Why do they say bitcoins are mined

The answer is, as Nate explained, that the miner is a sunk cost. Obviously, no sane person would buy a miner if they knew they would be in the situation you described.

The future value of Bitcoins is almost irrelevant to the profitability of mining. You can get the same exposure to the profitability of Bitcoins by buying and holding. (The contrary assumption leads to comically absurd results.)

Sane people buy Bitcoin mining hardware because they expect to do better than they would if they used that same money to buy Bitcoins. Changes in difficulty or the cost of electricity may result in them not making money, but no human endeavor is certain to succeed.

As soon as it costs more to provide electricity to the miner than the value of the coins mined, the miner get shut off and retired.

answered Jul 15 '14 at 9:01

David SchwartzDavid Schwartz

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