You Can Mine Crypto With Just About Anything, Even a Commodore 64

You Can Mine Crypto With Just About Anything, Even a Commodore 64
Photo: Sascha Steinbach, Getty Images

Buying a high-end GPU is the fastest way to fill up your wallet with Ethereum, Litecoin, or whatever the cool kids are mining these days. But you can program virtually any computer to process hash functions — even the Commodore 64.

Spotted by TechRadar, YouTuber 8-Bit Show and Tell used C64 Bitcoin Miner, which is open-source mining software developed by Maciej “YTM/Elysium” Witkowiak, to mine with the a 40-year-old computer. Using a Commodore 64 to mine crypto is probably one of the most inefficient ways to do so, but not surprisingly, it can be done. You’ll operate at a loss, but it sure looks like a fun and interesting project.

With a 1.0MHz processor, a Commodore 64 can mine about 0.2 hash/s according to Witkowiak’s GitHub page. Factor in the power consumption (about 21W), cost per KWh (23 cents ($0.29) for the lowest usage tier where I live), and a pool gee (1%, although pool gees are generally between 1% and 3%), and you’re looking at a -$US3.48 ($4) loss each month, according to this handy dandy Bitcoin mining rate calculator. The C64 doesn’t handle 32-bit computations very efficiently, which is what the Bitcoin mining program uses. Look, $US3.48 ($4) isn’t a ton of money to lose every month, but who wants to lose any amount of money? That’s enough to buy a regular hamburger at In-N-Out.

Using a SuperCPU accelerator helped increase the hash rate a bit, because it has 20MHz of processing speed to the C64’s 1MHz. The SuperCPU was able to mine at a hash rate of 0.3 seconds compared to the 3.5 seconds the Commodore was getting on its own at the beginning of the video. When SuperCPU was optimised, the rate went down to 0.1 seconds

8-Bit Show and Tell’s video was inspired by YouTuber stacksmashing; the creator used a Raspberry Pi Pico as a link-cable to USB adaptor to mine crypto on an original Game Boy. A Commodore 64 and a Game Boy aren’t the only devices some people have used to mine crypto, either. Along with Raspberry Pis, others have used MacBooks, old computers, Android phones, and tons of other devices that aren’t great for mining. Even smart toasters. (Yes, toasters.)