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How Long Does it Take to Mine 1 Bitcoin? | BTC Mining Guide [2022]


This guide discusses the intricacies of Bitcoin mining. Specifically, it delves into the process of creating new BTC coins, what one needs to start mining, and factors to consider when calculating how long it will take to mine at least one BTC. Additionally, the guide offers a simple step-by-step process to start mining Bitcoin.

How does Bitcoin mining work?

Bitcoin (BTC) mining is the process in which new BTC coins are introduced into circulation to reward those who participate in securing the network and confirming transactions. Anyone can mine Bitcoin as it is a decentralized blockchain network, but very few are currently involved in the activity owing to the huge initial investment cost.

When Bitcoin was introduced to the world in 2008 by the pseudonymous individual(s) Satoshi Nakamoto, it heralded a new type of technology called the blockchain. The blockchain is a chronological series of interconnected blocks, each holding a limited number of transactions processed within a given period.

These blocks are cryptographically linked and created through a competitive process involving miners. Miners are hardware devices running remotely, tasked with validating and confirming transactions.

Once the transactions are confirmed, they are thus added to a block created by one of the miners. The miner is selected following a competition to solve an arbitrary computational puzzle. The first one to solve the challenge gets the chance to create the next block and add it to the chain.

As a reward, the miner is given a ‘subsidy’ in the form of new coins whose issuance is programmed to reduce by half approximately every four years. Currently, that reward is 6.25 BTC. When Bitcoin launched in 2009, that figure stood at 50 coins.

Decentralized networks require a consensus mechanism to ensure that nodes within the network easily communicate with each other to maintain an accurate record of the blockchain. In the case of Bitcoin, it uses the Proof-of-Work (PoW) mechanism, which also used to be the case for Ethereum mining, however, as of 2022, Ethereum moved to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) method.

PoW requires that for any miner to be rewarded, it needs to prove that it has dispensed resources such as energy. That is why mining Bitcoin is an energy-intensive process whereby BTC miners consume a lot of electricity to secure the network.

Additionally, the mining process ensures that anyone participating in the validation of transactions is sufficiently invested in the network’s success to discourage them from malicious activities.

Crypto beginners’ corner:

How to Mine Bitcoin?

Now that we’ve specified how Bitcoin mining works, we’ll specify different methods on how to mine Bitcoin. These are:

  • Solo mining – as the name suggests, this type of mining involves validating and confirming transactions individually. It is potentially more lucrative than other forms of mining as the miner gets to keep 100% of the rewards. However, it’s more difficult to mine this way successfully;
  • Pool mining – here, solo miners join forces to create a pool of common computing power that can then be used to mine Bitcoin. Increased computing power increases the chances of successfully creating a new block and therefore rewarded with new BTC coins. Rewards are this shared amongst pool members proportionately according to computing power contributed;
  • Cloud mining – there are two subcategories of BTC cloud mining – the first involves investors pooling financial resources and funding a technical team that uses the funds to create and run a mining operation. The other form of cloud mining involves a solo individual renting out computing power on remotely located servers and using them to mine Bitcoin.

Note: Cloud mining is perhaps the least popular of the three types of BTC mining listed above. It is highly controversial as some investors have been scammed trying to mine Bitcoin using this method. Additionally, other technical challenges make cloud mining less attractive, such as the location of the remote servers, a consideration that greatly affects latency. Latency refers to the time it takes to transfer data online and this is a critical factor when it comes to mining cryptocurrencies.

How to start Bitcoin mining?

In this section, we will look at a typical three-step process on how to start Bitcoin mining, confirm transactions, create blocks and earn some BTC coins while you are at it. These steps are:

Step 1 – Get the right Bitcoin Mining Hardware

When Satoshi mined the Bitcoin Genesis block in January 2009, [they] used a normal computer to do so. That means that any computer with a normal multi-core processor personal computer was strong enough to run the Bitcoin software.

With time, as more miners joined the network, the competition necessitated the use of more powerful machines. Hence, the move to the use of graphics cards months into the launch of the network. Graphics cards, also called graphical processing units (GPUs), were much more powerful and more efficient.

However, these were also replaced with slightly more efficient field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), which were reported to be about twice as powerful as the high-end GPU cards.

The year 2013 saw the introduction of ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) by the Chinese company Canaan Creative, a computer hardware manufacturer. Following this event, all previous miners relying on the GPUs and FPGA were rendered obsolete when it comes to mining Bitcoin.

ASIC miners immediately dominated the BTC mining space and have maintained their dominance ever since. If you are looking to join the fray, you will need to invest in, not only a powerful ASIC miner but also an efficient one.

Some of the more common ASIC miners currently include:

Note: To stand a chance of successfully mining Bitcoin, you will need to invest in a powerful and efficient ASIC machine; the list above includes some of the best on the market.

Recommended video: What is Bitcoin Mining? Simply explained by 99Bitcoins

Step 2 – Create a Dedicated Bitcoin Wallet

If you successfully create a block on the Bitcoin network, the software will send the reward to a provided BTC wallet. There are several options for choosing the preferred wallet, including one that is automatically generated by the Bitcoin Core software.

However, if you prefer to create a different wallet, you can choose from these different categories:

  • Software wallets – these are wallets existing in the software format and can be downloaded onto a desktop computer or mobile device. They are often freely available;
  • Hardware wallets – these are physical devices that are used to store cryptocurrencies. They may be costly to acquire but have proven to be safer to use than their software counterparts;
  • Paper and steel wallets – perhaps the most secure form of Bitcoin storage media. Paper wallets are created by simply downloading both public and private keys and printing them onto a piece of paper. The same applies to steel wallets but these require a bit of work to set up as you may need tools to etch the wallet address characters onto the steel plates. However, they work the same as paper wallets.

Tip: Refer to our detailed guide on the best Bitcoin wallets for further details on how to pick an appropriate wallet and how to store your mined Bitcoin safely.

Step 3 – Configure Your Mining Equipment

This stage can get technical; therefore, not everyone will be comfortable going through the setup procedure. It entails installing the hardware in an appropriate location.

If you are planning to run a major mining operation, you will need a large open space to set up the mining rigs. Even a small operation will require a dedicated room. It is almost unfeasible to set up a single machine to mine Bitcoin due to the kind of competition you will be facing.

Therefore, to give yourself the best chance to mine at least one Bitcoin, you will need several miners at the very least. It is a large investment, as noted earlier, thus limiting some of those who used to mine as a hobby.

If you prefer to mine as part of a pool, you could opt to invest in fewer miner machines compared to solo mining.

After installing the machines, configure them to contribute their hashing (computing) power to one local server, ensuring that they mine as a single unit. This way it makes it easier to control all the miners from a central location.

Other configurations you will need to make include:

  • Downloading and installing the Bitcoin Core software (for solo miners) or proprietary software provided by the mining pool operator (for pool miners);
  • Specifying the wallet address;
  • Connecting your mining rig to a remote pool server (preferably one that is closest to your mining rig location);

That is it for configuring a mining rig, and it could take a few minutes to a few hours to finish the setup. Once done, let it run and maintain the equipment to ensure it runs efficiently.

Bitcoin Mining Profitability

Calculating Bitcoin mining profitability is highly subjective, as one miner’s profits may be another’s losses. To calculate this figure, you will need the following information:

  • Investment cost, which includes the cost of the hardware, and maintenance costs;
  • Energy costs are determined by the location of the mining rig;
  • Pool mining fees or commission (for those mining within a pool);
  • Price of Bitcoin or the exchange rate between Bitcoin and the US Dollar.

Expectedly, different miners will have varying profits even if they end up mining the same amount of Bitcoins. For that reason, it is advised to estimate your miner’s profitability using one of the several freely available profitability calculators online, such as this one from Minerstat.

How long it takes to mine 1 Bitcoin

Technically, it is not possible to mine 1 Bitcoin, especially if you are a solo miner. However, if you mine within a pool, your rewards will typically be in satoshis, which are denominations of the BTC coin that could equal 1 BTC over a period of mining. If you opt to mine solo, the minimum reward you can get if you successfully mine a block is 6.25 BTC.

If you are just beginning, the best option for you would be to mine within a pool and receive small returns that would add up to 1 BTC. You may still not be able to correctly calculate how long it would take you to mine a single Bitcoin, as the mining environment changes constantly.

Any of the following factors could change thereby affecting your initial calculations. These are the most important factors to consider while estimating how long it would take to mine 1 Bitcoin:

Factors that Affect How Long It Takes to Mine One Bitcoin

  1. Solo or pool mining – you will need to consider whether you wish to become a solo miner or a pool member. This is a critical factor in determining whether you will succeed or not. Solo miners have odds stacked against them that they rarely mine any coins, if at all. Additionally, since BTC mining is akin to winning a lottery, the more computing power you possess, the higher the chances of mining the next block. Solo miners often suffer from undercapitalization which means that they end up with less hashing power than needed to compete successfully;
  2. Hardware – your choice of hardware plays another important role in determining your future profitability within the Bitcoin mining space. If you intend to use CPU, graphics cards, or FPGAs, you will probably never mine a single Bitcoin. Even amongst ASIC miners, some machines are more powerful and efficient than others. It is worth noting that ASIC manufacturers are constantly improving their products and newer ones are often better than previous releases;
  3. Network difficulty – is a measure of how difficult it is to solve the arbitrary Bitcoin network challenge to earn the right to create the next block. According to the Bitcoin software rules, as more miners join or abandon the network, the difficulty is designed to adjust automatically upwards or downwards, respectively. Changing the network difficulty to maintain a consistent BTC issuance rate of mining a single block every 10 minutes is necessary. Every prospective miner must consider this factor as it directly determines the kind of hardware to acquire to achieve a particular target hash rate;
  4. Mining location – where you decide to locate your mining rig is important, especially if you choose to mine within a pool, since this affects latency. As described previously, latency is the rate/speed at which data is sent and received between two points within a network. The closer you are to the server, the lower your latency and, therefore, the more efficient your mining rig. Ultimately, this affects the amount of work you will perform within the pool, which also affects the number of coins you receive as a reward;
  5. Pool size and commission – the larger the mining pool (measured in terms of hash rate contributed), the more likely it is to mine the next Bitcoin block. However, such large pools also charge higher commissions from their pool members, which are deducted from the miners’ earnings. Expectedly, the higher the commission, the lower your earnings and, therefore, the longer it will take to mine 1 Bitcoin.

Example calculation:

Let’s consider an example based on the following facts:

Source: Bitmain website. The shipping costs, customs charges, and taxes (if any) are not included in the retail price shown above. On Amazon, this product sells for $3,200 – $4,999.

Mining hardware factors:

  • Antminer S19 Pro;
  • Output: 100 TH/s (Tera-hashes per second);
  • Power consumption: 2,950 Watts (W);
  • Number of units: 10;
  • Total output from 10 machines: 1,000 TH/s
  • Total power consumption: 20,500 W
  • Total cost of acquisition: $1,900 X 10 = $19,000;

Note: Bitcoin mining hardware evolves constantly, so it is crucial to exercise extreme caution when acquiring old Bitcoin miners to avoid operating at a loss.

Location factors:

  • Canada;
  • Electricity cost in Canada: ~$0.06/kWh (it varies but this is the lowest rate offered after conversion from CAD to USD currency);

Bitcoin network factors (as of October 2022):

  • BTC Price: $19,612;
  • BTC network hash rate: 246.76 EH/s
  • BTC difficulty: 31.3605T

Pool mining factors:

  • Pool: F2Pool;
  • Total hash rate contributed from all miners: 43.32 EH/s (17.5% of total BTC network hash rate);
  • Pool commission: 2.5% PPS+;
  • Pool server location closest to Canada: United States;

Now that we have all the following hypothetical factors to use for our calculations, let’s use one of the popular BTC mining calculators (minerstat) to estimate how long it would take to mine 1 Bitcoin.

Source: calculator.

Input your data on the top row as highlighted in this example paying attention to the total hash rate that your mining setup would contribute, how much electricity it would consume, and the mining pool fees. Also include the price of electricity in the location in which you have set up (or plan on setting up) your mining rig.

According to minerstat, this mining setup would have earned us about 0.00177151 BTC within a 24-hour period. Meaning it would take us about 564.5 days (1 BTC/0.00177151 BTC) to mine 1 Bitcoin. That is roughly 18 months. In this calculation we have ignored the cost of the mining hardware, however, if you include it in the calculation, it might double the duration it takes to mine a single Bitcoin.

There are ways to reduce this period such as migrating to a location with cheaper electricity, investing in more miners, or even joining a mining pool that charges a lower commission. All these changes might contribute towards increasing our profitability.

Final thoughts

With various factors affecting the time of mining a single Bitcoin, it is easy to see that one person’s duration will vary from the next by a margin of a few days or weeks to years. It all depends on their choices, including hardware, location of the mining rig, whether to mine individually or be part of a pool, and which pool to join, among several others.

Hopefully, you have learned in this guide that determining how long it takes to mine 1 Bitcoin is not as clear-cut as the question seems. Consider all the above factors to calculate a figure that may reflect your specific circumstances.

Disclaimer: The content on this site should not be considered investment advice. Investing is speculative. When investing, your capital is at risk. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Bitcoin Mining

Is Bitcoin mining profitable?

Bitcoin mining could be profitable depending on each miner’s specific implementation. We have discussed some of the factors that determine a miner’s profitability in this guide, and it is possible to earn a decent profit from Bitcoin mining activities.

Bitcoin mining activities are legal in most jurisdictions but not in others. Before engaging in cryptocurrency mining, check with the local laws within the location where you intend to set up your mining rig.

How are Bitcoin miners paid?

Bitcoin miners are compensated for their effort automatically by the Bitcoin software, which releases new coins as a reward to the miner that creates a block. One block is created every ten minutes, equating to about 144 blocks created in a day. About 6.25 BTC coins are issued for every block, creating a rate that reduces by roughly half every four years.

How long does it take to mine one Bitcoin?

As discussed in this guide, the time it will take any miner to mine 1 Bitcoin will depend on several factors. In a nutshell, these factors include

  • Whether the miner mines as part of a pool or not;
  • The kind of hardware they use to mine Bitcoin;
  • The location;
  • The Bitcoin difficulty number;
  • The price of Bitcoin, among other factors.

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