Bitcoin Mining – How and Why

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Bitcoin Mining – How and Why

Ben St. John, Online Editor

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Last year, an article was published about how bitcoin miners knocked out the power in eastern Washington. How do these bitcoin mines use so much power that they knock out the power grid? Also, what’s with all the weird jargon like “hashes” and the “blockchain“? This will be explained, and much more!

First off, how does bitcoin mining work? Well, when you mine, your computer‘s GPU is used to solve complex encryption algorithms and output a “hash.” The hash is then used generate more of the currency, and is added to the “blockchain“, which is a record of all the things that happen on bitcoin servers. The computer who solves the algorithm is rewarded with some Satoshis(bitcoin pennies (1000 = about 6 cents)), with some algorithms give the solver more than others. The computations are measured in Kilo hashes/second (1000 hashes) and Mega hashes/second (1000000 hashes), so it adds up. When I mine on my gaming laptop (GTX 1060, I7 7th gen), I can usually achieve 450 kH/s under ideal conditions, and average 280 – 320 kH/s. Of course, this generates a ton of heat and requires lot of power (that’s how the mining server rooms knocked out the grid). Now you’re probably wondering: how do I start mining?

The first step in mining is usually to do some research into what your computer hardware is. I mine with a single GTX 1060, which is child‘s play compared to some of the other insane mining rigs. According to Tokens24, the best card to mine on is the GTX 1080 Ti, with its pascal architecture and 3584 CUDA cores. Its core clock is 1,582 MHz, slightly more than the Titan XP‘s 1,417 MHz It also has 8 gigs of VRAM. But what about the new RTX 2080 Ti? While it hashes faster than the 1080 Tiit also costs about $800 more than a 1080 Ti you can buy on eBay ($550), thusincreasing the time it takes to pay off the rig. Usually, mining on Nvidia cards is favored due to the drivers enabling more modularity of how the processing power is spent. But there are other options. For example, the AMD Radeon cards are mined on very often, and they are more affordable. There are also setups that don’t even use GPUs, and they are called ASIC miners and are made specially for mining. One example of an ASIC miner manufacturer is AntMiner. They are famous for very powerful mining rigs, and the bitcoin mining Wi-Fi router. The router isn’t as strange as the bitcoin mining space heater though, which mines bitcoin to heat a room about the size of a studio.

The second step is to get mining software. The simplest is an app called Bitcoin Miner and can be downloaded off the Microsoft app store. It’s a very basic app, with a large start button, so its obviously user friendly. There are also options to mine in a pool, and that’s about it. The next miner is also user friendly. Its called Honey Miner. The miner has a nice UI, and there’s a leveling system. One of the problems I had with it is my PC‘s firewall blocking the program used to mine. Obviously, that’s not a problem with the miner, but if that happens, it needs to be unblocked in order to mine. Another good miner is called GUIMiner. You have to be apart of a mining pool to use it, though. Usually after getting a miner, you can start mining immediately. But Why? Why mine Bitcoin?
Well, first off, you get money! Albeit not a lot, (usually $900 a month, probably a lot less), but its essentially free money. Alsoit helps generate money in the crypto-currency world. Essentially, its like real life mining. So now you know how, what, and why. Hopefully, you learned enough .o go out and mine your own Bitcoins!