Bitcoin mining software is an essential part of Bitcoin, or any other cryptocurrency, mining. It’s an important part of your mining and can be worth comparing in detail.
This guide explains the difference between different types of Bitcoin mining software, what it does and what to consider when choosing one.
What Bitcoin mining software does
Mining software is important. Its basic function is to let your computer speak to your crypto mining hardware and let your mining hardware speak to the blockchain (if you’re solo mining) or the mining pool (if you’re pool mining).
It provides information such as fan speeds, temperatures and other information necessary for mining, and lets you make adjustments.
Before you can choose the right mining software, you’ll need to know what coins you want to mine and what kind of hardware you’ll be mining with.
Is Bitcoin mining profitable?
Bitcoin mining is only profitable if you meet the following criteria:
Have sufficient capital to set up a large scale mining operation to benefit from economy of scale
Have access to enough cheap, wholesale electricity
Have enough relevant knowledge and skill to ensure you’re optimizing the mining process
In all other cases, it’s better to simply buy Bitcoin.
Quick Guide: How to buy BTC
Register for an account with a cryptocurrency exchange like Kraken.
Verify your account.
Enable two-factor authentication.
Click “Funding” then “Deposit.”
Select a currency as the payment option, then choose your transfer method.
With that, there are several factors to consider to help you choose the ideal mining software for your needs.
What hardware it supports
What operating systems it’s for
Whether it supports current mining protocols
Whether it’s for pool or solo mining
How good it is
What hardware does it support?
There are four main types of mining hardware: CPU, GPU, ASIC and FPGA.
Different types of software will support different combinations of them, so you have to choose software that supports your hardware.
Bitcoin can only be mined with ASIC hardware, while others are best mined with GPU.
What operating systems does it support?
Like any other software, you’ll need to find one that works for Windows, Mac OS or Linux as needed.
Generally, all mining software will work on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Does it support current mining protocols?
The mining protocol essentially determines how your mining hardware speaks to the blockchain, and how exactly it performs the proof of work the blockchain requires of it.
The main mining protocol for Bitcoin is Stratum, but other coins have their own.
You’ll typically want to make sure your mining software is up to date with the latest mining protocol, but not all software will be equally up to date all the time.
Is it for pool mining, solo mining or both?
Some software will support solo mining, while many more are geared towards the more popular pooled mining.
How good is it?
The overall goodness of mining software depends on what you’re looking for. Generally, a graphics user interface is useful, although more experienced users might be happy with text-based software.
Someone interested in maximizing performance may want software that gives more meticulous control over the hardware, while someone who just wants an easy mining experience may prefer something faster and simpler to set up and get started.
Must read: Avoid scams
The main thing to be aware of when downloading mining software is that you have to make sure it’s safe and that you are downloading a legitimate version.
It’s common for fraudulent versions to pose as the real ones in order to install malware and viruses on people’s systems.
Unfortunately, it’s also common for legitimate mining software to register as malware and trigger antivirus warnings.
You should also ensure that any updated version of mining software you download is safe.
It’s a good idea to do the following:
Only use open-source mining software, and verify the safety of the code yourself.
Check each new version for issues before installing it
Andrew Munro is the cryptocurrency editor at Finder. He was initially writing about insurance, when he accidentally fell in love with digital currency and distributed ledger technology (aka “the blockchain”). Andrew has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales, and has written guides about everything from industrial pigments to cosmetic surgery.
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