By the time I even considered getting involved with mining Bitcoin, very expensive mining machines and online GHash commodity markets were the norm. I had been seen mining equipment that was profitable in 2013, but even then I told myself it wasn’t worth the time, effort, and money.
The trading exchanges and ability to offer or accept a payment form other than US dollars were what initially drew me in to the world of cryptocurrency. Mining, however, had snuck into the back of my mind and had already taken hold of my curiosity.
I had a basic understanding that cryptocoins were typically mined with either a SHA-256 or scrypt function using a graphics processing unit (high-end graphics card). When I learned about the advent of application specific integrated chip (ASIC) miners and how they improved the hash speed and power efficiency of SHA-256 mining, I was especially intrigued. My friend, or Bitcoin mentor, could see my curiosity and a few weeks ago he casually suggested I bring home a couple of the original USB ASIC Miner Block Erupters (336 MHash/each) to familiarize myself with the mining process.
While USB Block Erupters were once hot items priced around $500, they now sell on eBay for as little as $20. A CoinWarz query estimated the dollar productivity of these two machines to be about $0.16 per day. I clearly wasn’t going to mine much Bitcoin, but I was excited to see how it worked first hand.
The next several hours were intense. Setting up wallets and mining pools, figuring out which SHA-256 coins were the most profitable to mine, getting the computer to recognize the USB block erupters, installing the proper versions if software and drivers, the list goes on… Some of the information online about these steps was good, some not so good, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me because I had to mine Bitcoin!
For anyone new to mining, I now want to describe the essential steps to setting up my first ASIC mine:
1. Plug in your USB ASIC Miner Block Erupters.
2. Download and setup a mining program. I tried several during my trials and eventually settled on a slightly older version of cgminer.
3. Download and install the proper drivers to allow your mining software to find your ASIC miners.
4. Setup a Bitcoin wallet. This can be accomplished by setting up a wallet backed up on your computer or very easily through Coinbase.
4. Join a mining pool. There are countless options here so try a google search. This gave me a location to direct my miners output and the ability to see if I was actually mining.
5. Direct the mining pool to deposit your Bitcoins into your wallet by imputting your wallet address.
6. Finally, input the proper commands into the mining software program (either manually or by creating a .bat file) and watch Bitcoins trickle into your account in the mining pool.
7. Enjoy your accomplishments. Don’t worry about how much Bitcoin you are mining, instead celebrate the fact that you have figured out how to successfully mine cryptocurrency!
I hope you have enjoyed this Bitcoin story. Some more mining stories with a higher Nerdometer ratings will be published soon!