This article is all about my experience with Etherium mining. Though it was a failure, I clearly see a profitable path which I must share. It was in 2012 that I first really thought about cryptocurrency. It was not the allure of extreme profits or anything else, but the simple fact that I could make money sitting on my PC. I still remember a day in October 2012 when unable to do anything else due to typhoid, I stumbled upon bitcoin.
My laptop was anyways 4 years old by then and always on, so I was like ‘why not?’ The thing that actually stopped me then was the 5GB in bitcoin ledger that I needed to download before starting to actually mine. 5GB takes roughly a day in 512kbps connection, so it wasn’t that bad. But it was enough for the sick me to stop thinking about it and move into something else.
The second instance was when I joined the college in 2014 and bitcoin was again in news. Now I had free internet and electricity, but still that now 6-year laptop. It was frankly impossible to mine with that. In hindsight given the explosive growth in valuation even my turd laptop may have given me many thousands, but no use crying over spilled milk.
Fast forward to April 2017. I had just ordered a laptop with a GTX1060 graphics card from China for about 90k INR, which was much cheaper than the Indian prices of over 1.5 lakhs at that time. Aside from little gaming and productivity, I didn’t have time to use it for mining especially considering that laptops aren’t meant for 24 hours usage with heating issues, something which I would learn later.
But I decided to take the plunge after seeing massive crypto boom in late 2017. My first idea was to put in fiat currency to promising ICOs, short for Initial Coin Offering. Few like Bankera and Coinvest had highly rated ICOs around that time and I had few thousands to spend. As it turned out, many of these ICOs only accepted Etherium or other cryptocurrencies.
Etherium is universally accepted as most of these newer currencies are based on Solidity, a contract-oriented programming language developed in large part by etherium founders.
So, I was in a bind. Another issue was the looming government specter on transactions involving cryptocurrencies which were not outright banned at that point but were inviting increased scrutiny for tax purposes. Mining was the only solution where I could own crypto without government limitations. Hence, I started mine on my 1060 laptop.
Now, there are tons of currencies to mine and if you go across messageboards, you will see that newer currencies may have higher payout per duration that established ones as their complexity is lesser.
However, I chose etherium to mine as it has the widest acceptance in ICOs and has a stable valuation, as compared to other cryptos. I used cryptocompare.com to calculate the average earnings that I would get.
For 1060, the current amount stands at roughly 27USD per month excluding electricity for 20MH/s that 1060 can achieve, and I regularly achieved 18MH/s with my laptop version which is obviously constrained by thermals.
To mine cryptocurrencies, you need basically two things-
- A miner software
- A mining pool, because unless you mine on an industrial scale like people do in China and Russia owing to much cooler temperatures keeping running costs low, you won’t get anything
For mining any currency, you need to set a wallet. I used Jaxx. Just install them and you will have a public and private key for each currency you need for your wallet. All these steps are taken care of by some services like minergate and other GUI miners that can select the best currency and mine them for you.
Problem is that they offer you less value for your processing power than setting up your own miner and connecting it to a pool.
People with mining exclusive rigs prefer linux systems with special versions like ethOS specially catering to such people as they are lightweight and reduce system requirements in comparison to Windows. I used Windows as I had other stuff to do on my laptop too. The best miner in my experience is the Claymore miner.
While it started as an AMD only miner for etherium, it now supports dual mining (where you mine two currencies together with different algorithms offering maximum utilization of your GPU) and is decent for Nvidia graphics cards. I do what to note that AMD cards offer better value for etherium mining than Nvidia cards, but I wanted to mine ETH because of aforementioned reasons.
Do note that mining software is free because the developers take 1-2% of your mining time to mine for their account and have made millions which can be confirmed by their account statistics on their miner pool. If you do not want to pay them, then there are versions available that remove that miner fees.
As a certain amount of power is invested in mining, a ‘block’ gets mined containing a set number of coins and is distributed evenly to miners in proportion to the power they invested. But the number of coins is the smaller denominator that you can get.
So, mining individually you will probably get nothing as your invested power is too low to get a coin. Instead, pooling servers are a collective of thousands of individual miners who pool their resources and are given parts of the coins as per their invested power. As you may have guessed it, they charge roughly 1-2% of your computational time as mining fees.
This is something which you cannot avoid. Reputed pools include nano pool, ethermine etc. for ETH mining. I used nano pool and their pooling statistics were pretty accurate to the rate I was mining at as per my calculations. Pools have a minimum threshold for a payout over which currency will be paid out to you. It is 0.05 ETH for nano pool.
So, to start mining, steps are –
Detailed guidelines on how to register your Claymore miner to Nanopool are given at nanopool.org
My mining story did not end as well as my laptop GPU died one month in even before I could reach the 0.05 ETH threshold for payout probably due to thermals and is still in China for repairs. So, I do not suggest mining on a laptop if your laptop is not under warranty as thermals are not conducive for mining.
You can see my nanopool account here where you can verify my performance and the lessons learnt.