So, you’ve heard the buzz about Ethereum, the fuel of the decentralized crypto economy, and you want to learn how to mine it. This guide will explain all you need to know about how to mine Ethereum, from hardware to software. Read on for a comprehensive guide so you know how to set up and mine correctly.
Why Mine Ethereum?
While Bitcoin is the classic crypto-asset people think of when they think of mining for profit, competition from ASIC technology have made it impractical for most. Ethereum remains a competitive possibility for new miners.
For now, Ethereum depends on a “proof-of-work” protocol. This means that individual computers contribute power to do the consensus work for the distributed ledger technology. Miners solve math problems to validate blocks of transactions. They are rewarded with ETH tokens for their hard work.
In the future, Ethereum will implement the Casper update, which will combine “proof-of-work” and “proof-of-stake” consensus protocols. “Proof-of-work” means that rather than depending on individual computing power, miners will “stake” their tokens, putting them up as collateral for the mining they do. The more ETH tokens staked, the greater the rewards.
This is all part of Ethereum’s 2.0 overhaul, which will solve high fees and low scalability for the protocol. Until then, Ethereum is proof-of-work. This guide explains how you can mine Ethereum on your computer with proof-of-work.
Before venturing on an ETH mining adventure, hardware and costs need to be taken into account.
Ethereum ASIC and GPU Miners
|ASIC Miners||GPU Miner|
|Specialized usage cannot be repurposed to other functions||CPU can easily be repurposed to other functions like gaming, graphics and video editing|
|Energy-efficient compared to GPU miners||Less energy-efficient compared to ASIC miners|
Lower resale value due to limited use
|Higher resale value due to multiple uses of GPU|
|Usually has their own mining pools||Usually uses third party mining pools|
|Easier to setup and optimize||Entails some degree setup to optimize|
The first thing to think about is the consensus algorithm that Ethereum uses. This algorithm is called Ethash.
As mentioned above, Bitcoin mining often uses ASICs. ASICs are computers made to mine cryptocurrency in a cost and energy-efficient manner. Ethash, as opposed to Bitcoin’s mining algorithm, is ASIC resistant.
For the miner, this means that a computer with a GPU graphics processor will work almost as well as the special ASIC hardware. This technology is made so that individual users can mine Ethereum.
Both versions use complex calculations to solve math problems. Solving a problem results in a block reward, which is Ethereum tokens that are put into the miner’s Ethereum wallet. This can then be traded or changed on exchanges or sent between other Ethereum wallets.
Future versions of the algorithm may be even more ASIC resistant. There is the possibility of the ProgPOW change, which would give GPUs an even bigger advantage.
Either way, you will need a computer with a good GPU or an ASIC machine to mine. Most home miners will have a GPU. The better the hardware, the more calculations the machine can do. The more calculations the machine can do, the more likely it is to solve a block reward problem.
Ethereum Mining Hardware
The hash rate determines mining efficiency. The higher the hash rate, the more profitable the machines. A high hash rate means that the computer can solve calculations faster.
It is also important to take electricity into account. Mining uses a lot of electricity, making power usage a liability in the miner’s balance book. Also, energy is required to cool the GPU processor. Therefore, efficiency is important.
Mining Ethereum on PC
GPUs for Mining Ethereum
With supply chain disruption because of COVID-19, some devices may not be available. Still, many GPUs are available for mining Ethereum.
Here are some of the most popular GPUs used for mining Ethereum on PC:
XFX – AMD Radeon VII 16GB ~$600
+Lots of Ram +Runs Cool -Uses a lot of power
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 ~$550
+Good efficiency -Long Term expensive
AMD Radeon RX580 ~ $240
+Efficient +Good cooling -Often sold out
ASIC Machines for Mining Ethereum
There are also options for ASIC machines on the market. These are more like full machines that are designed only for cryptocurrency mining.
- This costs around $400 and is more complex to use than adding a GPU card to an existing computer.
Bitmain S17 Pro
- This ASIC miner is efficient and low cost but is also often out of stock.
Revenue from the best machines can be up to $10 a day. However, when considering an acquisition, maintenance, power costs, and overheads, the net yield is between $3 and $6 a day.
Some websites, like Cryptocompare, Whatomine.com, and F2Pool can show recent information about Ethereum mining profitability. They have Ethereum mining calculators that can help determine profit.
Costs of Ethereum Mining
In theory, the higher the hash rate, the better the mining machine. But the costs of acquiring the machines need to be taken into account. Also, devices may depreciate over time, not to mention power efficiency. It may take some time to see a full return on investment. This is true for all types of Ethereum mining machines.
For Ethereum, ASIC machines are not usually worthwhile. As mentioned above, the Ethereum community plans to change the consensus protocol and may make mining Ethereum even more ASIC resistant.
Users of ASICs also complain about issues with firmware and hardware support. In general, ASICs are complex to use.
In contrast, GPUs are one computer component that can be removed and still give the machine some use. They tend to keep their value, as well and can be resold. In addition to mining, GPUs can be used for gaming.
Unfortunately, Ethereum mining can wear down GPUs. This is one of the reasons that a proper cooling system is so important. GPUs that lose their power with heavy use are common and resell for less. All the same, they tend to keep their value better than ASICs.
The protocol and network for Ethereum are changing, and those changes need to be taken into account. The hash rate for ETH, though rising, is still lower than it was in November 2018. This means that mining Ethereum now is more profitable than it was then, at least in a relative sense.
Mining rewards were reduced in February 2019. Ethereum experienced the Constantinople's hard fork. This reduced block rewards from 3ETH to 2ETH. It may decrease in the future. On the other hand, the price of each Ethereum token has risen significantly in the past months. So profitability is still possible.
Changes in the protocol should not discourage miners from trying to learn how to mine Ethereum. Though Ethereum 2.0 will introduce proof-of-stake, it will not completely take over as the main mining mechanism all at once.
What’s more, the more mining is done now, the more ETH tokens the miner will have to stake later on. Staking still requires hardware, so having the hardware will not be a waste, even if proof-of-work is entirely phased out.
Mining on a home system can theoretically bring Ethereum into the user’s wallet. But you are much more likely to find success as part of an Ethereum mining pool.
Ethereum Mining Pools
Though a home miner can mine to gain a block reward, the hashing power needed to discover a block is quite high. Therefore, many Ethereum miners choose to join an Ethereum mining pool. This way, you will not have to wait for years for a payout.
Mining pools work when miners combine their hash power and then share the profits of other miners. Often, a miner has to pay fees to join a pool. This will make the profits slightly smaller. The difference may be a loss of less than 2%, but it is beneficial in the long runial.
Some of the largest pools you can join include Ethermine, Sparkpool, F2pool, and Nanopool.
The different pools have different makeups. They use different fee models, and payouts are different. There is also a minimum amount to be paid out or to be paid in. Costs tend to be near 1%, and at least one-tenth of an ETH token will be needed to cash out. Having consistent earnings, rather than waiting users for a block reward, is worth it for most people.
Software is easily found on the internet to allow for pool mining. Some popular ones include CGMiner, Geth, Phoenix Miner, and Ethminer. Always make sure to be downloading the files from a trusted website. Nobody wants to get scammed.
The pools also require software. The software may change depending on which pool you mine with. They will provide instructions on how to do this.
Cloud Mining Ethereum
Another method of mining is cloud mining. This can be done via any way you access the internet, so in a way is mining on a PC, Android, Mac, or whatever operating system you have.
Except it is not your hardware doing the mining. You do not need to buy any special hardware to do cloud mining. You can do this by renting hash power on a website.
Ethereum hash power can be bought on sites like NiceHash or Minergate. Many other services exist. This is a way to generate some passive income without any upfront overhead fees.
All the repairs and electricity cost considerations are done for you. You can add and remove your investment as you like. For people who do not want to buy equipment, cloud mining Ethereum can be a good option.
There are drawbacks to cloud mining Ethereum. Most of these services ask for payment before rewards are seen, rather than after. As with all parts of the crypto space, cloud mining comes with risks.
Some services could take a user’s money or go out of business without paying contributors. NiceHash was unable to repay the victims of an attack last year. They were not held accountable.
This method of mining has less risk because of the lack of overhead costs. On the other hand, miners who cloud mine Ethereum are essentially paying to rent hardware and enter a pool, paying to mine in two different ways. As a result, cloud mining Ethereum usually not profitable in the long run.
Most users would be better off mining Ethereum on a PC. This way to mine ethereum is the most profitable way to add value to your Ethereum wallet.
Step by Step Tutorial How to Mine Ethereum
If you have not done so, procure the equipment you want to mine with. The best mining equipment undoubtedly are ASIC machines, but they are expensive and are single-purpose devices. You are better off using GPUs to mine. They can be used for other applications, and one can easily sell them later to recoup costs.
A couple of things you need to consider when selecting the GPU to buy. As a rule of thumb, the more processing power the GPU, the higher are your chances of getting block rewards. Also, when mining Ethereum, GPU memory is important; the higher the Video memory, the higher its hash rate.
It is also advisable to update to the latest driver versions of the GPU you will use. The latest drivers version often has the latest optimization code as well as fixes for recently discovered bugs.
After selecting the mining hardware, the next step is to select the mining software. There are quite a number of options we can choose from, ranging from software that runs on top of your existing computer or a full-blown operating system specifically designed for mining cryptos. We chose to use the Claymore dual miner for this tutorial.
Claymore requires you to use a GPU with at least 4GB of video memory. Make sure you adhere to this rule for more effective mining activity. You can download the software miner at https://claymoredualminer.com. Choose the version compatible with your operating system.
The file is a compressed zip file. Uncompress the contents of the zip file into a folder. Once you have extracted the ZIP file's contents,, you will discover several pre-configured batch files that you can use to initiate your mining activity.
Once you have selected the equipment, you want to use for mining as well as the mining software, we will now select which mining pool you want to join. There is so much competition in mining Ethereum right now that it is nearly impossible to mine on your own. You can select from the many mining pools we have discussed earlier.
Alternatively, you can choose from the list of mining pools included with the claymore ZIP file. These are BAT files that are pre-configured to mine on specific mining pools. For now, remember that you have these options. We will get back on configuring your BAT file later on this tutorial.
Now that you know the hardware, software, and network pool where you will mine, prepare the wallet where you will receive mining rewards. Using non-custodial wallets works best, but you can also use custody services so long that they are safe. Some of the best known non-custodial wallets include MyEtherwallet, Metamask, and TrustWallet. Any secure wallet will do, especially those where users hold their own private keys.
That's it! Now we have all the things we needed to mine crypto. We begin by creating a BAT file that will serve as the executable file. You can use notepad to create this just make sure you choose “All Files” as the file type. Once you created the BAT file, input this commands in your BATCH file:
setx GPU_FORCE_64BIT_PTR 0
setx GPU_MAX_HEAP_SIZE 100
setx GPU_USE_SYNC_OBJECTS 1
setx GPU_MAX_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
setx GPU_SINGLE_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
EthDcrMiner64.exe -epool eu1.ethermine.org:4444 -eworker YOUR_RIG_NAME -ewal YOUR_WALLET ADDRESS -epsw x
Replace the following:
YOUR_RIG_NAME Choose any name for your miner.
YOUR_WALLET ADDRESS Replace this with your Ethereum wallet address.
To start mining, all you have to do is double-click on the BAT file we created. This will initiate the mining process, run the setx commands, and start hashing away. If it is successful, you should see something like this.
Just in case you want to see how much you already mined, all you have to do is go to the pool's website and type in your public wallet address you inputted in your BAT file. Many pools automatically send mining rewards when the mining rewards reach a certain level. For ethermine pool, earnings are sent to the wallet address when it reaches 0.01 ETH.
An Android Alternative
How to Mine Ethereum on Android
Up until 2018, many users of Android used the Minergate app to mine Ethereum on their Android phones. Subsequently, however, Google banned cryptocurrency mining apps. It is still possible to mine Ethereum on Android by using cloud mining apps.
NiceHash offers a mobile app for its cloud mining service. The Minergate Control App on Android lets users control their off-phone Minergate pool accounts. Minergate runs on windows software.
Other Altcoins, cryptocurrencies similar to Ethereum, use the Ethash algorithm. While Ethereum is usually the most profitable Ethash coin to mine, this is an alternate way a miner can use their investment. Sometimes the return will be greater with an altcoin. This is another way to learn how to mine ethereum.
How to Mine Ethereum – Conclusion
Mining Ethereum can still be possible and still offers advantages over Bitcoin mining. With the protocol changing to proof-of-stake and greater ASIC resistance, purchasing GPUs may be the best way mine Ethereum.
Still, proof-of-stake will change the landscape as it is rolled out in the next few years. It is also difficult to get a block reward without being part of the mining tool. Learning how to mine Ethereum could change the content of your crypto portfolio and your life.