Bitcoin mining is one of the activities that arouses a lot of interest nowadays although it is not very profitable in most countries. The main problem lies in the excessive consumption of energy, which in many parts of the world is an expensive service and makes the energy expenditure of RIG equipment excessive.
However, there are countries where electricity is economical, such as China, Venezuela or Ecuador, where bitcoin mining could be quite an extra income.
What is bitcoin mining?
Mining is known as the process by which cryptocurrencies are extracted from a blockchain.
The definition of mining is like an analogy to gold mining, but there couldn’t be a more wrong comparison. Mining is more a competition than anything else.
To mine bitcoins, an algorithm known as hash is used that is responsible for breaking down a blockchain and determining it in a unit of fixed length, this value is known as nonce.
The miner’s job is to analyze a blockchain to determine the nonce of the last system block in order to insert a new block referring to the new transaction.
The problem is that the algorithm does not know for sure what the value of the blockchain is.
To do this it must throw random values until it guesses the correct one. The competition is that a blockchain network is made up of several miners or nodes that process the same blockchain at the same time but only who guesses the nonce will take the reward.
The miner who is able to analyze the greatest amount of data in less time is the one who is most likely to decipher the correct value.
Where to buy a miner?
While you can buy a miner, the best way to get a new one is to assemble it part by part.
A miner is nothing other than a computer capable of processing a lot of information in a short time.
For this, the installation of several graphic processing units (GPUs) is carried out on a motherboard attached to a processor.
The power of the miner will be determined by the power of the graphic processing units, which is why they are installed between two and six per miner to have greater computational power. This makes the assembly of a miner an expensive investment.
Assembling a miner is not much different from building a conventional computer. However, for those who have never done such work, there is the possibility of hiring a specialist who assembles all the RIG components.
Ways to mine bitcoins
In addition to the solo mining that we can perform in our homes, there are some mining strategies or methods that are implemented with the intention of increasing the probability of success by deciphering the nonce. The most popular are:
Bitcoin Mining Farms
A farm is a cooperative system of several miners that come together to increase their power.
When the Chinese government began investing in cryptocurrencies, it did so by announcing the creation of mining farms with tremendous processing power.
Mining pools of bitcoins
A pool is a cooperative system of miners but unlike farms, the system’s equipment is dispersed and connected via the internet. The idea is to combine processing power to decipher the nonce of a blockchain.
At the end of the operation, the reward for mining is distributed among the members of the pool according to the processing power provided to the group.
Bitcoin mining software
There are two other options to consider if you prefer to go to the “own configuration” route. You can join a mining group and contribute to the power of hash or mine bitcoins directly.
Either way, you will need the same components for bitcoin mining.
Once you have configured your mining platform, you must contact the blockchain, directly if you are mining independently or through the mining group to which the hashing power is contributing.
The piece that allows you to make this communication is called bitcoin mining software.
Bitcoin, being the original cryptocurrency, was first extracted in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto.
At that time it was possible to exploit using a CPU or a normal laptop at home without much expense.
However, over time, as more nodes began to join the bitcoin network, the difficulty increased and soon the developers discovered that graphics cards could exploit Bitcoin faster than a CPU and this marked the beginning of the proliferation of graphics cards
As the cryptocurrency became more valuable, competition was imminent and more money was injected into the mining scene and ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) were soon introduced. ASCIs are very expensive but more powerful than graphics cards.
Therefore, since retail and small-scale miners could not compete with people who could afford to operate mining platforms using ASIC, they are less and less done through GPUs.
Basically, at this point, it is economically unfeasible to extract Bitcoin using GPU. This scenario has led to greater centralization. Software that could be used to exploit bitcoins using GPU has also become obsolete.
This article presents five of the best bitcoin mining programs that can be used with ASIC.
How does the software to mine bitcoins work?
Bitcoin mining software has several functions. The main one as mentioned above is the communication with the bitcoin network. It serves to transmit the input of the mining platform to the network and at the same time receive metadata about the network from other nodes.
Not only that, but it also monitors the rest of the network for consensus. If you are part of a group, the software will transmit the same information to the rest of the participants within the group.
The software is also in charge of collecting the necessary information for a correct mining extraction, within this information we can find the fan speed information, the hash rate or the connection information, among others.
All of these factors must be taken into account when choosing a bitcoin mining software. However, the final decision depends on the preference of the individual. The following list of bitcoin mining software presents the best softwares for this function.
The best Bitcoin mining software for Windows / MAC / Linux
The list below is by no means conclusive and is not presented in an orderly manner. It is a selection of the best software for mining bitcoins according to Crypto economy.
CGMiner is undoubtedly the most popular piece of software to extract bitcoins. It is compatible with all GPUs, as well as with FPGA and ASIC miners.
CGMiner has a very active community of supporters and a lot of features. Includes support for mining pools and solo mining.
The software is open source and available for download through the GitHub repository. The most important features that are included with CGMiner include configuration files, logging, monitoring, as well as API overclocking and monitoring capabilities.
It also supports remote interface capabilities, multi-GPU support, new block self-detection, fan speed control, CPU extraction support among many other features. The CGMiner was created and improved on the CPU-Miner.
Operating System Support
CGMiner is available on all major operating systems. This includes the Windows, Mac OSX and Linux operating systems. CGMiner is encoded in C programming language for Linux and Windows with very little use of non-mining CPU and RAM.
One of the other most popular bitcoin mining programs is the BFGMiner. Full of customizable features and is compatible with a wide range of miners, including FPGA and ASIC machines.
BFGMiner was a fork of CGMiner with customizations and additional features that make it more attractive to a wider audience.
Some of the interesting features that make BFGMiner very popular include integrated overclocking, automatic pool fault detection, multi-device compatibility, fan control, including automatic adjustment, remote interface capabilities and option to work with a GUI, default command line, among other features that can be found in its official forum thread.
Operating System Support
Like the CGMiner software, BFGMiner is also encoded in C language. It supports several types of operating systems, including the main ones such as Windows, Linux and OSX.
EasyMiner is more a GUI interface than an independent bitcoin mining software. It works with other software and provides users with the ability to use their favorite software through an easier to use interface.
EasyMiner is an excellent startup software for miners who care about both the interface and functionality. It presents a pleasant, clean, clear and modern interface.
Any advanced or new user in the world of bitcoin mining will be immediately identified with the simplicity provided by the interface.
Some of its most utilitarian features include easy integration with CGMiner, ccminer and minerd software.
Using EasyMiner allows you to configure your miners to view performance metrics and other bitcoin mining activities through a graphical interface.
The software supports the extraction of coins that are encrypted through the SHA-256 and Scrypt algorithms that include Bitcoin and Litecoin, among others.
Operating System Support
EasyMiner supports mining on Windows, Android and Linux operating systems.
Bitcoin Miner is an open source software developed for ZTEX FPGA boards. It only comes in a USB interface and can be used for programming and communication between miners and the blockchain.
By using the software, a user can create low-cost FPGA clusters with standard components, for example, USB hubs and allow large-scale mining operations to be executed through a single or minimal software instance.
Other features presented by Bitcoin Miner include a ready-to-use Bitstream, which does not require any Xilinx Software or a license and the ability to choose the frequency with the highest rate of valid hashes.
Operating System Support
Bitcoin Miner only runs on Linux and Windows.
As mentioned in the introductory section, bitcoin mining is more a subjective activity with all kinds of biases and preferences.
In this sense, some people are fans of the Mac OS platform and for these people, the preferred bitcoin mining software has to be compatible with OSX.
RPC Miner (also known as the puddinpop miner) works exclusively on Mac OS compared to CGMiner or BFGMiner which support a variety of operating systems. This software is compatible with Mac OS version 10.6 onwards.
RPC Miner has a lot of features that include performance metrics reports, group mining support and logging.
Operating System Support
The RPC Miner is exclusive to the Mac OS platform.
Conclusions about bitcoin mining
Mining bitcoins provides several different options, starting with the option of mining in the cloud or installing hardware and managing the platform independently.
If you choose to go to the hardware installation path, you can perform the extraction independently or join a mining group.
There is not much difference in terms of returns, since when they are extracted independently, the rewards will be widely spaced over time, but will be greater.
On the other hand, when extracted in a pool, the rewards are more consecutive but smaller. In the end, they add almost the same performance.