes per second and ranging in price from $8,100 to $10,400.

    “Bitmain and MicroBT make top-of-the-line ASIC mining hardware with the most powerful hashrate and best energy efficiency,” said Thomas Heller, Compass Mining’s chief business officer, adding:

    “Bitcoin was started by home miners and now we are seeing a renaissance of home mining.”

    Support for at-home bitcoin miners

    Just because you are running your own machine, it doesn’t mean that you’re totally on your own. All rigs can still be plugged into a mining pool, meaning that any rewards found by your pool will be shared with you in proportion to the hashrate you contribute. Joining a pool can improve your return on investment (ROI).

    Profitability calculators, such as the one found on Braiins, can help you estimate your potential ROI, once you factor in the cost of the equipment and electricity it takes to run your rig.

    Compass will offer its concierge support, already in place for its hosted rigs, to its at-home mining customers. There is also an active Discord community of mining enthusiasts who can help with troubleshooting and offer advice.

    According to Compass Mining CEO Whit Gibbs, Compass offers “a large archive of education materials for miners looking to learn more about mining conceptually and the basics of how to start mining at home.”

    Pros and cons of mining bitcoin at home

    Mining bitcoin has the potential to be lucrative, plus there is the fact that, as an at-home miner, you are contributing to the decentralization and security of the bitcoin network.

    Practically speaking, however, if you are considering mining bitcoin at home, you will want to keep in mind that rigs are loud and hot. About the size of a desktop computer tower, they can emit between 50 and 75 decibels of noise, which is roughly the same level as a vacuum cleaner or a hairdryer.

    As for the heat, some bitcoin miners have been able to use that excess to their advantage, especially in colder climates. But condo-dwellers in the southern U.S. may want to consider the effect running a miner could have on their comfort.

    Mining on the rise in North America

    The demand for mining hosting sites in North America has been outstripping supply. Encouraging bitcoin enthusiasts to set up their own operations at home is one way to relieve the pressure on existing hosting infrastructures.

    Bitcoin miners in the U.S. and Canada have enjoyed a windfall since the State Council of China called for local authorities to crack down on crypto mining in May. The crackdown nearly halved the mining difficulty for the entire Bitcoin network. Miners outside China have been able to mine more bitcoin given the record low mining difficulty, raking in high revenue.

    However, large self-mining companies, such as Marathon and Riot, as well as third-party hosting sites, are facing a shortage in infrastructure to support more mining operations. In the meantime, bitcoin’s recent bull run and relatively low rigs prices are pushing the profit margins for bitcoin mining higher.

    Against that backdrop, some individual bitcoin miners are buying mining machines either from Chinese miners or from mining machine manufacturers through e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and eBay and setting up the machines in their houses.

    Individual mining rigs from Compass are expected to deliver within two to three weeks. Online ordering is available to U.S. customers via the company website; international orders can be placed by contacting a sales rep through the website and requesting a manual invoice.


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    Christie Harkin

    Christie Harkin is CoinDesk's managing editor of technology. She holds some bitcoin and non-material amounts of other crypto tokens.

    David Pan

    David Pan was a news reporter at CoinDesk with a focus on China.