A Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized computer with bundles of crypto potential. The tiny computers regularly feature as media centers or Network Attached Storage controllers. But did you know you can use a Raspberry Pi as the focal point of a cryptocurrency project?
Here are six crypto Raspberry Pi projects you can start right now!
Before delving into the list of Raspberry Pi cryptocurrency ideas, make sure you have the following hardware available:
- Raspberry Pi. Obvious, but you do need a Raspberry Pi to complete the following tutorials. Many tutorials use the Raspberry Pi 3 and its variants. However, several advise using the latest Raspberry Pi 4, while others advise using the earlier Raspberry Pi 2.
- Storage. Many of the following projects require a large storage device; consider a 128GB micro SD card at the minimum, and larger if you want to interact with the Bitcoin blockchain.
- Power Cable. For your Raspberry Pi; some projects require the hardware to remain online
- Ethernet Cable: Not 100-percent necessary if you have a Wi-Fi-enabled Raspberry Pi, but a wired device performs better than a wireless device.
- Input Devices: For the most part, you will interface with your Raspberry Pi directly through a mouse, keyboard, and monitor.
Raspberry Pi operating systems vary between tutorials, but most use the Raspbian Linux distro. Check out the ten other Linux distros a Raspberry Pi can run on our sister site, MakeUseOf.
If your Raspberry Pi cryptocurrency tutorial uses Raspbian, you can grab it here:
1. Use Raspberry Pi to Mine Cryptocurrency
The Raspberry Pi 4 (the latest model) is a significant upgrade from the previous version. You won’t be able to turn your solitary Raspberry Pi into a Bitcoin miner—let’s get that out of the way. But there are several smaller altcoins you can mine using a Raspberry Pi, such as Storj, Magi, Verium, and Raven.
Want to talk returns? At most, you’re going to mine a few cents of cryptocurrency per day. However, many of the cryptocurrencies you can mine using a Raspberry Pi are also Proof of Stake coins. As you accumulate more cryptocurrency, those coins are put to work, too.
Also, don’t be fooled by other guides that promise incredible returns from a Raspberry Pi. The overwhelming majority of those articles advise connecting expensive mining hardware to a Raspberry Pi. In that, they’re not wrong; they’re just not right.
2. Stake Cryptocurrency Using Raspberry Pi
Following on from mining cryptocurrency using a Raspberry Pi, you can also use the device to stake cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies that use Proof of Stake (PoS) algorithms instead of energy-intensive Proof of Work (PoW) algorithms bring the power back to end-users rather than the enormous mining pools.
The beauty of using a Raspberry Pi for staking is the low energy cost. You can leave a Raspberry Pi plugged in for days without noticing any considerable power expense, making your cryptocurrencies work for you without destroying your electric bill or requiring expensive hardware.
As mentioned above, you can mine and then stake cryptocurrency using your Raspberry Pi. But if you already have PoS tokens, you can stake them on a Raspberry Pi, keeping your tokens online 24/7. This means you can switch off your energy draining computer and leave the tiny Raspberry Pi online, staking coins, and earning you extra cryptocurrency in the process.
3. Run a Full Bitcoin Node on Raspberry Pi
You can run a full Bitcoin node on your Raspberry Pi to validate and secure your transactions, as well as help process the network transactions of other Bitcoin users.
It is important to note that running a full Bitcoin node does not earn you Bitcoin. Your Bitcoin wallet will not swell with every transaction. However, you do contribute to Bitcoin network security and authenticity, which is a vital Bitcoin service.
Running a full Bitcoin node requires a download of the Bitcoin blockchain, which at the time of writing stands at over 225GB. You need a 256GB micro SD card as the bare minimum, but a larger card will keep the Bitcoin node online for longer with more space to grow into (remember, the Bitcoin blockchain is growing all of the time).
The initial sync can also take a very long time (many choose to sync the Bitcoin blockchain before adding to the Raspberry Pi).
There are two tutorials you can follow to install a full Bitcoin node on your Raspberry Pi:
- The Raspnode DIY Bitcoin Node is no longer updated, but the tutorial works fine.
- The Raspberry Pi Full Node site hasn’t received an update for a while, but again, the tutorial works fine.
Finally, the RaspiBolt Beginners Guide to Lightning on a Raspberry Pi contains detailed instructions on installing a full node and a Lightning Network node—very handy for the following section.
4. Run a Bitcoin Lightning Network Node with RaspiBlitz
The Bitcoin Lightning Network is an off-chain payment processing protocol. It speeds up Bitcoin transactions drastically. Instead of a transaction taking ten minutes, it takes seconds.
In February 2019, developer Christian Rotzoll’s RaspiBlitz Bitcoin Lightning Node for the Raspberry Pi launched its 1.0 version. The landmark development included finalized instructions on how to turn your Raspberry Pi into a Lightning Network node. The tutorial includes details on installing an additional LCD screen, which carries an additional cost. You can, however, swap out the LCD screen for a regular monitor.
The RaspbiBlitz tutorial isn’t just for beginners. Many Lightning Network users already use RaspiBlitz as a low cost, low-power method of operating a Lightning Network node. Like the Bitcoin full node, Lightning Network full node operators contribute to the safe and secure operating of the network.
5. Raspberry Pi Crypto Ticker
You can program your Raspberry Pi to act as a cryptocurrency ticker, displaying the latest cryptocurrency trading rates throughout the day. Kieranc’s project on Hackaday is easy to follow, requires minimal tools, and is customizable to the cryptocurrencies you want to see (the default is Bitcoin and Monero).
6. Create a Raspberry Pi Crypto Wallet
A secure hardware wallet remains the best option to secure your Bitcoin. However, a new Trezor or Ledger will set you back at least $60, if not more. But if you have a Raspberry Pi and micro SD card lying about, you can make a DIY cryptocurrency hardware wallet.
A DIY Raspberry Pi wallet is a great project. However, we would strongly advise using a secure hardware wallet for any serious amount of cryptocurrency.
Want to learn more? Check out the seven most secure Bitcoin wallets you can get right now.
The Best Raspberry Pi Cryptocurrency Projects
For the most part, Raspberry Pi cryptocurrency projects are about learning. You can mine cryptocurrency using a Raspberry Pi, but not in huge volume. If you want to use a Raspberry Pi to mine Bitcoin, you need expensive additional hardware.
Still, the array of Bitcoin and blockchain Raspberry Pi projects perfectly illustrate the versatility of the tiny computer.
Want to mine cryptocurrency? Check out our guide on how to find the best GPU for cryptocurrency mining.
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