When Satoshi Nakamoto first introduced Bitcoin, it was possible for people to mine the coins using laptops and desktops. The first bitcoin miners used standard multi-core CPU. The difficulty of mining was so low that if you had a couple of computers lying around with decent specs you could have earned around $5 a day.
With the introduction of large-scale mining operations and the emergence of Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) software, created specifically for mining, it became impossible to profit anymore using standard home computers.
However, with the advent of ASICs resistant algorithms, it is still possible to mine cryptocurrencies from home in 2020 using CPU’s and GPU’s. This article will look at five popular and viable home mining alternatives.
Related Reading: What’s China’s Stance on Bitcoin Mining?
Ethereum (ETH) is the world’s second largest cryptocurrency. At the time of writing, Ethereum currently uses a Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism similar to Bitcoin, which requires developers to authenticate and validate transactions on the blockchain.
However, it must be noted that at some stage in 2020, Ethereum is expected to migrate to a Proof of Stake (PoS), which negates the necessity of mining to validate transactions and achieve consensus on the blockchain.
Ethereum's current PoW mechanism utilizes the ASIC-resistant Ethash algorithm, which permits home mining. However, to maximize earnings, miners have to acquire the most powerful graphics cards on the market and share their processing power over the network by joining mining pools.
Mining ETH is a straightforward process and once you download the blockchain from the Ethereum website and set up your wallet, you can start mining by changing a few settings on your node.
Vertcoin (VTC) also known as the people’s coin is a digital currency launched in 2014. It was designed to be decentralized and mined by anyone, profitably. To accomplish this the developers created an ASIC resistant PoW blockchain, which means that GPU’s and CPU’s are the most effective way of mining the currency.
What makes Vertcoin so popular for home miners is its Lyra2RE algorithm, which was specifically designed to support easy mining. To get started, miners simply have to download the software and they can join a mining pool to increase processing power and profits.
To counter the threat of ASIC miners specifically for its network, the blockchain developers have hard coded a hard fork to occur every six months.
Mining Grin the GPU way is quite hardware intensive and miners here are a few things to consider such as the need for a powerful Nvidia graphic card, which can be expensive at first but more cost effective in the long run.
Memory is another issue and miners will require a minimum of 5.5 GB space to get started. Finally, miners will have to guard against excessive heat levels, which have the potential to damage hardware.
To begin mining Grin miners can download the blockchain and set up a node. Once the blockchain is synced with your wallet you must then configure your graphics card, so it is compatible with your wallet.
ZCash (ZEC) is one of the leading enhanced privacy coins favored by the likes of Edward Snowden. It is similar to Bitcoin with a fixed total supply of 21 million tokens.
ZEC’s PoW consensus mechanism utilizes the Equihash algorithm. This is helps it remain ASIC resistant and home miners with a GPU can participate in the network.
Like Grin it is also quite hardware intensive and miners will require graphics cards to boost their processing power. Overheating can be another concern and miners are advised to use fans to cool the GPU’s.
To start mining ZCash you will need to download both the blockchain to set up the node and the software to control the hardware. Furthermore, you will have to download the drivers for the graphics cards.
Due to excessive energy requirements it is advisable to consider joining mining pools to maximize profits.
Beam (BEAM) is an open source cryptocurrency running on the MimbleWimble implementation similar to Grin. It is well suited to home mining and employs the Beam Hash II algorithm, which is a modification of the Equihash algorithm.
To start mining Beam, miners first have to download the official Desktop Wallet, but the algorithm does support GPU mining, and is privacy friendly if that’s your thing.
To maximize privacy Beams network necessitates the use of expiring addresses. Miners must create a permanent address to ensure their tokens won't be lost. This can be done by creating a new address and setting it to never expire. Once the permanent address is secured, turn on the ‘Run Local Node’ feature and set the number of mining threads to a number greater than zero to begin.
It's All About Trial and Error
There are many more cryptocurrencies you can mine from home on your laptop or phone even. These are just 5 that I like to mine myself and I recommend giving them a try.
If you're interested in mining on your home computer, always do some research, because the costs change a lot, and advice on mining can outdate quickly. But I do recommend it, especially if you live in an area where the electricity is cheaper.
If anyone has any other ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
Author: Ronan Mullaney