Ready to jump on the bitcoin mining wagon? This famous cryptocurrency is now in the mainstream, and though you won’t see the major returns that early investors enjoyed, the volatile nature of this digital currency means there’s still room for growth.
Before You Begin: What Are Bitcoins?
If you’re totally new to bitcoin mining, take a step back before you dive into software options to learn what bitcoins are, how you can use them, and why you want to mine them. Bitcoins are a virtual currency and can be used for a variety of purchases. If you want them, you can either accept bitcoin payment, purchase them using fiat currency or another type of cryptocurrency, or mine them.
Bitcoin mining is a process in which a computer is used to solve a complex math problem. The person who finds the answer first is awarded bitcoins. There’s a limited number of bitcoins that can be mined. If the maximum 21 million of these digital coins are mined — which will take decades — bitcoins will no longer be produced.
What Do You Need to Start Mining?
You can mine bitcoin with your own hardware or sign up for a cloud mining service. Though it was once possible to mine bitcoin with a personal computer, the process has become much more complex. People went from personal computers to dedicated GPU-based rigs. However, these systems use lots of electricity and are no longer the best option.
The best practice now is to use ASIC systems, which people make specifically for fast and efficient bitcoin mining. You can start bitcoin mining software with a CPU, GPU, or ASIC system plus one of the software options listed below.
BTCMiner is an open source bitcoin mining software, meaning the community can access the source code and make changes to help improve the program. With this software, you can use bitstream — a system that transfers binary information from one source to another — without needing additional software or a license. BTCMiner also automatically chooses the frequency with the highest rate of valid hash functions, which is key to returning output data as quickly as possible.
BTCMiner runs on Linux and Windows. The software supports the following Spartan 6 USB-FPGA Boards: Module 1.15b, Module 1.15d, Module 1.15x, and Module 1.15y.
MinePeon is a top-rated bitcoin mining software built on Arch Linux ARM, which is an extension of the Arch Linux operating system. Any programmers with experience in Unix or Linux will have no problem modifying the software. MinePeon is open-source and free to use.
This mining system is built to run on a Raspberry PI. Though this isn’t like running a system on a desktop operating system, it’s backed by an active community that can help you put your system together. Plus, MinePeon is streamlined for mining. With a Raspberry PI, a 2GB SD Card, and about five minutes (even for a beginner), you can put together a lean, stable, and fast mining system.
CGMiner runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems and is one of the most popular options for bitcoin mining software. It’s free to download via GitHub.
CGMiner is recommended for its numerous customizable features, including overclocking, monitoring, fan speed control, and remote interface capabilities. If you plan to build a system just for bitcoin mining, CGMiner can help you unlock its full potential. This software also includes support for multiple GPUs and CPU mining.
BFGMiner is a derivative of CGMiner, and it offers many of the same perks, such as overclocking and cross-platform functionality for Linux, Mac, and Windows. The major difference is that BFGMiner is made for ASICs, which you can customize specifically for bitcoin mining, instead of GPUs.
This easy-to-use software can be used to mine bitcoin, Litecoin, and other common cryptocurrencies. Easyminer is GUI-based instead of command-line-based software, such as CGMiner, BFGMiner, and BTCMiner. Once you download the free open-source program, you can start mining in just a few minutes. The program runs on Windows, Linux, and Android, and it can be used for solo and pooled mining.
Usability is a huge bonus of working with Easyminer. The interface is simple to navigate, and the clear visualization of your system will help you understand exactly what’s going on with your mining activity. You can use it in conjunction with CGMiner, BFGMiner, and other bitcoin software to configure and monitor your system. It also supports ASIC mining via CGMiner.
6. RPC Miner
If you want software made specifically for Mac, RPC Miner is one of your best choices. However, this bitcoin mining software only offers pooled mining. This means you’ll be working with other users to mine bitcoins and will split the rewards.
RPC Miner and other pooled solutions are great for individuals with lower mining speeds, as working solo without a high-end system can take years before you earn any bitcoins. RPC Miner allows you to work with one of four client binaries: a CPU miner, a four-way CPU miner, an OpenCL miner for ATI GPUs, and a CUDA miner for NVIDIA GPUs.
Bitcoins are grown in popularity; from an investment opportunity to a method of payment for eCommerce businesses. Bitcoin mining may seem overwhelming for a beginner, but with so many programs geared toward total newbies, you can get started with this growing activity if you’re willing to learn. Try out the software and hardware listed above to get started on what hopefully is a lucrative venture.