In the context of cryptocurrency, mining is the act of collecting crypto coins as rewards for solving cryptographic problems with a computer. In order to start mining, individual miners have to verify blocks in order to be added to the blockchain. Once there, they compete with each other to be the first to solve a complex mathematical equation with their computer. The miner that emerges victorious is acknowledged on the crypto’s official ledger. The miner is then awarded their coin, and the network then adds a new block to the chain.
It may seem like a straightforward endeavor of having a block verified, joining the chain, and then racing to solve a problem. But there are certain other things that new crypto miners have to take note of. For one, there are safeguards in place in order to prevent any one computer from monopolizing the competition. The equations usually become harder to solve when more computers join in. For another, the actual equipment needed in order to mine for coins depend on the crypto itself. Some coins, like Bitcoin (BTC), require users to mine in an energy-intensive way using computers with high-end graphics processing units (GPUs). Others, like privacy coin Monero (XMR), demand only a central processing unit (CPU) for mining activities.
If you want to get serious about crypto mining, what considerations should you make for your rig? To answer that question, here are some helpful tips for building your own crypto mining setup.
Plan Your Rig According to the Cryptocurrency You Want to Mine
Every kind of rig, from the bare-bones type to the more sophisticated variety, will include three core components: mining software, mining hardware, and a wallet. But the crypto that you want to mine also determines what you should have in your rig. For example, every rig will need a particular crypto wallet to store the coins that have been newly mined. If you plan to mine a coin like XMR, use a dedicated Monero wallet for your winnings.
Some coins require a fairly low barrier of entry for one to start mining. In some cases, all you’ll need is a basic but dependable rig that’s anchored on a laptop or desktop CPU. Other coins, however, may demand that you buy more high-tech items like an Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), which will allow you to use a powerful microprocessor to mine a certain crypto.
The rationale for adjusting your rig according to the crypto involved is fairly simple. Popular coins often attract larger pools—and that also means more complicated hashes and steeper competition from other miners. These factors would compel you to build a fairly elevated mining rig. You may not have to do that for a still-growing cryptocurrency with a smaller mining pool, where a simpler rig can still net you a fighting chance at winning the block.
Account for the Additional Costs of Mining
Though you may be in a rush to assemble a high-performing mining rig, you also have to take into account the costs of using it. After all, most people go into crypto mining knowing that it requires an investment—and that they’ll need to manage their resources wisely in order to continue doing it for the long haul.
Knowing that, take note of how much power your rig consumes and what impact it has on your electric bill. In addition, calculate how much you spend every time you join a mining pool and register your rig as one of its nodes. The costs may seem minimal now, but they can quickly add up if you mine often.
The ideal rig will do more than help you solve complex cryptographic equations. It will also ensure that you’re smart about mining costs. Account for the numbers that go into your mining activities, and use these as a basis for improving your rig.
Include a Mining Calculator as Part of Your Setup
Once you start mining for crypto, you’ll realize how much your success depends on your pre-game decisions. Wise crypto miners know their chances of winning a coin and can attribute their odds to specific factors, like their rig’s hash rate or its power draw.
If you want an additional advantage while mining, learn how to use a mining calculator and include it in your rig. Armed with info about how much you stand to earn or how quickly your rig can solve an equation, you may soon become an ace at mining crypto coins.
Be Ready for Several Rounds of Trial and Error
Lastly, remember that customizing a computer setup for crypto mining is quite like assembling a setup for gaming, streaming, or recording music from a digital audio workstation. It will take time for you to get into the groove of using it and for you to learn your preferences.
Prepare for several rounds of trial and error before you arrive at a setup that feels intuitive and easy for you to use when you’re mining. The same goes for trustworthy software or equipment brands. You may have to try them before you decide which ones best suit your mining goals.
It bears repeating that crypto-related activities—including mining—involve risk. You could put a lot of effort into it and still not come away with the number of coins you desire. But if you’re cognizant of the risk and are determined to make it as a crypto miner, bolster your chances of winning coins with an excellent rig. Just like the right sports equipment for a certain athlete or the right toolset for a graphic designer with a certain sensibility, the right setup could make a world of difference for your individual success as a crypto miner.