As the price of bitcoin has soared, so too has the energy and computing power required to mine it. The world's most popular cryptocurrency by market cap is now most often mined by collectives or large-scale operations running multiple rigs. (See also: GPU Usage in Cryptocurrency Mining.)
Many individual miners have found that the cost of building a computing rig powerful enough to keep up in the process is simply unfeasible. Nonetheless, some areas have emerged as mining hubs for various cryptocurrencies, thanks in large part to available space and the cost of electricity.
Now, one recent study, cited by bitcoin.com, aimed to determine just how much it costs to mine for bitcoin around the world. (See also: China May Curb Electricity for Bitcoin Miners.
Mining Costs Vary Dramatically
Elitefixtures.com conducted the study, basing its calculations on average electricity rates for 115 countries sourced from government data, as well as on estimates of the amount of time it would take to mine for a single BTC based on difficulty levels during January of 2018. The results showed that, depending upon where the mining happened, the total cost of mining for one bitcoin might vary dramatically.
At the lower end of the spectrum were countries like Trinidad and Tobago ($1,190 to mine one BTC), Kuwait ($1,983), Belarus ($2,177), and Bangladesh ($2,379). Given that the price of bitcoin was significantly higher than this rate throughout January of 2018, one might expect to be able to earn a profit off of bitcoin mining in countries such as these.
At the opposite end of the spectrum were countries like Belgium ($13,482), Cook Islands ($15,861), Marshall Islands ($14,751), and South Korea ($26,170). The United States was $4,758, the U.K. was $8,402, and cryptocurrency mining hub China was just $3,172.
(Image: Elite Fixtures)
Islands and South Korea
Many island nations have a high cost associated with mining for bitcoin, likely because of associated high costs of electricity in those areas. South Korea is the country with the highest cost, however. The cheapest country for mining BTC was Venezuela (just $531 per coin).
The United States is the 41st-cheapest country for bitcoin mining, falling just behind Russia. However, within the United States, the price associated with mining varies from state to state. Louisiana is the cheapest state, with a cost of $3,224. Hawaii, on the other hand, has a cost of $9,483 per coin.
In sum, the report shows that there are areas of the world that are absolutely favorable for mining bitcoin, as well as other areas where the practice is likely not sustainable at all. (See also: Do Bitcoin Mining Energy Costs Influence Its Price?)
Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns bitcoin and ripple.