Cryptocurrencies are grabbing all the headlines. Since the first bitcoin appeared (2009) until today, the popularity of these digital assets has not stopped growing. They have been a true revolution in the world of transactions and have become a source of income for some, through trading or mining. The value of cryptocurrencies faces an upward trend (1 bitcoin, for example, is already around 50,000 euros) and therefore, many have seen mining as a good business.
Miners” are those users who are in charge of verifying the transactions made through computational resources, as well as recording them in a new block of the blockchain chain. It could be said that miners are the backbone of the system. As a reward for this work, they get a financial commission. In this article we will explain how to mine cryptocurrencies with a PC. If you are looking for components to start mining, please visit our IT section.
CRYPTOCURRENCY MINING: WHAT IS IT?
Because cryptocurrencies are part of a decentralized system, they require a tool to verify all the operations performed. Thus, mining cryptocurrencies does not consist of creating new coins, but is the process through which a user validates and verifies cryptocurrency transactions on the blockchain. To do this, all nodes in the blockchain network participate in solving the algorithm that the blockchain entails. In this “riddle”, a random number is considered and a cryptographic function is applied, to result in a hash that meets one characteristic: it must have a certain number of leading zeros. In order to solve these mathematical problems, computers work automatically and therefore require a great deal of computing power. Only then can new blocks of transactions be recorded in the register. The miners receive a new mathematical problem every ten minutes, and the fastest to solve it gets the new coins that are put into circulation. For example, in the case of bitcoin mining, miners get 6.25 bitcoins for each new block validated.
The hash rate indicates the volume of calculations per second (hashes) that the computer can process. As of today, the most common hash rate for Bitcoin mining will be several TeraHashes per second (TH/s), while in Ethereum mining it is several GigaHashes per second (GH/s).
These are the algorithms that can be mined, depending on the different cryptocurrencies:
– SHA256 to mine Bitcoin, Bitshares, EmerCoin, Digibyte, etc.
– Scrypt to mine Litecoin, DogeCoin, FedoraCoin, etc.
– Ethash to mine Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, etc.
– X11 to mine Dash, FuelCoin, StartCoin, VCash, etc.
– Equihash to mine Zcash, BitcoinGold, Zencash, etc.
– Cryptonight to mine Monero, Aeon, Electroneum, etc.
HOW TO MINE CRYPTOCURRENCIES WITH PC
Now that you know the theory, you may wonder how to mine cryptocurrencies with a PC. You should know that the first bitcoins were mined making use, solely and exclusively, of the processors or CPUs of computer equipment. This was because very few people were mining and it did not require so much computing speed. As more people started mining, the process became more complicated. Thus, faced with a more “competitive” environment, miners began to rely on GPUs (graphics cards), because these greatly enhanced computing power.
Later, with the advent of Bitcoin 0.2 software, specialized machines began to be used for computing: the so-called ASICs. ASICs are computers that have several processors, which work simultaneously. As you can imagine, the power of these computers is enormous.
To mine cryptocurrencies with PC you will need to use a specific mining application. These are some of the most outstanding tools: CG Miner, BFG Miner, BTC Miner, Easy Miner, Py Miner, Multi Miner or Bit Miner.
CRYPTOCURRENCY MINING HARDWARE
Now that you know how to mine cryptocurrencies with PC, let’s get to know the hardware you need. It is all about getting a working system with the highest possible hash rate.
- ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) chips: these are chips programmed to perform a specific task, for example mining only the SHA256 algorithm.
These machines are the most common in the Bitcoin mining ecosystem. However, they could be used to mine other cryptocurrencies. Some of the most prominent ASIC manufacturers are: Bitmain, Canaan or Asicminer.
- GPUs (Graphic Processor Unit): this is what we know as the graphics card of a computer or video card. These have a higher hash rate than ordinary CPUs, which means they can solve mathematical problems much faster. They are most commonly used in Ethereum and Ethereum Classic mining, for example. Some of the featured GPU’s are Gigabyte Radeon RX Vega 64, Gigabyte Radeon RX Vega 56, Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080Ti, Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070Ti or Gigabyte Radeon RX 580. Cryptocurrency mining rigs are built by integrating various GPU’s (from 6).
- Other components you will need to assemble a mining rig are: motherboard, power supply, cooling, CPU and cabinet.
Since the mining system will be running at maximum power for long periods of time, it is important to go for efficient equipment. The ideal is to find a balance between the power of the components and their energy consumption. This way, you won’t be surprised when you receive your electricity bill.
Due to the cryptocurrency boom, the graphics card market has exploded. The supply of GPU’s was unable to meet the demand, so acquiring one of these devices became a complex task.