Right now, two of the biggest emerging markets in America are cannabis and cryptocurrency. Both of these industries were considered to be “shady” in the past, with marijuana being illegal until recently and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin being associated with black market dealings on sites like Silk Road and Alpha Bay. Both are exploding on to the mainstream right now, and it is the perfect time to get in on what could be two of the biggest industries of the near future. In this article we are going to explore an exciting way to combine these emerging industries at home, and save money in the mean time.
Legalize It: The Growing Cannabis Industry
Although cannabis still remains a Schedule I substance federally, states are rapidly passing laws to allow both recreational and medical use, either by legalizing cannabis entirely or decriminalizing cannabis possession laws. Mainstream news sites are reporting that pot could be legal in all 50 states by as early as 2021.The laws vary from state to state, but as of 2017 there are only three states remaining that still have a total prohibition of cannabis. A green tide is sweeping across the nation, and cannabis growing and consumption is expanding into a multi billion dollar industry. With the potential to create millions of jobs, the cannabis industry is said to be one of the best hopes for reviving a strong middle class in America.
Grow Your Own: Medical and recreational cannabis legalization opens the doors for all kinds of businesses to emerge, from growers and dispensaries to edibles, consumption equipment like pipes and rolling papers, and growing equipment for home based or professional grow ops. It also opens the doors for everyday Joes and Janes to take matters into their own hands and grow their own marijuana at home. It takes a specific environment to grow weed, with a certain amount of heat, light and humidity necessary to produce good buds. Marijuana plants typically enjoy the same climate as humans – slightly humid and pretty warm. Keeping your plants at the optimal temperature requires either a sealed grow room or a grow cabinet or tent. If you use HID lighting, you need powerful fans to dissipate the heat that they put out. This wastes massive amounts of electricity, which can get expensive. If you use LED lights, you often have the opposite problem and have to use a heater to maintain the right temperature, which also costs a significant amount in extra electricity. Read on to learn how you can use cryptocurrency to solve both of these potentially expensive problems.
What Is Cryptocurrency?
If you do not know about cryptocurrency already, now is definitely the time to learn. Cryptocurrencies, or crypto coins, are digital currencies that use cryptographic algorithms to ensure a level of safety, security and transparency that physical and fiat currencies cannot offer. The backbone of cryptocurrencies is Blockchain technology. A blockchain is a distributed database that acts as a digital ledger, keeping track of every transaction that happens in real time. Cryptocurrencies make transferring money easy, fast and inexpensive when compared with traditional banking. The first and most valuable cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. Bitcoin has practically become a household name in 2017, and in the eight years since its inception it has gone from being worth less than one cent per Bitcoin to over $1,500 a piece. Bitcoin is far from perfect however, and alternative cryptocurrencies – Known as altcoins – are being created at a feverish pace to fill the holes and meet the needs of various industries, from cannabis to mortgages and everything in between.
Mining Bitcoin and Altcoins: If you want to get in on the Bitcoin market, or any other cryptocurrency, you have three options. Either purchase coins using “real money” using an online exchange, accept crypto coins as payment for goods or services, or mine the coins yourself. Each cryptcurrency that is developed comes with a finite amount of “coins” that will be created during the life of the currency. In order to maintain the validity of the blockchain, each transaction that happens across the entire network must be verified and added in as an individual “block” in the chain. Miners use their computer’s processing power to solve the cryptographic algorithms required to place a new block in the chain. Whoever solves a given problem first gets to add that block in, and claim a monetary reward for their efforts. This amount of computing power can require a very powerful (and expensive) set of hardware. Mining computers also use a lot of electricity and put out a significant amount of heat, usually requiring fans to run on them 24/7 to keep them cool. The added cost of electricity fopr both the hardware and the fans makes the profit margin for mining very low for everyday people. Large mining operations are usually run by large corporations, while DIY at home mining is usually reserved for hobbyists, not anyone looking to make a significant amount of money.
Altcoins: Spend a Little Now for a Big Return in the Future. Although mining Bitcoin can only provide pennies per day at its current value, what about altcoins? As we mentioned above, there are hundreds of altcoins on the market today that fill all kinds of niche markets. For cannabis alone, there are 10 different cryptocurrencies competing for their share of the pie. Other altcoins such as Etherium, Litecoin, Monero, ZCash and Dash are still profitable to mine because they have not yet reached anywhere near the same value level as Bitcoin. It takes some skill and knowledge to predict which altcoins have a chance of becoming “big fish” in the future, but if you get in on the right ones early it could mean huge profits later on. Just imagine if you had started mining Bitcoin in 2009 when it was worth only $0.0001 USD per coin!
Combining Mining and Growing To Save Money on Electricity: By now you may have put the pieces together on your own: Both growing cannabis and mining cryptocurrencies cost you a lot of extra money in electricity costs, either in heating or cooling your grow room, and cooling own your mining rig. This extra electricity usage can completely cancel out your mining profits if you have a small operation. Instead of wasting money on electricity, put your hobbies to work for each other and you can save a lot of cash each month. You may be wondering, will this actually work? Well, the answer is yes – You can use your mining rig to heat your grow room, while simultaneously using your grow room to keep your rig cool. It does not take much special equipment either, just some extra ducting and a case for your rig.
LED Lights And Mining: A Match Made in Heaven
Heating Your Grow Room While Cooling Your Mining Rig: Instead of purchasing a separate heater for your LED-lit grow room, you can use a small fan and ducting to heat the room with the heat from your mining rig. The mining rig should be housed inside of a protective tent. You can either use a pop-up tent,build a small box or use a plastic tote. The idea here is to trap the heat so that you can harness it in heating your grow room.
The next step is to pass that heat along to your grow room. You may already have powerful inline fans inside of your grow op, and it so those will work perfectly. Otherwise, don’t worry about purchasing something too expensive – a smaller 6″ fan will do fine for a small to mid sized grow tent. Using simple and inexpensive materials (duct tape works great) you can attach ducting to your mining rig enclosure and then into your grow tent or cabinet.
Install the ducting and fan so that the air flows from behind your mining rig into your grow tent. Make sure to seal off the vent holes in the top of your tent to trap that heat inside. One disadvantage of this system is that it will not with with automatic temperature controllers – You have to be there to monitor the temperature manually and adjust accordingly.
HPS/HID Lighting and Mining: Not So Hot
Can I Cool My Grow Room and Mining Rig Simultaneously? It is very unlikely that you can use one fan to cool both your grow room and your mining rig, but with the right equipment it might be possible. The main thing to watch out for is humidity. Grow rooms that use HID lighting not only get hot, they get humid as well. If any of that humidity gets to your mining rig, it can destroy the electronics and cost you thousands of dollars.
The illustration below shows an idea for how you can accomplish this tricky feat. The key is to make sure that there is an effective vent to let the heated air pass through and out of your growing area as quickly as possible. You will need a very powerful fan for it to work. it may even be necessary to add a suplemental fan at the vent hole to help suck the air out more efficiently. Both your mining rig and your cannabis plants need to be in sealed containers in order to create the vacuum necessary for this to work. Grow cabinets are preferable to tents or rooms in this case, and an airtight box like a large Rubbermaid container may be your best bet for your rig. Just cut holes for the ducting, and seal the edges with duct tape to make it air tight.
Putting It All Together: How To Build A Sweet Mining Rig
Now that you know how to mine for Bitcoins and Altcoins without throwing money away on excess electricity, it is time to put together your rig. Hardware requirements vary for different cryptocurrencies, but there are enough similarities that you can customize a quality, heavy duty rig that can mine for multiple currencies at once. You can either purchase all of the hardware separately, put together a pre-made kit with all of the hardware, or you can purchase a turn-key system that is ready to go. Here are the best options for your custom mining rig:
1. Best Litecoin Mining Rig: Custom Built Litecoin Mining Rig 3mh
If you want to mine Litecoin or other Scrypt based altcoins, here is a completely ready to go rig that you can just plug in and start mining immediately. It includes 4 GPUS: ASUS Radeon R9 280x 3GB DDR5 (R9280X-DC2T-3GD5). Keep in mind, this will produce less heat than a custom rig with 6 GPUs. The Motherboard is a MSI 970A-G43 and it includes an AMD Sempron 145 2.8GhzSSD:8GB USB CPU, as well as 8GB USB SSD. Although this rig is specialized for Litecoin, it can be used to mine other Scrypt based cryptocurrencies as well.
Price: $2,399 with free shipping
- Relatively inexpensive
- Mines all Scrypt based cryptocoins
- Completely ready to go and start mining right away
- Not as powerful/profitable as ASIC based miners
- Only one review on Amazon
- Only 4 GPUs
2. Best ASIC Mining Rig: Custom Built Litecoin Mining Rig 3mh
ASIC based miners are the most profitable on the market right now for Scrypt based cryptocurrencies. This machine is super compact, efficient and easy to use and has a built in power supply. You can use this to mine any Scrypt based coin – Litedoin, Dogecoin, Feathercoin and more. If includes an Embedded CGMiner with complete stand-alone operation. After configuring it, the machine mines alone without a PC connection required. this machine operates at 800-900W, which is going to produce less heat than customized 6-GPU machines. This 90 MH/s rig has 5 modules with Innosilicon A2 Terminator 28nm Scrypt ASIC Chips .
- ASIC based, more profitable
- No PC connection needed
- Built in power supply
- Most expensive turn-key machine
- Only 5 GPUs
- Will emit less heat than custom machines
2. Best Compact Mining Rig: AntMiner L3+ ~504MH/s @ 1.6W/MH ASIC Litecoin Miner (504MH)
Antminer is a great brand for turn-key crypto miners. Their miners are small, efficient, and very effective. This one is designed for Litecoin but can be used for other Scrypt based coins as well. It dos not come with a power supply, this must be purchased separately. This is the fastest Litecoin miner on the market today, with a hash rate of 504MH/s ±7%. This miner has a power consumption of 800W ±10%, and has a built-in controller – No separate host computer required for operation.
- Pretty expensive
- Power supply not included
- Doesn’t put out as much heat as custom machines
Building A Custom Rig
1. Best Mining Rig Frame: FLOW 6.1 GPU Mining Rig Open Air Frame Computer Case Chassis with 6 USB Risers
This 6-riser chassis is perfect for setting up a home mining operation and it is our top pick for an open air frame. It supports up to 6 GPUs and 2 power supplies for maximizing your mining potential. It is especially great for mining Etherium (ETH) or Bitcoin (BTC). This chassis comes with 6 PCI-E 16x to 1x USB Powered Riser Kits for secure and reliable connections and consistent power delivery. The frame is made of lightweight aluminium, coupled with acrylic panels for mounting your hardware. It also includes all of the screws you need to attach your power supplies, GPUs, motherboard and hard drives. It has a small footprint as well, at only 14.5 inches wide, 11 inched deep, 21.5 inches high. Keep in mind this is the frame only: All hardware must be purchased separately.
Price: $224.95 with free shipping
- Compact with small footprint
- All aluminium frame with acrylic risers
- Very stylish in all black
- Most expensive frame
- No hardware included
- Only 6 risers
Find more FLOW 6.1 GPU Mining Rig Open Air Frame Computer Case Chassis with 6 USB Risers information and reviews here.
2. Best Custom Made Mining Rig Frame: Deep In The Mines LLC GPU Mining Rig Open Air Frame Case with 6 USB Risers
This custom kit by Deep In The Mines LLC is a nicely made, high quality chassis that does not look like a typical computer frame. It is no frills, all function. This lightweight aluminium frame includes an open air case, 6 Ver006 X1 to X16 PCI Risers, and 1 Motherboard tray with 4 adhesive standoffs. It also includes all of the cables needed to connect your 6 GPUs. You can either purchase this frame bare bones, or with a power supply included for a higher price.
Price: $215 without power supply or $305 with power supply, both with free shipping
Buy the GPU Mining Rig Open Air Frame Case with 6 USB Risers here or the GPU Mining Rig Open Air Frame Case with 6 USB Risers With Power Supply here.
- Relatively inexpensive
- You can choose to purchase the power supply along with the frame
- Innovative design
- Larger footprint
- Not as durable as a rectangular shaped frame
- Gets expensive when you purchase power supply with it
3. Best Inexpensive Mining Rig Frame: DEG-CONNECT GPU Mining Rig Open Air Frame Case + 6 x Riser Cards
This inexpensive case is constructed of wood to save money, and is not much heavier than aluminium. It includes 6 x Riser Cards and the cords needed to connect them to the frame. If you want to get started for less cash up front, this case is a great option for you.
- Very inexpensive
- Wood is still light weight
- Comes with wires for connecting GPUs
- Not as durable as aliminium
- Looks kind of cheap and like it would be easy to DIY
- Comes with no hardware
4. Best Barebones Mining Rig Kit: MCS Barebones Computer Mining Kit
This kit includes everything you need to hook in to one of the open air frames above and get started mining. Each Kit Includes the Following Hardware:10x Gigabyte RX 470 Graphics Cards, 1x Gigabyte 970A-DS3P Micro ATX Motherboard, 1x EVGA Power Supply, 1x 2Gb DDR3 DIMM Memory Module. This kit makes it simple and easy to start mining right away with no need to choose your own hardware.
Price: $1,909.99 with free shipping
- You do not have to choose your own hardware
- Includes 10 GPUs
- Easy to install inside of a chassis
- More expensive than choosing your own
- Power supply is not going to put off as much heat as a higher wattage
- No choice if you do not love every component
5. Best Motherboard: ASRock H81 PRO BTC R2.0 LGA 1150 Intel H81 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Motherboard
You will need a motherboard to connect all of your mining hardware, and it does not get any better than this ASRock Intel Motherboard. It has an Intel H81 Chipset, and Dual Channel DDR3/DD3L Memory Technology with a max capacity of 16GB. It can support the best GPUs with a max shared memory of 512 MB.
Price: $339 with free shipping
- 16GB capacity
- High quality
- Easy to install
- No free shipping
- Not many reviews on Zmazon
- Relatively expensive
Find more ASRock H81 PRO BTC R2.0 LGA 1150 Intel H81 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Motherboard information and reviews here.
6. Best Inexpensive Motherboard: ASRock ATX DDR3 1066 LGA 1150 Motherboard Z97 ANNIVERSARY
This less expensive motherboard from ASRock has the processing power you need to run a nice mining operation from your home. It has an Intel Z97 Chipset, LGA 1150 processor socket and DDR3 1066 RAM. It is about half the price and still great quality for mining crypto.
- Very inexpensive
- Reputable brand
- Easy to install inside of a chassis
- Not as high quality as more expensive motherboards
- May take longer to ship
- No choice if you do not love every component
7. Best 1200W Power Supply: Deep in The Mines LLC 94% Platinum 1200 Watt Power Supply for GPU Open Rig Mining
If you are looking for an inexpensive power supply, this 1200W model from Deep in The Mines LLC is an excellent choice. It is a 94% Platinum Efficiency power supply designed specifically for mining cryptocurrencies. It features Four 6 Pin PCI to 6 Pin PCI Express cables in 24 inch lengths and is capable of using 110v-240v input. Standard power supply power cable not included.
Price: $109.99 with free shipping
- Free shipping
- Reputable brand
- Not too expensive
- Power supply cable not included
- Not many left in stock
- Not many review on Amazon
Find more Deep in The Mines LLC 94% Platinum 1200 Watt Power Supply for GPU Open Rig Mining information and reviews here.
8. Best Quality Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 1300 G2 80+ GOLD, 1300W Fully Modular NVIDIA SLI and Crossfire Ready 10 Year Warranty Power Supply 120-G2-1300-XR
If you want something either more powerful or less powerful than 1200W, this owoer supply from EVGA comes in sizes from 550W up to 1600W. Keep in min that the higher the wattage, the more heat this power supply will put out. EVA power supplies are extremely well reviewed, with a 4.5 stat average out of over 3,000 reviews. This is the brand that is included in pre-selected mining rig kids. These power supplies are 80 PLUS Gold certified, with up to 90% efficiency under typical loads. They are extremely reliable with Japanese capacitors and 140mm double ball bearings. Each power supply has heavy-duty protections, including OVP (Over Voltage Protection), UVP (Under Voltage Protection), OCP (Over Current Protection), OPP (Over Power Protection), and SCP (Short Circuit Protection) They also come with a 10 year warranty, just in case.
Buy th EVGA SuperNOVA 1300 G2 80+ GOLD, 1300W Fully Modular NVIDIA SLI and Crossfire Ready 10 Year Warranty Power Supply 120-G2-1300-XR here.
- 10 year warranty
- Top brand
- High quality and durable
- Some wattage options are out of stock
- No free shipping
Find more EVGA SuperNOVA 1300 G2 80+ GOLD, 1300W Fully Modular NVIDIA SLI and Crossfire Ready 10 Year Warranty Power Supply 120-G2-1300-XR information and reviews here.
9. Best 290X GPU: Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 4GB GDDR5 Dual DVI-D/HDMI/DP PCI-Express Graphics Card (21226-00-40G)
The GPUs you select for your mining rig are arguably the most important part of the puzzle. GPUs, or graphics cards, provide the processing power to run the complicated algorithms that are required for crypto mining. You need a powerful set of GPUs in order to make a profit mining. This GPU from Sapphire is the best 290X on the market. Specs include 512-bit GDDR5, 2 x DVI-D, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort.
Price: $335.88 after $20 rebate, with free shipping
Buy the Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 4GB GDDR5 Dual DVI-D/HDMI/DP PCI-Express Graphics Card (21226-00-40G) here.
- Very durable
- Reputable brand
- Easy to install and powerful
- Relatively expensive
- Reviewers did not like the warranty customer service
- No other hardware included
Find more Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 4GB GDDR5 Dual DVI-D/HDMI/DP PCI-Express Graphics Card (21226-00-40G) information and reviews here.
10. Best 380X GPU: ASUS STRIX-R9380X-OC4G-GAMING Graphic Card
Here is an excellent quality 380X gaming graphics card from ASUS, which is an extremely well known and reliable brand. This GPU runs very quietly and features exclusive alloyed components for less friction, less noise and longer lifespan. The ASUS Exclusive Auto Extreme Technology eliminates human variances during PCB component assembly and increases reliability. Using ASUS’s GPU Tweak II you can tweak GPU performance and fan profiles with one click, or manually.
Price: $199.99 with free shipping
- Very high quality
- Well known and well loved brand
- Less expensive
- Not too many reviews on Amazon
- Some reviewers still found it loud
- Runs very cool, counterintuitive for this situation (but not too cool to work)
11. Best 480X GPU: MSI GAMING Radeon RX 480 GDDR5 4GB CrossFire VR Ready FinFET DirectX 12 Graphics Card (RX 480 ARMOR 4G OC)
Finally, here is the ideal 480X gpU for your mining rig. This card from MSI is a customer favorite, with over 600 positive reviews and an average of 4.5 stars on Amazon. Ths GPU comes in four different options, including 4G, 8G, and oc for both 4G and 8G. The Chipset is AMD Radeon rx 480 and it has AMD FreeSync technology.
Price: $269.99 with free shipping
Buy the Best 480X GPU: MSI GAMING Radeon RX 480 GDDR5 4GB CrossFire VR Ready FinFET DirectX 12 Graphics Card (RX 480 ARMOR 4G OC) here.
- 4.5 star average reviews
- 4G or 8G available
- Very high quality and durable
- Relatively expensive
- Prices vary
- No warranty
Find moreBest 480X GPU: MSI GAMING Radeon RX 480 GDDR5 4GB CrossFire VR Ready FinFET DirectX 12 Graphics Card (RX 480 ARMOR 4G OC) information and reviews here.
Want to find the best materials for your cannabis grow op, including lighting, fans, grow tents and grow cabinets and more? We have put together easy to use lists of the best equipment available for marijuana growers. Check out our posts about the best hydroponic lighting, including fluorescent bulbs, T5 fluorescents, LED lights, and everything else you need to grow great weed. You can even find ready-made hydroponic grow systems and watering systems that let you set up your grow op in less than a day.
Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.
Discuss on Facebook