Although proof-of-work systems have been around for more than 20 years, they’ve only really gained popularity with the arrival of Bitcoin. A whole multitude of coins has hit the market since those early heydays of cryptocurrency tech as aspiring entrepreneurs jumped on the money creation bandwagon.
The trouble with Bitcoin’s mining algorithm is that in recent years it has incentivized a hardware arms race. Just like traditional warfare, the biggest guns go to the highest bidder. And, in turn, those with the biggest guns get first choice of the spoils. In other words, the man on the street has largely been priced out of taking part in proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining.
Fortunately, there is a solution and it comes in the form of pooled mining. Today we’ll take a look into combining your efforts with other miners around the world using a popular mining pool called Bitminter.
What is Pooled Mining?
Despite the commercial success of large-scale mining operations, resourceful internet communities never fail to surprise when it comes to solving problems online. If life give you lemons, make lemonade. When Bitmain squeezes your lemons, join a pool and reap the benefits of the sharing economy.
These days, the only way to compete with the large players is through collective processing power. By sharing your processing power over a network you are essentially pooling your resources with the aim of sharing in the rewards. Naturally the rewards your receive will be proportionate to the resources you contribute in the first place.
The major advantage of this approach is to receive block rewards quicker and on a regular basis instead of randomly and most likely only every few years. There are a number of mining pools out there and the dedicated miner should do her own homework to find a solution which works best for her.
This article is a not a review of mining pools, however. Instead, we’d like to show you a simple example of how to get your ASIC connected to a mining pool. In this case, we’ve gone with Bitminter.
Bitminter is a mining pool which aims to ease the process of getting involved in cryptocurrency mining. It began out of an idea to provide a user friendly graphical interface (GUI) for miners to interact with the Bitcoin blockchain. In those first few years, cryptocurrency mining was mostly the domain of computer technicians who used the command line – a text-only interface tool. Clearly, that kind of interaction was not easy for anybody to jump in and get started.
Bitminter has been around since 2011 and is operated by Norwegian company Aesir Financial AS which is owned by Geir Harald Hansen. It claims to already have over 450 000 registered accounts. After working on the GUI in early 2011, Geir decided to morph the project into a complete mining pool and thus Bitminter was born.
- Servers located in Europe and the US
- 1% Mining fee.
- Supports ASICBoost making full use of the latest mining hardware.
- Supports Merged Mining.
What You’ll Need to Get Started
- At least one decent ASIC miner (like the Antminer S9) and relevant ASIC usb drivers.
- Latest version of Java (Make sure to reboot once installed).
- Bitcoin wallet
1. Head on over to the project website.
2. Click Join to create an account and use an ID from another account you already own (Google, Facebook, etc) for authentication.
3. Select your username and confirm your email address.
4. Login and download the latest Bitminter client application under Tools:
5. Java may produce an error when trying to download the Bitminter application on certain Windows platforms. If this happens, go to “Start search programs and files” and look for “Configure Java”. Select Security and add the Bitminter domain to the list of acceptable download locations:
6. Run the application, click on “Engine Start”, and login with your Bitminter login details. Congratulations you are now mining crypto in the Bitminter pool along with miners from around the world!
At this point, you effectively have skin in the game. That being said, it would be wise to do the rounds and learn how to tweak your equipment and know how to interact with the pool at maximum capacity. The Bitminter subreddit is a good starting point for further questions or you can even contact Bitminter directly.
Getting started with cryptocurrency mining is not as difficult as you may think. That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone either. Having the right hardware is an important first step. The industry is advancing at breakneck speed and getting stuck with outdated equipment could mean the difference between staying profitable or slowly bleeding cash. With that in mind, here are a couple of additional points you’ll want to pay attention to.
Firstly, do your due diligence and calculate the expected profitability of your bitcoin mining hardware. Secondly, you should be familiar with the controversy surrounding Bitmain, the largest ASIC producer in the cryptocurrency space. Bitmain is well-known by the community for its ruthless business practises. In particular, for mining with the latest equipment and then selling it in the secondary market after developing a better alternative.
As a result, many wannabe miners end up buying these outdated machines. The “latest” mining equipment can set you back a couple thousand dollars and there’s a high probability you’re already behind the curve on the latest tech. In other words, do plenty of research and make sure you actually get hold of a decent ASIC before jumping into this game!
With all that said, there is still money to be made. If the trend of Bitcoin is anything to go by, well those profits could become really meaningful when the bull returns to the market.
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