Last updated on February 14th, 2022 at 09:20 am
This article was written as an experiment for educational purposes. I am in no way responsible for any losses that you might sustain.
In this article we are going to attempt to mine one of the most popular cryptocurrencies Ether in the cloud and show how profitable (or unprofitable) cloud mining really is.
For this purpose we are going to setup 1 mining virtual machine in Microsoft Azure cloud service, run it for 10 hours and then calculate how much we have earned.
Calculating potential income
Let’s begin by looking at the hardware we will be using.
Microsoft Azure offers NCv3-series virtual machines which have NVIDIA Tesla V100 graphics cards. These cards have a GV100 chip with 5120 CUDA cores and clock speed up to 1455 MHz.
A quick search for NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPU Ether mining hashrate shows 94 MH/s. With ETH exchange rate of 742 USD this would give us approximately $130 per month.
Exploring the costs
Since we want the lowest possible hourly rate, we will be using Azure spot instances. Using them gives us a significant discount with a drawback that Microsoft can evict (or deallocate) our VM if the VM price rises above our max price. As a result, we can have almost a 90% price reduction, compared to pay-as-you-go rates.
As we can see, at the moment of writing this article NC6s_v3 VM with 1 NVIDIA Tesla V100 graphics card costs about $0.5 per hour, which would be approximately $360 per month. So far, it doesn’t look like we are going to make any profit.
Cloud Mining Statistics
Anyway, let’s ssh into the VM and take a look at the hardware.
[email protected]:~$ lspci -vnn | grep NVIDIA 1d61:00:00.0 3D controller : NVIDIA Corporation GV100GL [Tesla V100 PCIe 16GB] [10de:1db4] (rev a1) Subsystem: NVIDIA Corporation GV100 [Tesla V100 PCIe] [10de:1214]
It looks like we have the exact hardware that was in the VM specs. Let’s continue by installing the NVIDIA drivers and firing up the miner.
i 07:42:10 ethminer Job: 8f215f0c… asia1.ethermine.org [22.214.171.124:4444] i 07:42:14 ethminer Job: dab6ccb8… asia1.ethermine.org [126.96.36.199:4444] m 07:42:14 ethminer 0:01 A1 91.75 Mh - cu0 91.75 i 07:42:18 ethminer Job: 5c5c0993… asia1.ethermine.org [188.8.131.52:4444] m 07:42:19 ethminer 0:01 A1 91.74 Mh - cu0 91.74 i 07:42:22 ethminer Job: f9c24923… asia1.ethermine.org [184.108.40.206:4444] i 07:42:22 ethminer Job: b3ba6c6e… asia1.ethermine.org [220.127.116.11:4444] i 07:42:22 ethminer Job: 10476781… asia1.ethermine.org [18.104.22.168:4444] m 07:42:24 ethminer 0:01 A1 91.75 Mh - cu0 91.75
The miner reports 91.74 MH/s at 100% GPU Utilization. Let’s take a look at the mining pool’s statistics.
And the same statistics in USD.
As we can see in 11 hours we were able to earn about $1.95. This means that if we kept the VM running for a month, it would give us approximately $132. The monthly cost of running the VM is $360 which would translate into a monthly loss of $360 – $132 = $228.
February 2022 Update
As of February 14th, 2022, ETH price is 2855 USD. The NC6s_v3 machine now costs 1.144 per hour, which would be around $824 per month. If we ran that machine now for a month, it would give us around $518. So, as you can see, the result now is significantly worse, compared to our previous update.
March 2021 Update
As of March, 18th ETH price is 1816 USD. If we ran that VM for a month now, that would give us around $330, with the monthly cost being $360. This is still $30 short of being breakeven.
It comes as no surprise that mining in Azure is very unprofitable. Even if it was, remember that this is a spot instance with 20%+ eviction rate. Moreover, there are other factors in play, such as Ether price and Azure policies.