Testing shared bitcoin mining with cex.io

JISHOU, HUNAN — Last month, I dipped my toe in to the Bitcoin and crypto-currency world, just as their values tumbled over the following two weeks. They have recovered somewhat, but crypto-currencies are volatile, so who can say what their value will be in another month?

One way to make bitcoins and other such virtual currencies is to mine them. Essentially, you task a computer CPU or GPU to do the calculations necessary to keep the bitcoin (or whatever) market humming along, and you are rewarded with new coins. I quickly discovered that my midrange laptop cannot serve as a mining unit, and I don’t have access to anything more powerful. Trading was my only option.

Then I found out about a site that basically sells fractional shares of mining units, so that you buy a fraction of the units’s computing power (or hash rates) and get a share in whatever coin made in the process. Basically, it’s like buying shares in a mutual fund. I’m only risking about $200 in my venture into crypto-currencies, so I decided to risk a little of that stake at Bitcoin Commodity Exchange www.cex.io (click on the counter widget above to visit the site).

To get the ball rolling, today I transferred BTC0.1 (about $74.40 at this moment) to cex.io, and used BTC0.04 to buy 1GHS (1 gigahash/sec). The remaining Bitcoin I left alone as a cushion, since the site charges users for power consumption, and other expenses. Then I went out and did my things in the real world.

When I came back a few hours later, I checked my balances and discovered I had mined enough to have earned something in bitcoin, namecoin, ixcoin and devcoin — barely a penny’s worth in all, but it’s a start. The counter at the top of this article shows the hashrates of my share in the mine. If you’re interested in trying cex.io out, click on the counter widget above. You need to have some digital currency already to fund your account. As I’ve written elsewhere, Coinbase is one of the easiest ways to buy Bitcoin, at least in the USA.

Be careful! If you’re jumping into Bitcoin and crypto-currencies with all your spendable income, you’re being stupid. Take a little bit of cash and play around with the system until you get the hang of things. There are no guarantees here, so don’t blame me if you lose all your money.

As for me, I am about $10 behind my original investment into Bitcoin and Peercoin. If the coins’ value against the dollar continue to rise, I’ll be right back where I started.

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