by Jamie Holmes
For most of us, trading commodities can be stressful. With cryptocurrencies, this is may be an understatement. Daily movements exceeding one percent is the norm in the cryptocurrency world. While trading is not for everyone, mining is another way to invest your resources in obtaining scarce digital assets such as Ether, Monero, and Zcash.
If your computer or laptop has a graphics processing unit, you will be able to run a program that will mine cryptocurrency. If you have a Windows machine with an AMD or Nvidia graphics cards, you can easily begin your venture into the world of cryptocurrency mining.
To check if you have a GPU, following these steps:
- Click Start.
- On the Start menu, click Run.
- In the Open box, type "dxdiag" (without the quotation marks), and then click OK.
- The DirectX Diagnostic Tool opens. Click the Display tab.
- On the Display tab, information about your graphics card is shown in the Device section. You can see the name of your card, as well as how much video memory it has.
With your computer’s graphics cards and some electricity, you can stock up on popular altcoins such as Ether, Monero, and Zcash using Claymore’s miner. It is an altcoin mining program which you download and install onto your computer. Mining is the process of verifying transaction on the networks, utilizing processing power in computers to solve mathematical problems.
When you are not using your computer, you can run the mining program. Your graphic card’s processing power will be directed toward the blockchain network to engage in the puzzle-solving process known as mining, verifying and confirming transactions. By running the program, you are essentially converting your computing power and electricity into a scare digital asset, cryptocurrency.
Claymore is an expert programmer who developed these mining programs so that anyone can use them ‘out-of-the-box.’ For Ethereum, the mining program is found here, along with support provided by Claymore on the forum. In return for creating a user-friendly way to mine cryptocurrency, one to two percent of your mining power is sent to Claymore
Download and put into documents folders, then unzip it.
Once you have the mining program ready to get started, you’ll need a wallet for ETH and will need to chose a pool to mine with. A good one to start with is EtherMine.
You can use an exchange as your ether address if you want to convert to other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or you can use Ether wallets such as Jaxx or the native wallet. After the first day or two of mining, you should receive a payout.
Enter that address as your mining pool address in the Claymore program. The particular place to input the address is in the config.txt file.
There is also a custom built mining program for Monero, an up and coming cryptocurrency with a focus on privacy. Claymore’s Monero miner can be found here. Monero’s Official GUI is available to download here which will provide you with a wallet address to send your Monero to. The recommended mining pool is Monerohash. The only difference with monero is that you require not just a wallet address but also a payment id.
As stated in our article “Experts Reveal Bitcoin and Blockchain Predictions for 2017,” we think there is a good chance that privacy-focused coins will be driven higher relative to other cryptocurrencies in 2017. So with your computer’s graphics card, you can mine not just Monero but also Zcash, another cryptocurrency providing enhanced anonymity features.
No usernames or passwords are required for any of the altcoin mining pools, only your wallet address (and payment id in the case of Monero).
You could also go one step further by using a gaming PC that will have more graphics card’s, more power and hence a greater ability to earn cryptocurrency. With your gaming PC, you could either use Claymore’s mining programs or use a service such as NiceHash, rent your hashing power, allowing you to lease your power for others to mine altcoins while you get paid in bitcoin. The advantage with Nicehash is that your GPU power is optimized to the most profitable cryptocurrencies to mine.
Another mining program that is capable of converting electricity into Ether, Monero, and Zcash is SGMiner-GM, a project started by Genesis mining. The latest version 5.5.5 is very competitive for Monero mining regarding power consumption. Nicehash's modified version is found here.
If you found the process of mining intriguing and want to take another step, get ready to get your hands dirty. After playing around with mining on a laptop with GPU’s, the next phase is to build a mining rig composed of multiple GPU’s, with an illustrative guide found here.
While building your own rig can be daunting and expensive, it is a solid long-term investment where for around one year you will recoup your initial layout.
After the first year or so, everything is profit, converting your electricity and computing power into cryptocurrency, along with the added benefit that mining will help to secure the blockchain network you are participating in.
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Rolf Versluis, this post was modified from a Block Operations guide to mining found here.