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Should You Quit Your Job to Mine Cryptocurrency? Maybe Not. 

With cryptocurrency occasionally creating the overnight millionaire, it’s tempting to want to go all in. Though once known for purchasing illegal entities without a trace, cryptocurrency’s uses have moved beyond black market commerce to become the next revolutionary tech boom. While the Cinderella stories are tempting, the risks and energy costs of a making a switch from banks and bills might outweigh the gains.

  1. How do I minecryptocurrency? Do I need a pickaxe?

    You won’t find cryptocoins heads up on the sidewalk. You can put cash into cryptocurrency stocks, like any other company or trade them for cash, but they originate from mining on a blockchain system: a distributed ledger that is able to self-operate without a third party, like a bank, by mass-verifying every transaction. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin operate in this way. This means every exchange between two accounts has one random, permanent, and unique code associated with it. Miners acquire computation machines that can crank out the algorithms to find that random, specific code. Every party involved works just as hard to find the code and verify the chain of transaction because whoever finds it, wins coin! It’s part luck, part computer power. Miners will team up to increase their chances and split the profits.

    To become a miner, you need the computer power, a rural zip code, and a tolerance for loud sounds. On a standard laptop, it will take years and maybe a few fried wires to get yourself even half a bitcoin. Special equipment is needed that can range, depending on the day, and the publication time of this article, from $1500-$3600 a rig. The more rigs you have, the more chances of finding cryptocurrency.

    These wild machines eat up so much energy, your energy bills become red flags, so make sure your purchases are squeaky clean.

  2. Is it here to stay?

    When bitcoin was founded in 2011 by Satoshi Nakamoto, there were a finite number of Bitcoins introduced. As more and more are mined, the likelihood of finding them decreases. Bitcoin has an end, and after its major plummet, there’s talk that it’s already fallen out of fashion. However, more currencies, some more energy-efficient than others, have sprung from the ashes, and with blockchain technology on the rise, more and more cryptocurrencies will rise that can address the concerns the last ones couldn’t.

  3. Is it stable?

    This is not a salary job. Cryptocurrencies aren’t tied to concrete currency the way the U.S. dollar used to be tied to gold. It is a decentralized system, meaning that there are no measures in place to keep your new coin from being valued at $1,000 one day, and $1 the next. It currently operates outside of any government control. The market is international and you don’t know if you might be trading with someone from Paris or Pittsburgh. While thankfully it is currently disadvantageous to be dishonest by falsifying code or sensitive information on the ledger, if at least half of users decide to misreport data, the entire system could crumble.

Cryptocurrency on a blockchain system is definitely the next big technology frontier. However, the image of sitting in a dark room, cranking out code to mine coins is already stale. Blockchain technology is on its way to becoming a more secure and functional system for just about every industry on the planet, accelerating the Internet of Things and eliminating third-party waste. Mining cryptocurrencies is a time-intensive, risky endeavor with high reward, but investing in blockchain technology could be the key for the next generation of overnight millionaires. 

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