Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
LiteCoin Mining on EC2 is currently profitable (completefusion.com)
68 points by bobf on Nov 29, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 65 comments

I'm the author of the post. I didn't include a lot of background detail because I wanted to publish the technically interesting bits quickly. As I see it, mining LiteCoins on EC2 is currently profitable because of four main factors:

1) Bitcoin's recent dramatic increase in value. (LiteCoin's value is heavily correlated to Bitcoin's.)

2) The relatively low difficulty level for LiteCoin mining right now.

3) Spot instance pricing for the EC2 GPU (g2.2xlarge) instances.

4) LiteCoin can be mined using both GPUs and CPUs (although GPUs are dramatically better, another ~35 khashes/sec from the CPUs is still nice).

Interestingly, the previous average historical spot price for these instances was ~$0.075/hour. The spot pricing has now jumped to $0.10-$0.12, depending on region.

As an added bonus, you may be able to get $100 of AWS credit at http://aws.amazon.com/big-data/powerof60/ which would give you 2-3 free days of mining.

> 1) Bitcoin's recent dramatic increase in value. (LiteCoin's value is heavily correlated to Bitcoin's.)

No, actually, Litecoin's value is very different from that of Bitcoin and in the last week or two it skyrocketed from being 0.015/BTC to 0.05/BTC and back down to 0.04/BTC or so.

As a result of your post, in just 2-3 hours, the spot price on AWS went to $0.20 per instance.

An interesting economic effect of this - prior to your article, the mining profits were flowing to the miners who figured this out on AWS. After your article, the profits are now flowing to the reserved instance owners instead. Bastard.

Just so everyone is aware, I filled out the form for the $100 and got the message: "Thank you. An Amazon Web Services representative will contact you." Ugh.

Nobody had to contact me to get a free $100 for EC2, but I used the education grant instead when I did a Coursera class (http://aws.amazon.com/grants/). I have $70.99 leftover from when I got this free $100, so I will use that and try not to go too much over.

Litecoin's value is related to Bitcoin's, but it's not a perfect correlation by any means. The market for Litecoins is even smaller than Bitcoin's, and the coins are concentrated in even fewer hands.

If I were doing this, I'd sell the coins as soon as I got them. Even moreso than Bitcoin, with Litecoin the value is unstable and subject to crash at any moment.

Reading this: http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/pricing/

seems like price has increased to 0.65(?!) per hour. That doesn't sound profitable.

edit: never mind, didn't notice this was about spot instances.

Could the spot price increase also relate to "black friday" related usage?

It could, but we're talking about a specific GPU instance in this case. I wouldn't see an obvious correlation between Black Friday and the g2.2xlarge instance type.

Do you have the step by step instructions on how to do this?

So the max out of pocket is $2 an hour if I bid $0.20?

I am seeing:

Current price us-west-1a 0.101 us-west-1c 0.75

Ok, the plethora of bitcoin/litecoin articles on HN news are making me sick now. I feel like there are 3+ articles about it at any given time.

Seriously, with all the hype, I got suckered into buying bitcoin/litecoin just to realize that I can't compete against Chinese miners.

I guess I could buy coins and sit on them but there is no fun in doing so. Arbitrage is practically impossible because of the lag time to pull hard cash from the exchanges.

resist, my son. i've made a pledge to myself that everytime i'm tempted to click on some BTC-related stuff i will instead study a new code library. i haven't totally wriggled free yet (obviously) but i'm close. as with all things, chasin paper is no way to live life and get-rich-quick ideas are something to discipline yourself against.

in life, studying code is what has netted me the most cash that i feel proud of earning

Earlier this year I decided I would buy 10 or so bitcoins if the price ever fell to $10, and so far I'm sticking to that.

heh now there's a plan.

even then i hope you're doin it for fun not investment. until it stabilizes its just kindof a crapshoot. i have long decided that id try it if its stable and succeeding as a currency but not as an investment since the economics are absurd. its been good for those who made a buck off it but its a game and it may have many negative implications. many have taken losses on it already during crashes (or buying mining equipment -- at least EC2 is more like renting, heh). i guess it's buyer beware but i'm not totally convinced that the entire concept doesn't amount to a scam, which is why i get a little fiesty about it.

if people decide its a scheme and no one wants to buy, the only winners will be those who recognized the potential of a pump-and-dump scheme and have been cashing out bits and pieces all along

Your idea of investment is not the only possible definition.

Thanks. I will instead finish my projects that I am working on :)

What are you even talking about? Buying bitcoins and mining are not the same thing.

Just keep the bitcoins you bought and thank HN in 10 years for making you rich.

Btw Bitcoin is also very interesting from a technical point of view.

But infuriatingly, the NSA scandal is causing technical trouble with my (our?) actual primary source of income, but is practically banned from HN.

If the NSA is "too political" for HN, then Bitcoin is "too get rich quick without working" for HN.

How are those shares from all those companies in the Y2K bubble working out for you?

Did you invest 100000k $ in Bitcoin? I suggest investing 1k as an anti-black swan option. Or something like that. (If the economy crashes, BTC might be worth a lot. Or not. But the option doesn't cost much).

If you're describing Bitcoin as an option play, that's not very encouraging.

I think it's useful as a method of exchanging money where the official options are terrible, or for certain forms of online payments.

It's value as a currency store is completely unknown.

Of course, it won't be profitable for long, now that the secret's out. :-)

Indeed. I would estimate that at current LiteCoin values and difficulty level, mining on EC2 will stay profitable until the spot price for these instances passes $0.20-0.21. One thing that will slightly slow down the abuse of this is that by default AWS limits you to 10 spot instances per region for the g2.2xlarge type.

Is the limit anything more than an email exchange to confirm that you aren't using a stolen credit card?

couldnt you just register multiple users - and thus by-pass this limit of 10?

You could, if you had multiple credit cards I guess.

Why would you publish something like this? Why not just ride on your own discovery, get as many instances as possible and get rich?

You're not going to get rich from this. AWS limits you to ten spot instances of this type, and profits per ten instances per day are probably going to be $20-30. I've been mining with this setup for ~4 hours and have amassed ~0.2 coins ($8!).

$20 per day = $600 per month

Isn't it worth looking at creative ways to go around this 10 instances limit?

I know, I just spent $800 on mining hardware at BTC Black Friday (ButterflyLabs) just to bring my output from <$10/day to >$20/day.

I think that's a better idea than buying Amazon instances at fluctuating prices, but then who knows! I also thought it was kind of fishy when BFL e-mailed me just prior to Black Friday to let me know that they were totally caught up (shipping literally months of orders worth of products in the last 24 hours?) and they had stock on the shelves, at 25% discounted prices.

Fishy. After waiting 8 months for my first order to ship, yeah! But at least I'm only spending a fixed amount.

I'm not seeing the g2.2xlarge instance type when I select Amazon Linux AMI 2013.09.1 - has Amazon disabled this instance type or am I missing something?

Make sure you are selecting the HVM AMI

It isn't available in all regions. What region are you looking at?

Hmm, I just checked in US West, East, Ireland, and Singapore. Still not seeing it..

same... not seeing the GPU ones

Damn discovered this two days ago, hoped that I went under radar for a bit :-).

how much did you make in last two days, if i may ask?

I'm getting hung up when trying to install the CUDA installer. I get the error "The driver installation is unable to locate the kernel source.".

When requesting your spot instance AMI, make sure the virtualization type is "hvm" instead of "paravirtual".

It's already hvm. Amazon says Kernel ID : - . Can it be the reason? Should we choose kernel manually?

How long did it take the pending to stop? Also, how do we SSH into the instances once pending is over? I cannot seem to find a way to launch.

few minutes

Unfortunately due to the spike in EC2 prices this doesn't really seem much profitable anymore...but still awesome nonetheless!

I'm looking at the spot instance price and it's hovering around ~$0.10. It's still profitable.

it's still under the 0.20-0.21 benchmark... so profitable i guess.

Naive question from a non-techie - if i were to run 10 g2.2xlarge spot instances, how much net profit per day would i make?

Back of napkin math: spend $29 to mine $50 worth of LTC.

Thanks... so not that bad considering it wouldn't require any continuous efforts.

I bit skeptical of wemineltc.com (no https)

Someone should probably try this with Amazon's first year free offer.. I will probably try this out.

That's only for the Free Tier which is an m1.small or micro I believe.

I tried mining prime coin on spot micro instance (100 of them) and it was useless. Micro is too weak to mine.

I am trying the free tier right now. I installed https://github.com/cbuchner1/cpuminer. I have got it running, but I don't think its doing much of anything.

Here's a tail of the log:

[2013-11-29 08:15:37] Stratum detected new block [2013-11-29 08:15:37] thread 0: 83388 hashes, 0.73 khash/s [2013-11-29 08:16:32] thread 0: 44064 hashes, 0.79 khash/s [2013-11-29 08:17:55] thread 0: 47700 hashes, 0.58 khash/s [2013-11-29 08:18:14] thread 0: 34596 hashes, 1.79 khash/s [2013-11-29 08:19:38] Stratum detected new block [2013-11-29 08:19:38] thread 0: 65016 hashes, 0.78 khash/s [2013-11-29 08:20:38] Stratum detected new block [2013-11-29 08:20:38] thread 0: 26352 hashes, 0.44 khash/s [2013-11-29 08:20:50] thread 0: 26364 hashes, 2.24 khash/s [2013-11-29 08:23:40] thread 0: 134484 hashes, 0.79 khash/s [2013-11-29 08:23:51] thread 0: 47280 hashes, 4.48 khash/s

That's for litecoin and bitcoin. I would assume primecoin would be better for cpu mining because it hasn't been optimized for gpus yet.

May be so. I have very little understanding of any of this. What I am doing right now certainly isn't worth even this tiny bit of effort that I have put into so far. My Account Balance is 0.00016236 LTC after 9 hours.

Whats the deal here?

Is this still profitable? I'll pay 20 bucks to someone who can set this up for me and record it.

Spot instance price is rising at about 2 cents/hour. By 11AM UTC, it'll be unprofitable.

Does any body know how to mine litecoin on amazon step by step from scratch?

Looks like the spot prices have already jumped to $0.175 - $0.2 per hour

and now up to 0.3+

it costs only your mind

The problem though is that while buying/selling bitcoins is just hard, exchanging litecoins is practically impossible. Currently litecoins are only used as a ponzi scheme, rather than a payment method and if anybody does what OP suggests, please be smart and cash out as fast as you can. You can cash out to bitcoins if that floats your boat, at least they are actually used for things other than being a scam.

> exchanging litecoins is practically impossible

> Currently litecoins are only used as a ponzi scheme

What? I'm not really a fan of Litecoin but you can't just make false claims.

Just sell them for bitcoins and then sell the bitcoins. Easy.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact