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Author Topic: Does CPU mining contribute anything to bitcoin network or economy?  (Read 3345 times)
nightskywalker
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May 29, 2011, 10:47:18 PM
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I know bitcoin mining is like a lottery - any hash has the same chance of winning a block. But the only way transactions are confirmed is by someone winning a block so that the transactions get added to the chain. At 2M hashes/sec, I can expect to get a block something like every 15 to 30 years at a difficulty of 434883. I am not confirming transactions. I am not winning blocks. Am I contributing anything to the bitcoin network in some other way? I was using a GPU miner (only 20M hashes/sec) in a pool for about 6 weeks and decided it was not worth the heat on the GPU. I like the idea of bitcoin and would be glad to keep the client mining if I thought it was doing anything at all to support the bitcoin concept.

If I want bitcoins, I can see it is better for me to buy them given my limited mining power.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Vandroiy
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May 29, 2011, 10:52:32 PM
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Mathematical answer: you contribute, albeit very little.

Reasonable answer: don't bother. Neither do you have a substantial gain, nor the Bitcoin network. If you like the idea and want to support it, buy some bitcoins and spend them, or offer services for Bitcoins and spend your earnings. That will really make a difference.
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May 29, 2011, 10:58:15 PM
 #3

1Mh contributes on average 1% as much as 100Mh. So, yes, you would be helping.

If you don't like the unsteady results you can join a pool, but it really isn't worth it using a CPU.

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May 29, 2011, 11:16:56 PM
 #4

Think of it like doing the lottery.  There may be a very small chance of you solving a block but it could just happen, and then you've definitely contributed, and gained some shiny new bitcoins in the process. 
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May 29, 2011, 11:26:36 PM
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Right, but it must be made clear that it's the act of solving a block that strengthens the network, not the CPU power used when attempting to solve it in the first place. 
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May 30, 2011, 12:14:47 AM
 #6

but isn't it true that the greater the hashing power of the network as a whole, the faster blocks get created, at least up to the pt where the difficulty level is increased every 2 wks, so that his small yet incremental contribution does help toward that goal?
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May 30, 2011, 04:53:18 AM
 #7

Isn't this sort of like asking if you should start a garden in your back yard to help feed the world's hungry? Sure, it would technically help, but you could help more by doing something that you're particularly good at and using the money to fund some farmer who's much more efficient than you are. Since CPU mining is so inefficient, if you want to put your CPU to good use you should get some software that will magnify your particular skills and use your computer to help you do something that you're already good at.

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May 30, 2011, 05:02:49 AM
 #8

You do start a garden in your backyard to help the world's hungry.  You set an example for them.  If you are hungry, grow food.  If you are thirsty, make clean water.  Physician, heal thyself.
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May 30, 2011, 05:14:22 AM
 #9

Right, but it must be made clear that it's the act of solving a block that strengthens the network, not the CPU power used when attempting to solve it in the first place. 

Technically, the CPU power used when attempting to solve a block keeps it competitive.  THAT'S the value you add when you don't solve a block.  Which is ridiculously low when CPU mining.

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May 30, 2011, 05:44:15 AM
 #10

Think about sifting for gold in a river.  Are you working?  Sure.  Are you personally creating value?  Not exactly, you are just holding a sieve in a river.  The value came before you ever stepped into the water, but noone else was there to catch it.
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May 30, 2011, 07:31:11 AM
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Think about sifting for gold in a river.  Are you working?  Sure.  Are you personally creating value?  Not exactly, you are just holding a sieve in a river.  The value came before you ever stepped into the water, but noone else was there to catch it.

Yes, you are creating value.  You are changing nature into a state more useful to humanity.  That is essentially what value is.

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BBanzai
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May 30, 2011, 03:41:55 PM
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'Xactly!
Think about sifting for gold in a river.  Are you working?  Sure.  Are you personally creating value?  Not exactly, you are just holding a sieve in a river.  The value came before you ever stepped into the water, but noone else was there to catch it.

Yes, you are creating value.  You are changing nature into a state more useful to humanity.  That is essentially what value is.
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May 30, 2011, 03:46:51 PM
 #13

I know bitcoin mining is like a lottery - any hash has the same chance of winning a block. But the only way transactions are confirmed is by someone winning a block so that the transactions get added to the chain. At 2M hashes/sec, I can expect to get a block something like every 15 to 30 years at a difficulty of 434883. I am not confirming transactions. I am not winning blocks. Am I contributing anything to the bitcoin network in some other way? I was using a GPU miner (only 20M hashes/sec) in a pool for about 6 weeks and decided it was not worth the heat on the GPU. I like the idea of bitcoin and would be glad to keep the client mining if I thought it was doing anything at all to support the bitcoin concept.

You always contribute a bit, by verifying transactions - you don't need to mine for that.

Considering mining itself, IF you don't ever find a block, you haven't contributed anything. But you don't know you won't. If you have 2 Mhash/s, you have 3% chance of finding a block the next year - statistically speaking, you're contributing an expected 0.03 block per year (slightly more, even). It's up to you to decide whether that's worth it. For me, it wouldn't.

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May 30, 2011, 04:25:54 PM
 #14

people who mine at a loss are not helping the bitcoin community optimally.  You would more optimaly help the community from taking the money you would have spent on electricity and putting that into buying bitcoins.  You will help the bitcoin community more, and gain more many more bitoins in total for yourself.

One off NP-Hard.
BBanzai
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May 30, 2011, 04:43:48 PM
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You should optimally help the community by offering your services and accepting bitcoins in exchange.  Just sayin'
nightskywalker
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May 30, 2011, 07:13:39 PM
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You always contribute a bit, by verifying transactions - you don't need to mine for that.

Considering mining itself, IF you don't ever find a block, you haven't contributed anything. But you don't know you won't. If you have 2 Mhash/s, you have 3% chance of finding a block the next year - statistically speaking, you're contributing an expected 0.03 block per year (slightly more, even). It's up to you to decide whether that's worth it. For me, it wouldn't.


I thought you had to solve a block to verify transactions? I know you have to solve a block to add transactions to the chain. I thought that adding a block to the chain was what verified the transactions in it. I'll do some more reading...

Thanks for everyone's thoughts and comments. I'll run the client and let it use a couple of CPUs when I have the computer on. You can't win the lottery if you don't buy tickets. A slim chance is better than none. And I'll buy some bitcoins to supplement the few I earned mining in a pool.
SociopathyKillsSociety
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May 30, 2011, 08:43:20 PM
 #17

You're just contributing to global warming and spending money for electricity.

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walidzohair
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December 30, 2011, 09:12:33 AM
 #18

I know this is an old post, well sort of. not very old though but it is important o leave a note here for future visits of bitcoin supporters.


Well it is not always abut mining.

If you want to support bitcoin here is a list of what can be done in an ascending priority according to its importance and contribution to bitcoin cause (well up to my knowledge):

1) Leave your CPU running 24/7 while running the bitcoin client, not mining just running the client.
2) Buy some bitcoins and spend them in something you need. Even better do it on a a regular basis for let us say your weekly/monthly grocery .. etc.
3) Buy some bitcoins and hoard them as long as you do not need their value.
4) Transfer a portion of your long term investment (like retirement plan money) into bitcoins instead of gold or banks.
And Finally,
5) Cut a percentage of your weekly, monthly or whatever pay check to buy bitcoins as a long term investment (Hoarding)!.

Cheesy

This would Spread the currency and maximize its value.

Of course order might be different here for some other opinions, specially about hoarding, but again it is both about spreading teh currency as well as maximizing the demand (need) for it.

Couple hundred million users like that and !!

Wollah! Bitcoin is major world-class currency.!

Vitalik Buterin
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December 31, 2011, 03:52:42 PM
 #19

Versus doing nothing, it's useless. Versus using a housewide heating system that has no useful byproducts whatsoever, it's great no matter what the price and hashrate is.

Argumentum ad lunam: the fallacy that because Bitcoin's price is rising really fast the currency must be a speculative bubble and/or Ponzi scheme.
walidzohair
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December 31, 2011, 06:45:59 PM
 #20

Well yes that is true I forgot to add

10) Using GPU mining as a heating system. umm I do not think CPU mining can be useful as a heating system.
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