Bitcoin mining: make money with a Raspberry Pi

Bitcoin and Raspberry Pi symbol

Bitcoin or BTC is an electronic currency or cryptocurrency that is not held by large banks or speculators like conventional money. The cryptocurrency can be used to make purchases or payments over the Internet and was created by a group of people under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, hence the "cents" of BTC are called Satoshis (100,000,000 Satoshis = 1 BTC). The price of a Bitcoin has been increasing since its emergence, while it was initially worth barely anything, it can now be worth as much as more than 600€.. Not insignificant if you are one of those who bought BTCs cheaply at the beginning and can now sell them at that price. But we can not only buy them, we can also get them by mining (decrypting the blocks of this currency). And it's not illegal at all... even if you think it's strange. Strangely enough, Bitcoins are extracted as if from a "virtual "mine like gold. Their number is finite and their value will depend on how many people are interested in them. And this is where our Raspberry Pi comes in, which can be used as a kind of "pickaxe" to extract the valuable virtual mineral and exchange it for euros. To find out more about BTCs you can consult this link.

Brief introduction to computing power

The decryption of Bitcoin blocks is carried out thanks to the computing power of the chips. Specifically, the Raspberry Pi is equipped with an ARM SoC that can reach a computing power of 150KH/s (Kilo Hashes per second). The hashes per second is the unit in which the decryption capacity of the chips is measured. Let's say that all coin movements are recorded in a file that saves the last 10 minutes. At the end of the file a validation number. The first to crack it wins a reward of 25 Bitcoins. But this requires a lot of mathematical operations to solve the algorithm that protects them, and this is where the speed of calculation (H/s) comes in. As it becomes more and more complex, those who are trying to decipher it are grouped in "Pools" and join their "forces" (calculation powers) to decipher the numbers. Once successful, the reward is distributed among the members of the pool in proportion to the computing power contributed by each one.

Signal representing a peak mining BTCs

To know the profitability you would have to calculate the electricity consumption and Internet tariff consumed by your decryption equipment and compare it with the amount of cryptocurrency obtained. This way you will know if it is profitable or not. Remember that the Raspberry Pi consumes 2.5w and if you have it working 24 hours a day and every day of the month, the increase in the electricity bill can be around 11€. If you have earned enough Satoshis during that time to cover that amount, you can be satisfied. As long as you get 8,000,000 satoshis or more, you will already be getting a return on your investment. Some have managed to multiply the computing power by creating a "computing power multiplier".supercomputer"with many Raspberry Pi boards working at the same time. There are some of these projects around the net, but it is not profitable, as there are cheaper systems designed for mining and that optimise the computing power to achieve much more H/s. There are systems that sell for around €8500 and achieve computing power of up to 7 GH/s, such as the miner Butterfly Labs Jalapeno that can achieve that figure and more if we improve it. To achieve similar speeds with Raspberry Pi, we'd have to spend around €22,000, plus a few extra euros for cabling and other "gizmos" needed to interconnect all the boards and get them to work together. Paying 2.5 times the price to get similar computational power is not a smart move...

Materials for mining Bitcoins with Raspberry Pi

  • Acquire the Raspberry Pi.
  • Power supply and other necessary accessories (box, HDMI cable and network cable). If you prefer you can get the complete kit that includes everything in our shop.
  • Download Minepeon distribution (based on Arch Linux ARM), a distro specially designed for mining on ARM chips. An image that occupies just over 300MB. Attention: It does not work with the new Raspberry Pi 2, the recommended alternative is Minera installed manually from Raspbian.
  • A PC or Mac in order to prepare the SD card with the operating system.
  • Keyboard, mouse, screen or TV to connect to the Raspi.

MinePeon Logo

Procedure for mining with a Raspberry Pi

Now we are going to prepare our Raspberry Pi for mining Bitcoins in a few simple steps. We will assemble and prepare the Raspberry Pi as described in the first article, but with a difference, this time we will not install Raspbian or any other distribution of which we have already spoken.

  1. Once the MinePeon image has been downloaded, unzip it and prepare the SD card by formatting it in system FAT32 and then mount the image. You can see the full procedure in step 1 of another of our articles where we explain it for Windows, Linux and Mac.
  2. Once we have the SD ready, we will proceed to download and open the programme. Win32 Disk Imagerif you have Windows on your PC. From this program, and with the SD inserted in the PC slot, select the unzipped MinePeon image (*.img). Click on the button Write and wait for the process to be completed.
  3. For those who have Linux or Mac OS XAs both systems are Unix-like systems, they can use the command dd from the console. To do this, we unzip the *.img MinePeon beforehand and then with the SD card inserted, type in (substituting image_name.img for the name of the image file, which should be something like MinePeon-2013-xx-xx.img y /dev/sdc by the device corresponding to the SD, which in my case is /dev/mmcblk0):
dd bs=1M if=image_name.img of=/dev/sdc
  1. On Mac OS X we can use the app PiWriterwith a simple and intuitive graphical interface. In it we select the previously decompressed image and with the SD inserted we install the operating system.
  2. The SD card is now ready to be inserted into the Raspberry Pi e start the system. The Raspi must have a monitor or screen connected via HDMI, a USB keyboard and mouse, and a network cable for Internet access.
  3. When you start MinePeon, it will ask you for a name of username and passwordwhich are the preset defaults. The user is minepeon and the password pawn.
  4. The first thing we will see is a WebUI browser that appears as soon as we log in. There we will have a good toolbox to start mining. To know how to use it you can get up to date with some mining manuals, as it is a bit complex to explain here. In this screen you can put the data of your pools to get money, you can consult the best here.

MiniPeon Mining Pools main screen

The great thing about MinePeon is that it automatically supports USB mining devices... in case you would like to add one and boost the decryption capabilities of your SoC. What about you? mining with the almighty Raspberry Pi?

18 thoughts on “Minería de Bitcoins: consigue dinero con una Raspberry Pi”

  1. Sergio Martinez

    Good the case is that in my Raspberry Pi 2 I do not know what happens that does not show me nothing on screen instead I install the Raspbian and if it works I can do. I do not know if you will respond but well 🙂 long time ago since the creation of the post

    1. Alberto Navarro

      Good Sergio, the developers have not released a version for Raspberry Pi 2.

      The closest alternative is https://getminera.com/ and you have to install Raspbian and then manually install this system.

      Greetings!

      1. Sergio Martinez

        A doubt Alberto, I guess the program is installed from the repository, I would like to know if it has interface and how is its performance on version 2 of Raspberry PI.
        And the last one the system that you can download on the web is an image. Does it work on Raspbian for sure? Do you use it?
        If you could answer everything, it would help me a lot 🙂

        1. Alberto Navarro

          No, I don't really use it and I understand that there are more specialised systems for bitcoin mining.

          Surely there are more users with these problems in the photo of this last distribution who can guide you better.

          Greetings!

    2. Hello Sergio,

      Give me more details so that we can help you. It could be a thousand things. Just a black screen (or what colour?) or with text,... do you get a prompt to enter commands? Did you download the latest version of Minepeon? It should work correctly also on the Raspberry Pi 2 if it has been updated, as the Pi 2 has differences with respect to the previous models. In fact some users are asking the same question as you, if it supports Pi 2 or not. I have looked at the official Wiki of the Minepeon project but I can't find any references.

      Greetings.

      1. Sergio Martinez

        Well Isaac the case is that I install the image of the latest version of Minepeon of the Source, I put it in operation and it is as if nothing happened the leds are plugged but not blinking as in other systems, and the screen itself is as if it did not detect anything the HDMI is activated. I get the samsunng screen that tells me to insert something in the port I have connected.
        I have also tried 2 versions below and nothing. I guess there will be a solution from the developers soon, because mining with Raspberry Pi increased a lot.

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