Nowadays, at least for most crypto enthusiasts, it’s almost common knowledge that Bitcoin mining is not as profitable as it used to be. What was once compared to the “gold rush” of the olden days, is now a very expensive process mostly reserved to individuals or organizations with specialized and high-powered machinery.
That said, if you’re looking for an alternative to Bitcoin mining, then you should look at other cryptocurrencies which are developed to resist the development of ASIC mining equipment. And, probably the most obvious example is Monero (XMR).
Monero is one of the few so-called privacy coins, a cryptocurrency built to offer its holders a secure, private, and untraceable currency system thanks to various complex cryptography shields.
Why mine Monero in the first place?
This is the most obvious question that anyone looking to get into crypto mining should ask and, straight off the bat, there are a couple of very compelling reasons. Monero makes use of a hashing algorithm called CryptoNight. The most obvious advantage of the said algorithm is the fact that it is resistant to the development of Monero-mining ASIC rigs.
Hence, Monero is perfectly suited for both CPU and GPU mining, meaning that basically, anyone with a PC or a Mac can start mining it. That’s not all, as Monero’s blocks are mined in roughly two-minute intervals, a lot less than Bitcoin which requires ten-minute intervals to mine blocks.
Other reasons include the fact that Monero is a well-established cryptocurrency (even though it’s rightfully or more or less wrongly associated with criminal activities on the dark web), meaning that it can be easily traded for both BTC and ETH. Thanks to its CryptoNote algorithm, mining Monero is also a much more resource-friendly process. It also means that the temperatures of your mining rigs will lower and, consequently, the life cycles of any GPU or CPU involved in Monero mining will also be higher.
Things to keep in mind before mining Monero
Before you start mining Monero, it’s important to perform some economic calculations. The simplest way to determine the profitability of the mining process based on your equipment is to find a specialized website.
There are multiple services that can help on this regard, but whattomine.com is probably one of the best choices out there. The web service provides accurate information regarding the current price, the block time, and the network hash rate of various cryptos. You are required to fill out the form with your computer’s CPU and GPU information and select the proper algorithm, the service, as well as provide detailed hashing and profitability-related information.
Another important issue to have in view the hardware, more specifically, choosing the right hardware can mean the difference between actually making a profit or losing money. As mentioned before, the best thing about Monero mining is the fact that the CryptoNight algorithm allows anyone with a decent computer to take advantage of mining. A basic i5 CPU is very much capable of bringing you small profits; even though, higher spec computers are evidently recommended.
Pool mining can prove to be more lucrative than solo mining. You might want to consider taking a look at various mining pools and check out their features, communities, fees, and reviews before you commit. All pools usually come with small fees which are justifiable most of the time, especially if you’re aiming for consistent income. Some of the most popular Monero mining pools are MineXMR, Moneropool, Nanopool, and Dwarfpool.
In addition, you should know that AMD Graphic cards are better suited for Monero mining than their Nvidia counterparts.
How to mine Monero – a general guide
One of the first things you need to do if you want to mine Monero is to ensure that your graphics card or your computer’s CPU has the latest drivers installed. If you’re opting for CPU mining, then you’ll need a so-called mining software. One of the best options is to use the Wolf’s CryptoNote open source CPU miner. For both AMD and NVidia GPU mining, you’ll need to make sure that your graphics card has the latest drivers installed. Make sure to download them from the official AMD and Nvidia websites.
For the purpose of this guide, we will be focusing on setting up Minergate. Minergate offers you a straightforward way of mining Monero using your computer or your laptop’s GPU or CPU. Register a free account on the Minergate website by clicking the ‘Sign Up’ button and by entering all the required credentials such as email address and password.
Next, make sure you download the Minergate software from the dedicated section and install it accordingly. After the installation, run the program, enter your email and the password and click “Start Mining.”
The easiest way to go through is to opt for the Smart Mining option, which will look for the most profitable coin, including Monero. The app provides you with the option of choosing how many cores you want to use in your CPU and GPU.
A thing to note is the fact that dual-mining is also supported by Monero. This means that you can mine using both your computer’s GPU and CPU. The Minergate platform doesn’t conflict with other, more advanced miners (such as Claymore). For instance, you can mine with your CPU using Minergate, and also mine using your GPU with the help of Claymore.
You can easily check your mining progress via the Dashboard menu of Minergate. Needless to say, you’ll also require a Monero wallet where you can withdraw any mined funds.
Here are some basic tips to ensure that the mining process goes as smoothly as possible. Make sure that your computer never goes to “sleep.” This can be changed by going to the Power Setting section. Another good tip is to turn off Windows automatic updates, as they can sometimes reboot your computer and disrupt the whole mining process. It might also be a good idea to add the programs used for mining as expected on either Windows Defender or other third-party antivirus solutions you might be using.
By following this basic guide, you should gain a general understanding of what the mining process consists of and how to ensure that you’ll have a good start as a Monero miner.