Lolminer’s Zombie mode has kept 4GB GPUs hashing for long after the Ethereum DAG exceeded 4 GB in epoch 382 on Dec.16th. In the weeks since, 4GB GPUs have decreased profitability with each successive epoch. Many miners are looking for alternative blockchains for their 4 GB cards. I’ll cover a few and discuss why your best bet might be to sell them soon. For our post with more context and the math supporting our conclusions read our article here.
Should I keep mining with 4GB GPUs?
GPU-minable Altcoins as viable alternatives
Many miners are looking toward alternatives to continue hashing at a profit with their 4 GB GPUs. Estimates place up to 40% of the hashrate on Ethereum to be 4Gb hardware. Therein lies the trouble with the idea: the market cap of all of the other mineable coins cannot support the quantity of hashpower coming off ETH.
See the below graph to get a visual idea of the disproportionate size of ETH compared to other GPU mineable coins. These are the main coins that I’ve seen touted as alternatives for miners.
Many have made the mistaken assumption that an increase in miner interest will pump the price of the coin. Actually, this is exactly the opposite of what you we should expect to see. Miners looking to sell their earnings will create constant sell pressure. Unless there is significant buy-side interest, there wouldn’t be any reason for the coin to pump. That is unless r/wallstreetbets decides to Reddit Rally. They do love that DOGE, though, so don’t count on it.
ETC – Ethereum Classic
Ethereum Classic recently reduced their DAG size significantly to provide an attractive option to all the 4 GB hardware fresh off Ethereum. ETC is the next chain onto which those left with 4 GB miners are turning. Ethereum ASICs are still viable on ETC and are currently dominating the mining of ETC. Talk of implementing a more ASIC-resistant algorithm has not swayed the ETC community. Likely due to the recent 51% attacks have weakened the blockchain in the recent past. The market cap of Ethereum Classic is too small to support the hashpower that will soon be available. This encompasses all 4 GB mining hardware, both ASIC and GPU. If you’re considering the ASIC vs GPU mining, check out our comparison.
RVN – Ravencoin
Due to the following factors RVN is also not a great candidate for 4GB GPUs
- Power intensive nature of Ravencoin (RVN), the electricity consumed by the activity of mining,
- Coupled with the low market cap, and
- Current price of RVN
it will not support any quantity of expensive hashpower. The rare situation of free electricity is again the exception.
Beam has also been touted as an alternative to ETH. Mainly due to it’s lower power consumption than RVN. The market cap of BEAM makes this a non-starter. Unless there’s serious interest in Beam from a user perspective, mining Beam should not be considered as a serious alternative.
Low-memory GPU price erosion
The average price for 4 GB GPUs has dropped by about 10% in the last week, due to the increase in the availability of those GPUs. What this indicates is that we’re moving toward a buyer’s market for lower-end cards and we’ll continue to see the bottom drop on the price for <4GB GPUs.
The past few months have been a terribly expensive time to purchase a graphics card and this must mean relief to all of the gamers who just want to get their Minecraft or Fortnite on.
Should I sell my 4GB GPUs?
The short answer is yes, and as soon as possible. As we’ve seen, the decrease in price coupled with the steadily decreasing mining profitability of mining alternative alts will create a spiral and the sooner you cash out, the better. The exception is those with free electricity. If you have free electricity, there may be a case to continue mining with your 4GB GPUs on Raven or another altcoin, but unless another altcoin challenger emerges to soak up some tremendous cryptocurrency marketcap, your best bet is to start looking to sell your GPUs.
We will buy 4 GB GPUs, but there’s an upper limit
Our interest in purchasing huge quantities of 4 GB graphics cards is reducing as time passes. This is due to newer gen cards becoming more available and an increase in supply of 4 GB cards. We will likely only dedicate a limited amount of our capital to purchasing 4 GB GPUs. Check with us if you’re interested in getting an offer for your 4 GB GPUs to help you make a decision on whether or not to sell your 4 GB GPUs. At the very least you’ll have an idea of the current price of your cards.
Should I just get out of mining entirely?
Yes, you likely would have made more profit by just buying the crypto instead of mining. However, mining is a necessary part of all the major cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH 2.0 may be years out, more on that here ), and a good way to “dollar cost average” if you don’t mind a labor of love. And if you’ve read this far, you probably don’t mind. So for you, in particular, I don’t think 4GB cards going dark on ETH will be the end of your journey.