Since this guide has been written the difficulty involved in mining Bitcoin has increased significantly. The techniques presented here are no longer profitable and you will spend more on electricity than you would ever hope to gain through mining. When I fired up my miner to update this, the estimated payout was in 108 years time, for 0.0001 Bitcoin. This is for information purposes only.
Raspberry Pi in combination with a USB ASIC miner chip makes a good Bitcoin miner (PiMiner) due to its low power usage and ease of configuration. ASIC devices are specialised computing processors specific to the SHA256 algorithm used in Bitcoin hashes. They are much more efficient than pure CPU computations. The Raspberry Pi is a very cheap and efficient way to control and monitor devices which are better suited to mining Bitcoins.
To get started mining Bitcoins with a Raspberry Pi and an Antminer U2 USB ASIC device, you will also need:
- A Pool Account (Recommended: SlushPool.com)
- A BitCoin Wallet
- Powered USB Hub (Optional for Pi3, Required for < Pi 2)
Firstly you need to get a pool account. For SlushPool simply head over to the website, register for a free account and once logged in, under the dashboard, you will find your worker details. We'll use these later.
Next, you need to download the latest and Flash Raspberry Pi Raspbian OS onto an SD card.
Once booted up you need to install a few development packages and the mining software.
sudo apt-get install build-essential libtool libcurl4-openssl-dev libjansson-dev libudev-dev libncurses5-dev autoconf automake
Next we install the Bitcoin mining software:
sudo apt-get install bfgminer
Finally, we can launch the mining software and start mining some Bitcoins.
bfgminer -S all -o stratum+tcp://eu.stratum.slushpool.com:3333 -u <username.workernumber> -p x
If everything is plugged in correctly bfgminer should automatically recognise the antminers and start mining. Depending on which version of Antminer you have, you will see the speed and hash rates shown in the screen. Antminer U2 should be around 1.6Gh/s.
The three speed numbers you see indicate the last 5s avg speed, the All Time Average (for this program run) and the Effective Average (actual performance taking into account failures etc).
While you won't get rich running a single Raspberry Pi Bitcoin Rig, you can learn about cryptocurrency, mining and of course the Raspberry Pi. As a tool for education, this can help you decide if you wish to invest in more appropriate equipment to mine cryptocurrency. Idea: Why not try bitcoin mining on a Raspberry Pi cluster?