Passive options for the little man?

Like many people, I am a late to the game player who is begging the coach to put me in.
I started ASIC Antminer mining BTC after the spike. Did that for about a year and just couldn’t keep carrying the electric costs. So I sold my hardware and started looking for younger projects.

I can’t afford to buy 8 GPUs to build a competitive GPU rig, plus I feel most of the coins are junk or so over mined like BTC that the ROI just isn’t there. That is when I learned of two different crypto philosophies.

When ever I looked into masternode/staking I found it to be out of my price range. I felt that I was again late to the game. The coins were difficult to mine and I don’t have 10s of thousands of dollars to buy the coin with fiat to stake. It also didn’t help that when I watched other people’s (not Vosk’s) YouTube videos that were 1-2 years old building out a masternode the price was half or worse between current price and recording price… Most of them also used VPS services to spin up a centralized cloud node and their profits were gone in VPS fees.

When I thought about the parts of a computer and technology that could be used in a decentralized world there is the CPU - Monero is the leader but again difficult to mine without high priced hardware. GPU - see above. RAM - Didn’t find anything. Hard Drive - Interesting thought and I found a couple projects that were HDD mining.

I took a couple days to do some research. It wasn’t a mainstream mining method. It wasn’t over taken by expensive customized devices making the little man ride the bench. I kept researching.

I found a project that had a good whitepaper, good activity on github, a lot of chat forum activity - direct live support for node operators, etc. I spend a fair amount of time reading docs and forums/chat history and decided that this was the passive income, low buy in, early adopter project I was looking for.

Based on the published hardware specs the project just wanted home based users that had extra hard drive space on a device that is always on anyways to just “rent” out your unused space. Hardware specs were pretty low, electric costs were built in as the device was already on, the obvious catch was internet throughput and bandwidth. Many USA residential homes have limited/capped internet or slow as heck internet. I just happen to have 1gig uncapped (lucky). I came up with a plan to build, what I thought, based on my research, would be a massive node. I didn’t want to just rent out the unused part of my desktops small hard drive (a TB or 2). I wanted to be the early ASIC to the game.

I hit up eBay and found myself a used Dell R5xx server with great specs that was built with extra bays and storage in mind. I then spent several days pricing out the best deal on hard drives. I couldn’t afford (or atleast convince the wife) new hard drives. Plus I wanted to keep the ROI low. I finally found a deal from a hightly trusted/rated seller and got 10 x 4TB drives for a great price. I know it sounds risky so once I got them I did tests and everything looked great. So now I have a storage based server and 40 TB of HDD. I’m in for about $450!!! Much cheaper than an Antminer or a GPU (let alone 8).

Free OS, lots of free server admin learning, networking, firewalling, and node building and I still am cheaper then anything else. I didn’t need to for project needs but personally I paid $112 for more RAM for other VMs.

So I have a fully operational HDD mining “rig” up and running. Even though it is not needed for the project, I did RAID as I did buy used HDDs and used equipment. Uptime and reputation do matter in this project. I didn’t allocate all the space to the node so I could play with other VMs.

I was stoked. Early to the game and didn’t cost much. The project had a solid road map and stage gates they were hitting. Moved from Alpha to Beta and my node has a solid reputation. Then this new device hits the market. No it’s not an ASIC hard drive or anything to ruin my profitability.
Raspberry Pi releases the Pi 4 with 4GB. Oh happy days. Many node operators were trying to run nodes on Pi 3s and having issus with uptime. Based on my server stats I knew a 4GB version would work just fine. Ordered a Pi 4 in the first wave this time I knew I couldn’t go big daddy with a RAID’d mega node so I hit up Amazon for a external laydown HDD USB 3 holder and a 6TB IronWolf drive.

Quickly got that bad boy spun up and operational. Now where to put it??? The project holds tight to a decentralized philosophy and put IP based restrictions to promote decentralization. So I wouldn’t profit from having 2 nodes in my house… Ring Ring - Hey mom how about a visit from your loving son. Oh and don’t mind the device I put in next to your router :slight_smile:

So now I have two decentralized nodes. Very little power. Very little costs. And the project has moved from Alpha to Beta to Production. I don’t have to do anything with the nodes. The project has updates and programming on lock. My Pi4 just runs. I have 100% up time and zero issues. My server also just runs. I have to do OS updates so I have just under 100% uptime but the project allows for small amounts of maintenance. I have earned several thousand tokens which I am hodling. The value of the tokens is equivalent to the cost of the server (minus RAM) already. Give it a couple more months and I might have the Pi4 and 6TB paid off too. Electricity is not even noticed on my bill. Internet is already needed and included (yeah even the free parts from my parents).

I am completely happy with the Storj Hard Drive Project. If you have some hard drives laying around and a computer always on: Turn it into a node - no joke. Got a Pi 4 and no ideas - use it for this.
Uncapped internet does matter tho… I have used 3.09TB of data on my server node and 1.39TB halfway through the month on my Pi node.

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I had that Pi app on my phone about a year ago I had no idea it was still a thing lol

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You can even do something like what you did with a beefy desktop. I had done a similar setup previously and all I did was buy a PCI 2 Gigabit Ethernet card for it (plus the motherboard built in). I ran three cables to the router (redundant) and host virtual machines with independent NICs to my router. The only downside I had with it was that my public IP was broadcasted and one time my IP changed because I didn’t pay to have it as a static address…not the end of the world, but I lost 2 days of hosting. If you don’t mind me asking, which project did you join?

storj - node= storj.io customer=tardigrade.io
One could use DDNS to protect against residential IP changes - noip.com

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That’s true, I didn’t think about that. Good point! Thanks for sharing your project, I hadn’t heard of that one and it seems pretty neat.

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Hi,
Newbie here.
Thanks for this post.
Ive been talking to Storj about doing this because Ive got myself a Pi 4gb and a unlimited broadband connection. I thought i could use all 2xUSB 2 and 2xUSB 3 ports for external HDD,s. Then found out the Pi uses only 1 USB Chanel for all devices plugged in. So wondering if anyone else found this a problem before i go and trash my gear ?

Cheers

There are a couple different HDD mining options out there (Storj, Filecoin, Sia, Burst)
In this forum you will see talks and Vosk did videos about Filecoin and maybe the others too

Filecoin appears to require some beefy hardware and isn’t mainnet yet
Storj is mainnet so I picked that one.

Basically, I started just like you, playing with a PI and wanting to learn Linux to make passive income.
I installed the Rasbian Buster Headless OS
I then went to Youtube, Raspberry PI forums, and Google to:
remote config Raspberry Pi 4
Securing your Raspberry Pi - Raspberry Pi Documentation
Passwordless SSH access - Raspberry Pi Documentation

So I would recommend changing default usernames, passwords, user access rights, setting up UFW ( UFW), changing your default ssh port to something besides 22, do as much PI hardening as you can

Once you have the PI up and running securely, I then added a USB 3.0 hard drive caddie to the system. Because the PI only uses 1 USB bus I didn’t do multiple caddies. You can look on Amazon (or your favorite computer retailer) for hard drive caddies
dual - https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-External-Duplicator-Function-EC-HD2B/dp/B0759567JT/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=Sabrent+hard+drive+caddie&qid=1600715263&sr=8-8
single - https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-External-Lay-Flat-Docking-EC-DFLT/dp/B00LS5NFQ2/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Sabrent+hard+drive+caddie+with+fan&qid=1600715345&sr=8-2

To maximize profits use hard drives you already have on hand. If you have the money to front now, I would grab the dual caddie and 2 IronWolf 10TB hard drives

Then Google how to setup mounted drives on a PI and look at stuff like Adding a second drive to LVM

Once you have the OS recognizing the HDD(s) then you can go to https://documentation.storj.io/
They have easy to walk through documentation about how to install Docker and run Storj via CLI
You will need to do port forwarding on your router and setup DDNS etc but everything is right there and easy to do.

If you do get stuck, search forum.storj.io for you problem and it will have been talked about

Not a PI but a helpful tutorial Storage Node Setup on Odroid HC2 - YouTube

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Do you know if you can mine with a GPU rig and also run storj at the same time? If so, I could be making use of all the unused space on my multiple SSD’s. Just curious!!

Also, external HDD will work for this as well right?

Yes. You only need 1 core so in theory you could CPU mine with the remaining cores, GPU mine, HDD mine and maximize the units potential income