Building an Ethereum mining rig hasn't been worth it for months, and soon they will be completely obsolete.
Back in May I wrote a guide explaining how to build an Ethereum mining rig, a special type of computer that forms the backbone of the Ethereum network and earns ether, the digital currency native to the network, for its owner. Shortly thereafter, Motherboard also made a video documenting this process. Since then, I've received countless emails from readers inquiring about my mining rig. I've received three such emails this week. The most common question voiced by these readers is whether or not it is still worth it to build a mining rig.
The answer to this question is no. Building an Ethereum mining rig hasn't been worth it for months and a few months from now, mining ether will be completely obsolete.
Arguably, building an Ethereum mining rig wasn't even worth it when I built my machine in May, and many readers let me know this when the article and video first came out. This is somewhat true, but there is a necessary caveat here.
Mining ether also wasn't worth it for about the first year and a half of the cryptocurrency's existence. The price of ether hovered around $10 from 2015 until early 2017, when it saw a spike to $25. This was important because it meant the value of the ether being mined was higher than the cost of the electricity that was needed to mine it. In other words, until that point small scale mines were operating at a loss in the belief that the tokens they were mining would someday be worth a lot more money.
In hindsight, these early miners were right—the price of ether has risen over 4,000 percent in the last year and is now worth well over $400. There was a brief sweet spot, from about February to late April of this year, when ether was profitable to mine, but hadn't attracted mainstream attention for its meteoric rise in value. Then in May, the sudden surge in the price of ether saw a corresponding surge in interest for mining—hence the article about how it works.