Mining cryptocurrency means using computing power to help verify crypto transactions. Think of your computer as your neighborhood bank teller. You get paid to make sure that deposits and withdrawals get to the right place.
Anyone can become a crypto miner — provided you have the right equipment. Not just any computer can be effectively used to mine. It needs to be extremely powerful to compete with all of the other “bank tellers” who are looking to verify transactions and make money. These huge computer rigs also use up extraordinary amounts of electricity, causing some municipalities to ban the practice.
As time goes on, mining will become less profitable. The more attention it receives, the more miners enter the space. More miners means profits are spread more thinly throughout the community. But for those who can acquire the hardware and navigate the competition, there is still plenty of financial value to earn. Many miners focus efforts on up-and-coming coins expected to rise in value over time.
There’s an entire industry of companies and individuals that sell rigs focused on mining certain coins. Focused rigs only allow you to mine a single coin but usually mine more efficiently. There is risk of losing the investment in your rig if your chosen coin changes its mining criteria.