A Dogecoin mining adventure
In 2013 I started mining Dogecoin as a distraction from my stressful job. At the time, a company was offering a VPS for a one time payment. It was “free for life” after that. Of course, this model doesn’t work and eventually they started charging people an annual fee, which is when we parted ways. The way the model worked is you pay the one time fee for units toward a VPS. Over time, I had purchased many small VPSes worth of units for projects, which I was no longer working on. I figured I should put them to work, so I took all of the units and built one larger machine to mine Dogecoin.
This turned into a cat and mouse game with the company’s Sysadmins. They would see the CPU was completely consumed and reboot the VPS.
I would discover the miner software wasn’t running and restart it. They would see the CPU pinned again and reboot the VPS. Rinse and repeat.
At this point, however, I thought the miner was crashing. I needed to gather more data on what was causing it to crash. I set up monitoring for the dogecoin miner service. I was hoping to correlate something to the crashing. Unexpectedly it was the server rebooting. A little more investigating showed me that it was the Sysadmins rebooting the servers.
This is when it became a game for me. The SRE in me saw this as a problem to solve. As mentioned I had monitoring set up, so I was immediately logging in to start the mining service by hand. I needed to automate the restart processes and wrote a Docker container for the miner. You can see the crusty old code on GitHub. I am not sure why I went with Docker as opposed to an Upstart script. I think I just wanted to learn more Docker, but I can’t say for certain. The reason is lost to time.
It took a little bit to get the container working the way I wanted. They would reboot the server and it might not restart correctly or wouldn’t log correctly or some such thing. I’d tweak it and wait for the next reboot.
Eventually they gave up restarting my VPS. After months of reboots, nobody said anything. I lost interest after that point and left it running.
As mentioned at the start, this was just a lark that turned into months of fun. By 2015, I mined about 7000. At .0015¢ it was worth $11 USD.
Fast forward to mid-pandemic, an electric car manufacturer posted that they will accept payment for their cars with Dogecoin. The price of Dogecoin jumps to like .50¢ a coin. I was a bit late to notice this, so I caught it on the slide back down and cashed out about .11¢ a share.
Considering it was a bunch of fun and just the one time cost of the VPSes, I’ll take it.