Menu IconA vertical stack of three evenly spaced horizontal lines. So far, the device of starting a LiteCoin Mine to mine the ethereum cryptocurrency has been the traditional computer graphics card.
That could soon change when specialized devices commonly known as “ASICs” are introduced in July, which are much more efficient at mining cryptocurrencies than graphics cards. Currently, only one company called Bitmain is producing ASICs designed for mining ethereum. 2,150 and they’re sold out at the time of writing. ASICs “could have a negative impact on the Ethereum community and therefore on Ethereum price,” said Sam Doctor, a managing director at Fundstrat Global Advisors who spoke with Bloomberg. First of all, a quick recap of what cryptocurrency mining entails and why people do it.
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When someone is mining for cryptocurrency, they’re making their computers verify digital cryptocurrency transactions, like a ledger. Verifying these transactions involves solving incredibly complex mathematical problems. The problems are so complex that your computer is most likely just a small contributor towards solving the problem – it’s a mere “node” among several other nodes. The allure of tasking your computer to solve these problems and verify crypto transactions is getting rewarded with a small bit of the cryptocurrency itself. Built-up over time, that reward could be pretty tempting, especially when the price of a cryptocurrency skyrockets, like bitcoin did in early 2017. A miner is rewarded because the process of verifying crypto transactions actually uses up a lot of electricity, which can run up your electricity bill quite considerably.
Without some kind of incentive, there would be few reasons to pay higher electricity bills to mine cryptocurrency. The best way to mine ethereum so far is to use computer-graphics cards. The standard graphics card is primarily designed to render the visuals and graphics of pretty much anything you see on your computer screen. That includes your operating system whether it’s Windows 10 or macOS, your apps, and video games. Graphics cards are also used by professionals for photo and video editing. These graphics cards are widely available consumer products used by pretty much anyone with a need for one.
They can be bought at regular tech stores like Best Buy or at online stores like Newegg. It also turns out that graphics cards are good at solving the complex math problems to verify a crypto transaction. But they’re not as good as ASIC mining devices. ASICs are basically devices that are designed to do one thing, and they’re really good at it. ASIC stands for “application-specific integrated circuit. In other words, an ASIC is a device that’s designed for a specific purpose or use. By focusing on a single application, ASICs are often better than other devices that are designed around a broader set of applications.
With that in mind, an ASIC can actually be any electronic device with a specific application, not just a cryptocurrency-mining device. Still, dedicated devices used for mining cryptocurrency are generally known as ASICs. ASIC-mining devices are generally rectangular devices with barely any styling. Inside the utilitarian metal chassis are components that are much more efficient than traditional graphics cards at solving the math problems to verify crypto transactions because they’re purely designed to mine cryptocurrencies. You can think of it like the difference between soccer cleats and regular sneakers. Sneakers are extremely versatile – you can wear them pretty much anywhere and even play soccer with them. Soccer cleats, on the other hand, wouldn’t be comfortable for taking a walk.
They’re specifically designed to offer traction and control on the slick grass of a soccer field, and they’ll offer much better performance for playing soccer, if that’s your intention. ASIC mining devices designed for mining ethereum are much more cost efficient than graphics cards. Trust me, rounding out won’t make a difference. And there are even more costs associated with graphics card mining that aren’t necessary with ASIC mining.
When mining with a graphics card, you need a full computer, including the motherboard, processor, RAM, and power supply units, and even a copy of the Windows operating system which can add several hundreds of dollars to the cost on top of the graphics cards themselves. Currently, Windows is still the best operating system for mining cryptocurrency. GTX 1080Ti graphics cards, which is significantly more efficient. And you don’t need to buy separate computer parts for ASIC mining. So you can use your current laptop, whether it’s a Mac or Windows computer, or even your mobile device. You don’t necessarily need to buy extra parts.
To top it all off, the Bitmain E3 mining device also draws less power for the same hash rate, which means lower electricity bills. There are varying models of ASIC miners. Some are designed to mine specific cryptocurrencies like bitcoin itself, litecoin. Soon, models that can mine ethereum will emerge. Different ASIC miners also come with varying price tags. An ASIC miner’s price tag usually reflects how quickly they can process the complex problems that are used to verify digital cryptocurrency transactions.
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The higher the number, the faster the problems can be solved. Starting in July, ASIC mining company Bitmain will release a model that can be used specifically to mine the ethereum cryptocurrency. Ethereum developers are worried about ASICs because they could be too good at mining ethereum. ASIC devices have been used to mine other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and litecoin for some time now.
And now they’re soon becoming available to mine ethereum. Once ASIC devices become available for ethereum miners, ethereum developers are worried they’ll negatively impact the very essence of ether as a cryptocurrency. One of the fears is that they’ll drive away a large number of casual or amateur ether miners who use graphics card to mine ethereum. The belief is that ASIC ether-mining devices will be so powerful that mining with graphics cards won’t be profitable anymore.
So, casual miners with graphics cards will stop mining. In turn, fewer ethereum miners means the ethereum cryptocurrency would become less decentralized, and it could inch further and further into something that resembles the traditional centralized banking system. The introduction of ASIC miners designed for ethereum “would not be in the economic best interests of any participant in a cryptocurrency ecosystem as it would weaken faith in the currency, causing its value to fall,” according to Susquehanna Investment Group’s Christopher Rolland, who spoke with Bloomberg. Why don’t casual or amateur ethereum miners simply buy ASIC machines? Indeed, anyone can buy an ASIC from companies like Bitmain. But then again, remember that ASIC machines can only do one thing: Mine cryptocurrency.
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You’d have to willingly invest in an ASIC device that can only be used for crypto-mining. Meanwhile, a lot of people have graphics cards for their work or hobbies. They aren’t necessarily investments purely dedicated to cryptocurrency mining, and they have a less limited value than ASIC devices. I have one of the most powerful graphics cards available in my PC designed to play video games. And while I have this graphics card, I might as well set it to mine for cryptocurrencies while I’m not playing a game to get the financial reward.
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But if someone isn’t that interested in cryptocurrency mining, there’s less chance they’ll buy an ASIC device to mine because ASIC devices are extremely expensive. Graphic cards fit in perfectly with ethereum developers’ vision where the project was run by a “world computer,” according to Bloomberg. Millions of people already have graphics cards that can contribute to the decentralized ethereum ledger. 2,150 Antminer E3 designed for etherum mining. Over the past year Litecoin has solidified its place alongside Bitcoin as a viable digital currency.
If you’re brand new to Litecoin and don’t yet have a Litecoin wallet I’d suggest checking out our guide to Getting Started With Litecoin. It provides an overview of Litecoin and a guide to setting up a wallet. If you want to get started as quickly as possible with mining then skip ahead to the Installing GUI Miner Scrypt section. Litecoin mining is the process of using your computer’s resources in order to help run the Litecoin network. Like most cryptocurrencies, Litecoin is initially distributed through block rewards, where miner’s get a certain number of Litecoins by solving a certain amount of cryptographic work. Originally mining could be done individually, referred to as solo mining. However, over time it became too difficult to do individually as the probability of finding a block solo mining became very low.
This led groups of miners to develop what is referred to as pool mining. Today nearly all miners use pool mining, where they mine in groups resulting in steadier payouts. The original Bitcoin client included a CPU miner that beginners could use to solo mine. GPUs offered much faster speeds than CPUs. Litecoin’s original design was intended to prevent GPU mining and did so by using the memory intensive Scrypt hashing algorithm as opposed to the SHA-256 algorithm used by Bitcoin. Eventually mining programs were developed for GPU mining Litecoin, though the difference between CPU mining and GPU mining remained smaller with Litecoin than it had been with Bitcoin. However, a recent rewrite of some of the software involved with NVIDIA mining has lessened the gap.
While Radeon cards still offer higher hash rates, NVIDIA cards are generally easier to tune. If you’re looking to build a fast, high end mining rig then Radeon is still the way to go. This tutorial covers two mining programs. CUDA Miner is a command line program, meaning you have to use the command line in windows to run it. GUIMiner Scypt has a graphical user interface that runs CUDA Miner for you, which is easier for many people.
I’ll be covering GUI Miner Scrypt first, though CUDA Miner is covered later. If you’re comfortable with the windows command line I suggest you use CUDA Miner. GUI Miner Scrypt currently does not output your hash rate, or mining speed, due to a small programming issue. Thus you’ll get more feedback, and it will be easier to debug, if you use CUDA Miner. The latest version of CUDA Miner is also considerably faster than the latest version of GUI Miner Scrypt.
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You’ll need to download a couple of things in order to start mining Litecoin with your Nvidia GPU. For this portion of the tutorial we’ll be focusing on GUIMiner Scrypt, though you’ll need the same programs for CUDA Miner. In order for GUIMiner Scrypt to function correctly you’ll need to update your drivers directly from NVIDIA. If you’re looking to build CUDA Miner from source you’ll need the developer’s toolkit listed below. Download GUIMiner Scrypt From Mega V0.
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Once you’ve downloaded GUI Miner Scrypt you’ll have to set up an account at a mining pool. We’ll also be using their mining proxy program, which makes it a bit easier to setup your mining program. Make sure to record you login credentials or choose something you can easily remember. You’ll need them to manage your account and to receive the Litecoin that you mine. You can setup multiple works for multiple miners, but for this tutorial you’ll just need one. You’ll also need to download their proxy program, which makes setup a bit easier and can make mining slightly more reliable and efficient for you. First off go ahead and double click on stratum_proxy.
Once the proxy is up and running then you can open up GUI Miner Scrypt. Once you have everything setup save your settings and then click Start. Because of a small issue, GUI Miner Scrypt will just continually say Starting in the bottom right hand corner. However, checking the proxy program should show you some activity. If you see activity similar to the below screenshot you should be good to go and hashing. 20 minutes to update and is an average over time, not exactly what speed you’re at at that moment. If you want better stats then I suggest trying out CUDA Miner from the command line, covered below.
CUDA Miner is the command line program used for Litecoin mining with NVIDIA graphics cards. Since it is a command line program it’s not quite as beginner friendly. It works essentially the same as GUI Miner Scrypt but requires that you setup a configuration file or pass some arguments to it when it first starts. If this isn’t something you’re comfortable with then I suggest you stick to GUI Miner Scrypt. Otherwise you can download the most recent version of CUDA Miner from the link below.
Download the Latest CUDAminer Nvidia GPU Miner Software
You’ll need to open up a command prompt and navigate to the folder containing CUDA Miner. Once you’re up and running you should see something like the below screenshot. Mining speed is measured in number of hashes per second. Litecoin you’ll be earning based off of your hash rate. The newest version of CUDA Miner hashes considerably faster than the older version. At the moment, the newest version of GUI Miner Scrypt uses the older version of CUDA Miner. If you’re looking to get the fastest possible speed, try out the latest version of CUDA Miner or make sure to update GUIMiner Scrypt once a new version is available.
One thing we didn’t cover earlier is that using the proxy program is not mandatory. You can connect to most pools directly by using a url they provide instead of a proxy and 127. Just follow the instructions your pool provides you for worker settings. At this point you should be mining Litecoin, congratulations!