Most crypto enthusiasts have without any doubt tried many options to obtain crypto assets. This of course includes mining. I have been a proud owner of Innosilicon T2TZ equipment (illustratve picture).
For a while they worked fine (they still do perform seamlessly), however the bitcoin network hash rate exploded briefly touching 100 EH/s and still hovers around 90 EH/s. The brief dip in hashrate yesterday was very short lived and we are still up again the 90 EH/s rate. Some tried to explain the dip with turning off old mining equipment such as Antminer S9s and similar, however it went back up very fast. As a result difficulty has been rapidly increasing and exploded as well - from roughly 7.4T in June and projected to go to 12.70 T in a couple of days.
As a result my equipment, which is not old yet and surely not paid off is already outdated. Increases in the hashrate would be equal to adding more than 500 000 new pieces of the latest models of equipment ranging 43-70 TH/s capabilities. While large scale mining is done with access to very cheap electricity, the average miner is undoubtedly suffering:
So it turns out I am already outdated. The long expected correlation price increase in Bitcoin is not happening as price has been boxed in a descending range since the same period hashrate and difficulty has been rising. This is very unfortunate and as of today my equipment is off the grid. Yesterday's dip in hashrate seemed the logical response in the equation - only it was very short-lived. That is unfortunate for the average crypto enthusiast garage miner. We cannot compete with large Chinese and Canadian outfits anymore. As every crypto enthusiast and hobby miner - now I hope bitcoin price to respond on the other end of this profitability equation - everyone will be better off.
If you still decide to mine and you are located in Europe, I would like to recommend Coin Mining Central as your shop for equipment. Bulk deals (over 5 pieces of equipment) are available and I have already very positive experience - https://coinminingcentral.com/ . Be aware that equipment usually arrives from Hong Kong and VAT and tariffs may apply wherever in the EU you may be located.
Being located in Europe I have mostly worked with Slush Pool https://slushpool.com/ and I am quite satisfied with user interface, equipment management and mobile application.
Another of my mining attempts has been cloud mining. My main source is a company and web site called Hash.pro - my referral link https://hash.pro?a%2FFW2MKX. I have bought a 10 TH/s yearly contract, which costed me $45 per 1 TH/s. As it stands, I will not be able to turn positive ROI with this difficulty and BTC price development. They charge $1.8 daily (settled once per day) for electricity, which is somewhat lower to what I achieve in my garage, but not by much. Profitability is decreasing every day and I may get in a situation to be at risk of losing my annual contract (eventuality is 30 negative profitability days)
Mining capacity is now going at $8 per TH/s on Hash.pro - way cheaper than my past experience, but this is the risk of getting engaged in mining activity.
My analysis was focused only on Bitcoin mining. Of course my equipment can be used for other SHA-256 algorithm alternatives - I have not found a viable and lucrative one yet. Cloud mining including Hash.pro is not limited to Bitcoin only. Hash.pro offers alternatives for several assets and as of yesterday they had capacity to offer for Zcash as well.
As it stands today, my crypto enthusiast mining activity may be on the decline. I surely hope I will be to continue mining and obtaining crypto assets in this way.
My main concern is that mining is focused in 7-8 large pools and most equipment located in few locations around the world. This has raised many questions regarding the decentralized nature and the idea of Bitcoin and crypto as a whole. The idea of bitcoin would get very tarnished if it turns out that like a game of monopoly mining ends up under control of select few at the end.
At the very least at 90 EH/s and 12.70 T difficulty we could safely say we have a viable and healthy network in Bitcoin.