Monero is one of the largest cryptocurrencies by market cap, with a current value of just over $60 and a total capitalization of more than $1 billion. It is a privacy-focused coin, which allows anyone to send or receive money, but with a completely hidden source. For this reason, it has had to fight a reputation for being popular with criminals. However, its proof-of-work consensus mechanism is typical of many of the largest cryptocurrencies – such as Bitcoin – and it is a popular choice the world over.
Now, a lot of cryptocurrency mining uses ASIC chips – Application-Specific Integrated Circuits. This was originally not an issue until demand for these went through the roof and ordinary miners started to find that they were too expensive. This created a problem in the eyes of many crypto advocates, as it was a move towards the kind of monopolies that are present in the financial mainstream. Therefore, some currencies – including Monero – declared that they would alter their protocol every six months so that it didn’t make financial sense to use ASICs to mine the currency. This means that anyone can mine Monero quite easily with a regular CPU or GPU. So, it’s the ideal entry point to crypto mining for beginners.
How to Get Started
The first thing to do is to check you’ve got a suitable graphics card and CPU. Nvidia and AMD are good options and XMR Stak is the go-to choice for miners. You can get hold of XMR Stak by clicking here. All you have to do is download the relevant zip file from the link and then run the file once it’s on your computer. Once you’ve done this, you will see that the application is asking if you want to mine Monero or Aeon. Choose Monero, then it’s time to look for a mining pool.
Choosing a Monero Pool
This is pretty simple, as most of the best choices are available here. When you’re making a choice, you need to check what the payout is going to be and what the pool fee is. Think about what you’re looking to make and make the best choice for you. While larger pools may offer larger payouts, joining a smaller pool could be more beneficial in the long run. This is because you are contributing to a fairer market with fewer monopolizing large businesses. Remember also that choosing a server that is relatively close to your location will be more efficient in terms of speed.
Connecting to the Pool
Once you have made your choice, you need to connect to the pool. To do this, get the details from the site – you’ll need the pool address to start with. After that, the application will ask for your Monero wallet address. If you’ve got this far, I’m going to assume that you have already set up a Monero wallet. But if not, check out the Ledger Nano S hardware wallet or Monero GUI wallet, which is the official desktop client of Monero.
After you have connected, the application will start running using your GPU. And that’s basically it – you can start mining. However, you’ll definitely want to keep checking the Github page for ongoing issues and fixes, as mining can be a complicated pastime when the error messages start appearing.
Mining With Your CPU
To mine using your CPU, you’ll need to configure the file directly. You’ll find a file called CPU in your XMR Stak file. For this, you’ll need to know how more cores your CPU has, then alter the text file to tell it which cores you want to use.
Now, there are a couple of options and scenarios here. First, you’re going to leave this computer hooked up to the mining pool 24/7. If this is the case, then you can tell the application to use all of your available cores, so that every last bit of your CPU is being used to mine as much Monero as possible. The alternative is that you’re mining in the background while using your computer. In this case, if you’re looking to use your machine for typical work stuff, like Microsoft applications and Internet browsing, you should leave at least 25% of your total cores free for this – so make sure you tell the application not to use a couple!
Advantages of Monero
Monero is certainly a currency that many people consider to be worth mining. The main reason is the privacy that the currency stands for versus, say, Bitcoin. It is not just about anonymity – it’s also about knowing that the Monero that you receive isn’t going to get you in trouble. If you receive stolen Bitcoin, you’ll be in an awkward situation, but this isn’t a possibility with Monero as the origin is completely hidden.
Also, the costs of mining and of the power you need to run mining applications are relatively low, despite Monero being a relatively valuable, secure coin. And its resistance to ASIC miners means that you are never likely to be pushed out of the market by escalating costs. This means that you could start small and build up your mining operation.
Finally, you can mine Monero and exchange it for Bitcoin very easily. This means you can build a Bitcoin holding without actually mining or buying it. This is an attractive sidestep into the Bitcoin market for many miners out there.