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  • Josh Metnick says the crypto DCR from Decred is one of the most profitable to mine.
  • This is based on electricity costs, the crypto’s current price, and the availability of ASIC miners.
  • The miners are currently efficient enough to be profitable even with higher electricity costs.

The mining craze is picking up speed as more potential investors consider entering the arena. Josh Metnick, CEO of Navier, a company that hosts different types of miners across seven facilities, told Insider demand has been high, especially since China began cracking down on bitcoin miners.

The industry is expected to continue booming. The mining hardware market by product (ASIC and GPU) is expected to grow globally by $2.80 billion at a compounded annual growth rate of over 7% from 2020-2024, according to a report by Technavio.

The high demand prompted Metnick to raise his own prices. Just a few months ago, he charged about $0.04 per kilowatt-hour per miner but that rate has now increased to $0.075.

“It’s been growing rapidly. It’s kind of overwhelming actually. I’ve never seen anything like this and I’ve been in this for eight years,” Metnick told Insider.

Mining remains the lifeblood of the crypto ecosystem because the computations it carries out help verify digital currency transactions and keep blockchains updated. Miners earn cryptos as a reward for their contributions.

It began as a niche hobby. Early adopters had to set up rigs on their own and then figure out how to connect them to pools (groups of miners) and earn profit. But since hosting facilities became a thing, anyone who's seeking to earn some passive crypto can purchase a rig and have a company handle the dirty work.

While a booming business is always great, the downside is the more miners that enter the space with efficient state-of-the-art machines, the more competitive and less profitable it becomes. This conundrum is especially true for bitcoin, where miners compete for a block every 10 minutes.

Mining Decred (DCR)

So it was no surprise when Metnick said one of the most accessible and profitable cryptos to mine was one many have never heard of: Decred (DCR), a cryptocurrency that utilizes a hybrid proof-of-work and proof-of-stake mining system.

"It's a highly legitimate project. Relatively speaking, like in crypto years, it's been around for a while. And there are some smart, ethical people involved in it," Metnick said.

Those who mine it can either trade it in for fiat on centralized exchanges or stake it and continue to earn more coins. DCR was trading near $167.99 on August 20 and had more than quadrupled year-to-date, according to CoinMarketCap.

According to the project's website, Decred's blockchain is similar to bitcoin's, but with an emphasis on community-based governance instilled into its protocol. Its name is a blend of "decentralized" and "credits," reflecting its mission of preventing any type of centralized influence.

The crypto requires an ASIC miner that runs on the Blake256R14 algorithm. And while there are a few options, Metnick suggests sticking to three models that have shown their capability over time. They are the StrongU STU-U1++, MicroBT Whatsminer D1, and the Bitmane DR 5. The models can either be purchased directly from the manufacturer, supplier, or on the second-hand market. The ASICs can then be set up at home or hosted at a facility.

According to Crypto Compare, the StrongU STU-U1++ can retail for as little as $1,145, making it the most affordable of the options. But those prices fluctuate based on availability and demand. Right now, that demand is high while the supply is tight, said Metnick.

Metnick told Insider that the mining community had put DCR aside for a while because in 2020, it was trading for as low as $12, and profit margins weren't great. So manufacturers weren't producing the miners as much. But now that its price has surged by almost 1300% from the 2020 lows, there's a global supply chain shortage on chips. Most of his clients either got their hands on the rigs earlier or bought it on the secondary market from a broker. Some suppliers do have a waiting list.

Profit margins

Based on data from Asic Miner Value, and the US residential average rate of electricity of $0.14 per kilowatt-hour, the StrongU STU-U1++ currently earns about $66.19 a day worth of DCR, while the MicroBT earns $62.9. They will both tag on about $221 a month to your electricity bill. The Bitman earns approximately $44.71 a day in DCR and costs $155.52 a month in electricity.

Although electricity rates can vary drastically across the US, Metnick says they can still be profitable, even with high rates such as $0.20 KWh.

These miners will also need to be plugged into a pool. Metnick recommends checking out platforms like Luxor, Poolin, and F2Pool.

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