Ethereum Miners Likely Lost Money During the Past Two Years

It’s no secret that cryptocurrency prices have plummeted, and the potential profits from GPU mining have gone right along with them. It’s been a while since we’ve updated our best GPUs for mining because it’s not advisable to invest in new hardware at this point, nor has it been for many months. 

But we were curious about the potential profits miners may or may not have realized over the past two years, so we decided to do some research based on the price of Ethereum versus the cost of hardware and power. In short: if you didn’t sell your currency before the crash, you have probably spent more than you earned.

Below, we’ve selected ten of the most popular graphics cards for cryptocurrency miners. These also happen to match up nicely with the best graphics cards for gaming, assuming you could actually find any of the GPUs in stock for a reasonable price. To keep things simple, we’re only looking at Nvidia’s original non-LHR models to give us the standpoint of people who might have picked up a card right on the day of the GPU launch.

The numbers we’ll present assume 24/7 mining, with no pool fees. We’ve used our own calculations for power draw and hash rates, erring perhaps on the higher end of the profitability spectrum. We’ve also used a price per kWh of $0.10, which may or may not be similar to what you’d pay, but it represents at least an easy starting point. Finally, we’ve calculated things with no selling of mined coins — the “HODL” mindset, in other words.

These are strict numerical estimates, which are almost certainly better than what anyone doing real mining experienced over the past 20 months or so. We’re also not including the cost of the rest of the PC, and prices on GPUs were all over the place so we’ve used a somewhat conservative estimate, meaning most people paid more than what we’re showing in the table. You should probably add at least $750 for the cost of a CPU, motherboard, PSU, RAM, storage and case. We’ll stop there and let the numbers speak for themselves.


Ethereum Mining Since GPU Launch
RTX 3090 RTX 3080 RTX 3070 RTX 3060 Ti RTX 3060 RX 6900 XT RX 6800 XT RX 6800 RX 6700 XT RX 6600 XT
Launch Date 9/24/2020 9/17/2020 10/29/2020 12/2/2020 2/25/2021 12/8/2020 11/18/2020 11/18/2020 3/18/2021 8/11/2021
Hash Rate (MH/s) 119 97 60 60 41 62 62 61 46 32
Power (Watts) 320 240 135 140 110 175 175 170 120 75
Total ETH Mined 2.709 2.294 1.21 1.076 0.492 1.09 1.17 1.152 0.495 0.17
Days Mined 641 648 606 572 487 566 586 586 466 320
ETH Value $3,247 $2,749 $1,450 $1,289 $589 $1,306 $1,402 $1,380 $594 $204
Power Cost $492 $373 $196 $192 $129 $238 $246 $239 $134 $58
Potential Earnings $2,754 $2,376 $1,254 $1,097 $461 $1,068 $1,156 $1,141 $459 $146
Approx. GPU Cost $2,500 $1,500 $1,000 $900 $750 $1,500 $1,350 $1,200 $1,000 $650
Net Profits (Loss) — GPU Only $254 $876 $254 $197 ($289) ($432) ($194) ($59) ($541) ($504)