Can you mine cryptocurrency on the Raspberry Pi 3 B+?

Raspberry Pi HDMI
Raspberry Pi HDMI (Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

Best answer: Yes, you can mine cryptocurrency with a Raspberry Pi. However, it's extremely difficult to turn any profit as the cost of electricity can outweigh the return due to the Raspberry Pi's relatively low performance when calculating hashes. A dedicated mining rig like the AntMiner V9 is a much better option.

Amazon: Raspberry Pi 3 B+ ($40)

Amazon: AntMiner V9 ($103)

An exercise in counterproductivity

Cryptocurrency is "mined" by calculating complex equations on a computer. Any modern computer — even a smartphone — can be used to mine coin, but the hard part is mining enough of it to make things worthwhile.

Cryptocurrency value usually works on two sliding scales; as more is mined it becomes tougher to mine more and the value increases. However, these scales aren't equal and even though the value may skyrocket, the complexity of mining them has skyrocketed more. Today, mining popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin on a Raspberry Pi would cost more in electricity that you would earn in profit.

You could, in theory, mine newer coin that hasn't become as popular. This means it's easier to find new coin but it also means the value is lower. Should a new currency follow the trend we've seen from currencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, the few pennies of profit you make each day could turn into quite the sum of money in the future.

Mining cryptocurrency with a Raspberry Pi can be fun, but that should be the only reason you try. It's simply not profitable. A much better option would be a dedicated ASIC miner like the AntMiner V9. It offers an introduction to mining but has a much greater potential to break even by mining enough coin to pay for its power usage. And if coin prices rise, it can even be profitable.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.