Cryptocurrency mining

Simply stated, cryptocurrency mining is a process of generating new units of the cryptocurrency. Different machines around the world are working on the mathematical problem - an algorithm - and only some of them are finding the solutions - blocks.

You can compare it with any other mining process from our everyday lives - for example, gold mining - but instead of searching for the physical minerals or metals, cryptocurrency miners are searching for correct digital strings - hashes. At the same time, the transactions between wallets are being confirmed. This is why we say that the miners support the network.

There are hundreds of different algorithms available these days and the most known cryptocurrency mining process is most certainly Bitcoin mining. Bitcoin mining is today conducted with special, dedicated machines, called ASICs and works on an SHA-256 algorithm, but hundreds of other algorithms and cryptocurrencies can be mined with CPUs, GPUs or FPGAs.

A mining machine (hardware) reaches a certain speed (hashrate) on an algorithm. If the machine has a certain hashrate on one algorithm, it will have an entirely different hashrate on another algorithm. For each algorithm, the machine will also have different power consumption and will require different mining clients to run it.

Mining hardware comparison

1) ASICs

ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) is a chip that is developed to mine a specific algorithm (or multiple algorithms). Once ASIC is manufactured it cannot mine other algorithms. Usually, if there is an ASIC that is being able to mine a certain algorithm, a GPU mining of this algorithm won't be considered as profitable anymore. ASICs achieve the highest speeds on the algorithm, but also consume the most power.

Popular algorithms: SHA-256, Equihash, X11, Scrypt, Blake (2b), CryptoNight, Lyra2REv2, and others.
Popular coins: BTC, LTC, ZEC, DASH, DCR, SC, and others.
Popular manufacturers: Bitmain, Ebang, MicroBT, Canaan, and others.

2) FPGAs

FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) is a chip that is developed to mine specific algorithms, but it can be at the same time reprogrammed to mine additional algorithms. Speeds achieved on FPGAs are usually between ASICs and GPUs and so is the power consumption.

Popular algorithms: Eaglesong, Verushash, Lyra2z, Lyra2REv2, Lyra2REv3, and others.
Popular coins: CKB, VTC, SMART, and others.
Popular manufacturers: Blackminer.

3) GPUs

GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is a chip that is used for different graphics related tasks (rendering, gaming), but it is also one of the most popular choices for mining. Most of the algorithms start with support for GPU before they are supported on FPGA or ASIC. A lot of the projects are also fighting against ASIC support and for keeping GPU-only support. Miners usually don't mine with a single GPU, but put multiple GPUs into one machine called mining rig.

Popular algorithms: Etchash, KAWPOW, different variants of Equihash, different variants of CryptoNight, Zhash, X16Rv2, X16S, and others.
Popular coins: ETC, RVN, BEAM, NEOX, ZCL, YEC, VTC, and others.
Popular manufacturers: Nvidia and AMD.

4) CPUs

CPU (Central Processing Unit) is a chip that is used for different computational and processing tasks but can also be used for mining. Bitcoin was decades ago mined with CPUs, even though mining it today with anything else than ASIC would be meaningless.

Popular algorithms: RandomX, GhostRider.
Popular coins: XMR, RTM.
Popular manufacturers: Intel.

How to start

To start mining a certain coin you will need the following:

  • Proper hardware: This means that if you want to start mining BTC, you will need to have an ASIC. If you want to start mining ETC, you will need to have an ASIC or a GPU rig. And if you want to start mining XMR, you will need to have a proper CPU. And so on.
  • Proper pool: If you won't be solo mining and you are just starting, it is really important to find a proper pool. For BTC mining you will need a BTC pool, for ETC mining you will need the ETC pool, and so on. You cannot mine BTC on the ETC pool or vice versa.
  • Proper wallet: Similar to the pool - for BTC mining you will need a BTC wallet and for ETC mining you will need the ETC wallet. You cannot mine BTC to ETC wallet or vice versa.
  • Proper software: To mine a certain coin/algorithm, you will need the correct mining client. Usually, there are multiple mining clients available for mining a certain coin, but each of them reaches a different speed and power consumption.

Too much information?

To gather information on mining faster, we have prepared different collections of coins, hardware, pools, and software, which are interlinked to assure you better navigation between them. Regarding the question you have, you can start at different starting points. For example:

What to mine with AMD Radeon VII?

  1. Open our hardware page.
  2. Find AMD Radeon VII.
  3. Click on it to open the profile.
  4. Filter out coins with alerts (to avoid speculative mining).

How to mine RVN?

  1. Open our coins page.
  2. Find RVN.
  3. Click on it to open the profile.
  4. See the list of hardware and software that is supported for this coin. At the bottom of the page, there are also some ideas on which pools to choose.

What to mine with Phoenix miner?

  1. Open our miners page.
  2. Find Phoenix.
  3. Click on it to open the profile.
  4. See the list of supported coins.

Keep in mind that sometimes mining clients don't support all the coins even though they are supporting a certain algorithm, so some additional testing will be needed.

Important takeouts

  • Before you invest in any hardware or software, test it out with what you already have at hand. Keep in mind that any mining calculator (including ours) always shows only theoretical estimations. Not all pools have the same luck and not all pools have the same reward schedule.
  • Profitable mining is not an easy thing to achieve as you need to look out for different factors: the price of the hardware, the electricity price, mining software optimization (in terms of speed and power consumption), which cryptocurrency to choose for mining, etc.
  • If you see a coin with enormous reward, it is probably a mistake, low volume coin that is impossible to sell, or a coin that is being mined with only a few machines and once you connect the reward will drop.
  • There is always something new, so be ready to learn.
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