Programming a crypto mining rig: How does it work?
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There are currently over five industries where the services of blockchain programmers are required. However, without the right set of skills to program the blockchain, you won’t be able to tap into this market’s potential. In this article, Amir Gvili teaches you how to program a crypto mining rig.
Last year, cryptocurrencies enjoyed a massive amount of media attention. Bitcoin’s value skyrocketing from about $800 in December 2016 to $20,000 by the end of 2017 has given lots of people reasons to invest or make effort and earn money off cryptocurrencies. For many developers, investing, mining and programming the blockchain technology are the best options.
Investing in Bitcoins
Computer programmers, bloggers, and IT enthusiasts were among the very first groups of people to invest in bitcoins. The world’s first bitcoin billionaires, besides its founder, were computer developers who had previously sued Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing their idea while studying together at Harvard. These days, almost everyone with an idea about bitcoin can invest.
Naturally, programming should be the best option for any computer developer who enjoys coding. As cryptocurrencies continue to gain wider adoption, applications for the blockchain technology are increasing:
- The blockchain is a digital ledger of facts (records) that are arranged in groups of data referred to as blocks. These blocks are interlinked, and each time a block is completed, a new one is opened.
- The blocks are interlinked through a secure validation system known as hashing. When linked together, blocks complete a blockchain.
- The blockchain uses a peer to peer system for storing data, meaning that records validated are stored in multiple locations and fact-checked every few minutes.
Currently, there are more than five industries where the services of blockchain programmers are required. Blockchain startups are certainly the biggest employers, with some networks offering starting salaries of up to $100,000.
While investing in cryptocurrencies and programming the blockchain network are the most lucrative options for a programmer, they come with challenges. A coding enthusiast without money to invest will definitely be locked out of the cryptocurrency craze happening today. On the other hand, without the right set of skills to program the blockchain, you won’t get employed.
How to program a crypto mining rig?
Mining, the process of validating transactions on the blockchain, continues to become competitive as more people become miners. Mining bitcoins, for example, is now more difficult and demands much more sophisticated hardware. Add that to the fact that the reward to complete a blockchain is halved every four years and you get reasons as to why more coders are shifting toward mining altcoins. View these statistics about how altcoins performed in offering value to miners and investors in 2017 and you might get convinced to program a mining rig for Ethereum, Litecoin or any other valuable altcoin:
- Neo coin gave investors a return of 31620.81%.
- PIVS returned 25971.53%.
- BitBean returned 8441.22%
- Ethereum returned 3683.83%
- Ripple returned 2332.16%
- Dash coin returned 1968.06%
- Litecoin returned 920.09%.
- Dogecoin returned 685.20%
- Monero returned 251.63%.
- Bitcoin returned 355.31%.
Compared to Bitcoin, most altcoins offered greater returns to miners in 2017. This year, the trend is expected to follow a similar path. Most altcoins that rely on a blockchain to store records are in great need of miners. The rigs you need to mine altcoins are inexpensive and easy to program.
Follow the guide below to program a 6 GPU Litecoin mining rig.
Components to buy
- Motherboard-find a powerful motherboard that can also offer services for long.
- Power supply unit-mining is a huge consumer of power. Find a PSU rated between 750watts and 2000 watts depending on your needs.
- Graphics Cards-purchase high-quality 4-6 GPUs, each with speeds of 450kh/s or higher.
- RAM — you need at least 4GB RAM for a dedicated Litecoin mining rig. You may need to add more RAM depending on the software you use.
- Powered riser cables-riser cables help connect the graphic cards to the motherboard while leaving space for heat dissipation.
- Hard drive — a solid state drive of between 60GB and 120GB is enough for a dedicated mining rig.
- A fan to provide extra cooling.
- Linux operating system — Linux is considered the best operating system for mining litecoin. It keeps the heat down and helps improve your return on investment in the long run. However, Windows OS or IOS are still great alternatives.
- Accessories — you will need a monitor, keyboard, mouse and USB cables, especially when programming the rig.
- A case-purchase a special mining case to keep the components in place or build one with readily available materials.
Assemble the components
Unpack the components. Start by installing RAM and the processor. Plug in riser cables and plug in your solid state drive. Connect the GPUs, power supply, and all other accessories. Ensure your GPU drivers are updated before you can head on to the next stage. Install an operating system and head on to your next programming stage:
Install GPU software for the rig
Most developers use cgminer as the preferred software program for mining Litecoins. Cgminer is freely available on the developer’s website or through unofficial binaries for Mac users. Download the program and follow the following command line arguments:
- Extract cgminer into a folder. Give the folder a name you will easily remember.
- Press the Windows key and the “R” key at the same time.
- Type “cmd” and press “enter.”
- Use the cd command on the command terminal and change the directory to the location where you stored the cgminer zip file.
- Type “cgminer.exe –n”
- A list of available devices on your computer will appear. Your graphics cards should appear. If they don’t appear, make proper configurations.
At this stage, you should have a cryptocurrency wallet and your mining pool’s details. It’s important that you join a mining pool as mining alone is never feasible. It takes longer to complete a blockchain, sometimes even years. Access your mining pool details and structure the cgminer accordingly. Here is a guide:
- URL to the mining pool server.
- Port number of the server.
- Your user name
- Your worker name
You may go the extra mile and link your GPU miner with your computer’s CPU cores for faster mining. Access the “minerd” command and add the number of CPU cores you wish to dedicate to mining. The cgminer software will show you the hash speed of both CPU and GPU units. On average, the GPU speed will be five times faster than CPU mining.
To sum up
Programming a Litecoin mining rig isn’t difficult, is it? However, getting the above components together takes time. Some can also be expensive. Take time and assess your options. If you can afford ASIC mining rigs, they are much more efficient. If you find a manually assembled rig more convenient, go for it.
Hopefully, everything works out for you as you program your first rig.