Building a Bitcoin Miner
Alright, so I was ready to start Bitcoin mining. Great! Now what? Well, cryptocurrencies won’t will their way to you, and you can’t just say “Hey Cortana, start mining Bitcoin.” What to do…what to do? (If you haven’t read my first installment in this series, you should first check it out here)
Before we proceed any further, I should share some of my backstory. I am an IT guy by trade, and naturally, I have a lot of PC equipment laying around. Subsequently, this equipment made its way onto my workbench with the idea of resembling hardware that was even remotely capable of mining cryptocurrency. Sure, it wasn’t going to be a massive rig, but it was going to allow me to enter the crypto market as a hobbyist first and foremost. Testing the waters, so to speak.
So how did I begin mining cryptocurrencies? Well, I had a Dell XPS system with an Intel Core i7 and a discrete Nvidia GeForce 750 Ti GPU. A pretty decent setup for gaming in 2015 titles, but not very apt at mining Bitcoin. What now? After doing some research, and believe me, this is a MUST, I found that there are literally dozens of other cryptocurrencies, a.k.a. alt-coins, which you can mine with lesser hardware. I delved into the alt-coin marketplace, ran some benchmarks, and settled on a couple of low difficulty alt-coins: Bytecoin and Monero. One of the biggest draw to mining alt-currencies is that most marketplaces will allow you to trade them for Bitcoin.
In order to relate this to those less fluent in the world of cryptocurrency, compare the cryptocurrency market to Gold and Silver. Bitcoin is the Gold standard, but many other cryptocurrencies are comparable to Silver, Copper, Platinum, etc. They all hold value that more or less revolves around the value of Bitcoin. So while mining Bitcoin is the most attractive prospect, it is also the most difficult and most expensive to get in to. Yet mining other cryptocurrency is more accessible to crypto-newbies, and is an amazing way to learn the ins and outs of mining cryptocurrency. Investing in Bitcoin mining is no small expense, so if you start at a lower cost with alt-currencies, you’ll learn most of what you need to know before you make the big switch to BTC.
Are We There Yet?
There, I made it, right? I have a proof-of-concept rig and two alt-coins I want to mine. Just plug in the rig, turn it on and start mining cryptocurrencies, right? Wrong! Building a rig and researching my currency were only baby steps to begin mining cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. I needed to create a wallet for my cryptocurrencies, and I was required to join a mining pool. Then, I’d need to create an account on which to trade my cryptocurrency for Bitcoin. I’d come so far, getting a test rig operational and pouring over research. Yet I realized I had just scratched the surface of cryptocurrency mining.
In my next installment, I’ll expand on my mining adventures. We’ll discuss setting up a wallet and joining a mining pool. Look to this space for more of my adventures in Bitcoin!