Cryptocurrencies you can mine from a home computer
In this article, we will introduce five popular options and some how-to instructions to help get you started.
When Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto first introduced the digital currency he detailed how the peer-to-peer digital payment network would work to enable fast, secure and trustless transactions. In the original white paper, he explained the protocol through which new coins would come into circulation within the Bitcoin network. “The first transaction in a block is a special transaction that starts a new coin owned by the creator of the block.”
This adds an incentive for nodes to support the network and provides a way to distribute coins into circulation since there is no central authority to issue them. The constant amount of new coins introduced to the system is analogous to gold miners expending resources to add gold to circulation. In our case, it is CPU time and electricity that is expended. This process is called mining.
Initially, it was possible for people to mine Bitcoin (BTC) using laptop and desktop computers. However, as its popularity grew, people realized there was an opportunity to turn a profit through participating in the Bitcoin network via the process of verifying transactions. Large-scale bitcoin mining operations were born.
In addition, the growing mining difficulty as well as the advent of Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASICs) software created specifically for bitcoin mining made it all but impossible to profitably participate in the Bitcoin network as a miner using the processing power of a home computer a handful of graphics cards. However, that option still exists for some other cryptocurrencies in 2020.
Zcash (ZEC) is a leading privacy-centric digital currency that was launched in 2016. For the home miner, the most important feature embedded in Zcash’s architecture is that it employs the Equihash algorithm within its consensus mechanism. Equihash is an algorithm that is designed to be ASIC resistant. As a result, the home miner with their GPU can participate in the network as a miner.
Before you can start mining Zcash, you must acquire the hardware that you will need. These include a computer and the graphics cards that you will leverage to boost your processing power. You may also need to consider purchasing a fan to cool the mining set up down, especially if you live in a hot area.
You will also need to download the software that will help you control your hardware. Download the Zcash blockchain and set up your wallet. This will involve some waiting as the blockchain will need to download in its entirety on your node, and sync as well. Additionally, you will need to download the drivers for your graphics cards.
Lastly, you will need electricity or another energy source to power your mining set up. Consider joining a mining pool as this maximizes your revenues.
Ethereum (ETH) is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Additionally, it is still possible to mine this cryptocurrency at home with the aid of GPUs equipped with sufficiently powerful graphics cards.
Ethereum’s POW mechanism employs the ASIC-resistant Ethash algorithm, which enables home-mining. However, because of Ethereum’s popularity, at-home miners must maximize their revenues both by acquiring the most powerful graphics cards on the market and by joining a mining pool.
Mining ETH is a relatively simple process. The first step is to download the blockchain from the official website in order to set up your wallet. Afterwards, set up your wallet to mine and by changing a few settings on your node.
Grin (GRIN) was launched in January 2019 with support from the crypto community. The project showcases a keen focus on privacy and scalability. The Grin blockchain employs the MimbleWimble algorithm to support transactional privacy.
For the home miner though, it is the blockchain’s ASIC-resistant POW algorithm that is most relevant. Moreover, the project developers have gone a step further to hard code a hard fork every six months to minimize the effects of any ASICS that may be developed specifically for its network.
Grin supports both CPU and GPU mining. However, if you decide to go the GPU way, purchase Nvidia cards because these are considered more effective. Moreover, you must have a minimum of 5.5 GB space to begin mining the coin. Additionally, it may serve you well to download software that will help you monitor heat levels as excessive heat damages graphics cards. A good choice is the MSI Afterburner.
To get started with “GRINning”, download the blockchain from the official website to set up a node. Once you have successfully synced the blockchain, you must connect the node to your wallet. Creating your wallet is a simple matter of running a file in the directory. Once the wallet is live, you must then configure your graphics cards to work with the wallet. Finally, remember to set the software to the Cuckaroo POW, which is the version of the Grin network that supports GPU mining.
Another MimbleWimble implementation, Beam (BEAM) is well-suited for home mining. It employs the Hashii algorithm that supports GPU mining.
To get started, download the official Desktop Wallet, depending on the operating system on your computer. Your antivirus may flag up the mining software as a harmful program. Exclude it from that designation, otherwise, you will run into trouble in the mining process.
Once the blockchain has downloaded and synced you are ready to start mining. You must first configure your settings. Turn on the “Run Local Node” feature and set the number of mining threads to a number greater than zero.
It is important to note that Beam’s infrastructure involves the use of expiring addresses in order to maximize privacy. However, you will require a permanent address to successfully recover your mining revenues or your tokens will be lost. To create a permanent address, navigate to the receive tab on the main dashboard of the software. You can create a new address and set it to never expire which you can use for the mining set up.
Vertcoin is another popular choice among small miners. The digital currency was launched in 2014 and is designed to stay true to the spirit of decentralization and financial sovereignty envisioned by Nakamoto when he created Bitcoin. The project’s developers created the blockchain as a response to the growing influence ASICs were having on the Bitcoin blockchain and the mining ecosystem in general.
Vertcoin (VTC) employs the proof-of-work algorithm. The algorithm employed with Vertcoin’s POW consensus mechanism is Lyra2RE and is designed to be ASIC resistant while simultaneously supporting GPU and CPU mining.
VTC is popular because it has a very simple mining process. It is a matter of one click as the project developers have created the architecture to support easy mining. To start mining, download the software here, and join a mining pool to maximize mining revenues.
Mining by at-home miners is challenging as large-scale operations dominant the mining industry. However, by choosing the most profitable coins and running the latest (and most efficient) mining hardware, it is still possible to generate crypto mining profits in 2020.