Bitcoin mining is not for the faint of heart. For any chance of profitability in a time span shorter than months with a “rig,” you will need to buy one of the newest monsters out there, which run in the several thousand USD range at a minimum.

If you’re up for investing that kind of money, then you can find the latest releases by doing a Google search for Bitcoin mining. If you do, be sure that you pay close attention to whether what you are ordering is a pre-order, and what kind of turnaround and shipping guarantees the company can make. We ordered a big rig in November 2013, and had not yet received it as of mid-January 2014.

The companies in this market are in a mad scramble to manufacture and ship machines which hadn’t even been dreamed of six months ago. A state of flux is a good way to describe the way these companies operate. This is not to demean them in any way – it’s just the Wild Wild West in this industry. As mentioned earlier, because the difficulty level in mining goes up frequently, the rate of return is always in a downward slope unless you stay ahead of the difficulty increases by acquiring more hashing power.

We recommend cloud mining as the way to go, particularly for newcomers and people with low risk tolerance. Even with cloud mining, there is risk for loss. But it is much less so than if you buy a “rig,” and then don’t know how to properly calibrate it.

What cloud mining is, in review, is purchasing hashing power from companies who have created huge hashing operations. You receive a fraction of what Bitcoins that hashing super-hashing network mines. Your return is based on how much hashing power you have purchased.

Currently, we recommend USI Tech, which offers an opportunity to participate in cloud mining, and do so with little to no technical knowledge necessary.