For a hobbyist bitcoin miner, the industry is a different place than it was a few years ago.
It used to be that you could use your CPU or GPU to mine bitcoin. But then the price of bitcoin started rising and people began to realize how much money could be earned, and – with the resulting rise in mining difficulty – only those that could afford costly ASICs were in a position to actually make any profit. Soon enough, only the largest operations could compete.
Research shows that, for new miners, the price of a bitcoin needs to be at least $600 to break even if electricity costs are less than $0.10 per kWh.
Another change has been geographic. It used to be that miners were distributed all across the globe, but many of the largest operations have centralized in parts of the world with at least one of the two following variables: cheap/free electricity or a cold environment.
A significant portion of the electricity cost associated with mining has to do with keeping the mining chips cool. For any computer user, we know this as the loud fan working to keep our CPU cool. If the miners are