Cloud mining is the process of buying CPU power from dedicated data centers who use their own equipment to mine cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) on your behalf.
The main advantage of this approach is that you don't need to have in-depth knowledge of mining hardware, nor buy expensive and hard-to-obtain devices. Renting 'hash power' (usually measured in Gigahertz per second or GH/s) also means you don't have to deal with the heat and noise that comes with a DIY mining project.
Many of these companies either source their own equipment or build it cheaply and have placed their data centers in countries like Iceland and China where electricity is cheap, passing the savings on to you.
In this guide, we will explore five of the most reputable cloud mining companies. As there are many scam outfits posing as miners, where possible we've chosen cloud miners who can prove that their data centers exist or are endorsed by a reputable firm. Take some time to do your own research before investing at your own risk, of course – ultimately this is your money.
If you are interested in cryptocurrencies but don't feel happy with the idea of mining, you can also simply purchase Bitcoin as an investment (see our guide on how to buy Bitcoins with Bitstamp). Without further ado, let’s move on to our selections for the best cloud mining providers.
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A well-established and highly popular cloud mining firm
As one of the oldest (it dates back to 2013) and largest cloud mining centers, there seems to be no better place to begin than with Genesis.
Its website offers a live feed of some of the data centers which are based in Iceland, a country where cheap geothermal electricity is readily available.
Mining contracts are technically available for all major cryptocurrencies and you can visit your online dashboard at any time to reallocate your purchased 'hash power' (so, for example, you could go 60% Bitcoin and 40% Litecoin).
In terms of fees, Genesis currently charges $0.14 per TH/s per day for mining Bitcoin. The price of other cryptocurrencies may vary so we encourage you to make your own enquiries. The website has a Payouts section which you can use to monitor how much you've mined. Due to high transaction fees on the network, your mined coins may need to meet a minimum threshold before the funds are actually transferred to your wallet.
The simple interface combined with Genesis Mining's solid reputation has meant that at times the company cannot keep up with demand for mining contracts (which tells a story of its own). At the time of writing only Bitcoin mining contracts were available for purchase, although this will likely change later in the year.
A major outfit backed by a big name in ASIC mining hardware
Hashnest was launched in 2014 by Bitmain, which is a world-renowned manufacturer of ASIC mining hardware. Bitmain also operates one of the largest mining pools in existence: Antpool. Combined with the photos of a handful of data centers on the Hashnest website, this is persuasive proof that the company is legitimate.
While Bitmain is based primarily in China, Hashnest has mining farms around the world, which benefit from low cost electricity.
The website currently offers a Payout Accelerated Cloud Mining Contract or PACMiC for short. The PACMiC is a type of electronic contract structured in such a way that Bitmain pays the maintenance costs of mining rigs (such as electricity), and all the mining revenue will be used to pay back the owner of the PACMiC. When the principal is not fully paid back, it will share profit with buyers.
This loosely translates as 6.0TH/s of hash power in exchange for 1 BTC. Hashnest claims this results in rolling profit pay-outs for each block found with an annualized ROI of over 14%.
Alternatively you can purchase hash power directly from Antminer devices such as the S9 which has a rate of around 12,5TH/s. You then pay a fixed maintenance fee depending on the efficiency of the device – for instance, the fee for the S9 is currently $0.19/TH/day.
Contracts for the Antminer devices are currently sold out but you can still buy a PACMiC contract if you have the funds.
You’ve got plenty of cryptocurrency options with this provider
Hashflare is a subsidiary of Hashcoins, another manufacturer of Bitcoin mining equipment which has been around since 2013. Its website gives a detailed rundown of the firm’s data center including pictures.
Hashflare offers you the chance to purchase hashpower for a variety of SHA-256 and Scrypt coins such as Bitcoin and Litecoin as well as Ethereum and ZCash. You're also free to choose your own mining pool.
Hashflare is open about its maintenance fees: they are $0.0035 for every 10 GH/s of SHA-256 coins and $0.005 for every 1 MH/s of Scrypt coins a day. Ethereum contracts are not subject to any maintenance fees. Your total pay-out will depend on the mining pool you've chosen and how much hash power you've allocated to it.
At the time of writing, only Ethereum mining contract was available, all others were out of stock.
As of January 2018, Hashflare has also temporarily suspended new Bitcoin withdrawals due to a large number of unconfirmed transactions. The company plans to resume withdrawals once this is resolved.
Bitcoin contracts with the ability to simulate profits before you commit
The Hashing24 team claims to have been involved in Bitcoin mining since 2012, although the website itself has only been around since 2016. The company appears to have no data centers of its own, rather, it has partnered with big name providers such as BitFury to lease hashpower to customers. Note that Hashing24 is mentioned on Bitfury's website, which may reassure customers that the operation is real.
If you're new to cloud mining, you can also use Hashing24's demo mode to simulate a Bitcoin mining contract to see how much you might earn. This is a good way to help you understand some of the concepts behind cloud mining, but won't necessarily let you project future profits, as mining difficulty and BTC price will vary over time (naturally).
After registering you can currently sign up for Bitcoin mining contracts only, for a period of 36 months. If these are sold out (as they were at the time of writing) you can also try out Hashing24's auction feature which allows you to bid on hashpower from existing customers.
Regardless of how you purchase your mining contract, Hashing24 charges a flat fee of $0.00033 per GH/s per day. There's also a one-time fee for purchasing hashing power with a particular host.
Smart on the security front, with the ability to calculate daily profits
Eobot has been around since 2013 and is registered in California. Its owners have decided to remain anonymous, so there are no photos or office addresses on the main website.
Eobot's site did not play nicely with our ad-blocker on registration, forcing us to use another browser. However, once sign up was complete, we saw that the website notifies users when someone logs into their account from a new IP address. Two-factor authentication is also enabled by default, meaning that in order to access your account, you need to provide a code sent by email as well as your password.
Eobot offers mining contracts either for 24 hours or five years. The website is neatly laid out and also offers a fee estimator to allow you to calculate daily profits in exchange for the hashpower you purchase. Its main page is very clear that most investments will take around 52 months to break even.
Maintenance fees are currently set at $0.00021/GH/s/day. Unlike other cloud mining websites we've reviewed, Eobot also offers an easy to understand explanation of how maintenance fees work. Contracts are available for a wide range of cryptocurrencies.
Due to the owner's desire for anonymity and in order to stay within the law, direct deposit of funds by bank transfer isn't supported. You can, however, buy contracts with Bitcoin and via a USD credit card using Epay.
Top image credit: Hashing24
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