Looking to mine the newest cryptocurrencies out there? How about mining Bitcoin Gold! While Bitcoin mining got to a whole new level, Bitcoin Gold is designed especially for GPU mining. This means, you only need a desktop computer and a Graphics card to start earning money today. Already a Zcash miner or new to mining, this is a complete guide for you to get started from buying the necessary hardware to setting up the software and calculating your profits.
Only testnet is currently available for Bitcoin Gold. That means you can only mine using testnet. Be aware of the addresses that you use, the address prefix for mainnet is “G,” “m,” or “n” for testnet. All of the examples below are for mainnet, so you just need to change the address structure to mine for testnet. The indicative mainnet launch date is the 12th of November. This can be changed. Just stay up to date with the official BTG blog for comments: BTG blog
- 1 Introduction
- 2 ZCash or Bitcoin Gold
- 3 Pool Mining and Solo Mining
- 4 What You Will Need
- 5 Hardware
- 6 Software
- 7 Wallets
- 8 Pools
- 9 Solo Mining
- 10 Starting To Mine
- 11 Upgrading Hardware
- 12 Summary
In our previous article: Bitcoin Gold Hard Fork – A Detailed Explanation we talked about Bitcoin Gold and how the team came up with the idea. Now, the work is done, and the mainnet will soon be available.
Miners, to ‘prove’ that the BTG transaction was legitimate, used computers with multiple high-end graphics cards to run the Equihash mining algorithm in order to search for a number. If the number was correct, the block is verified and the miners start working on the next block. Equihash is a popular algorithm that is currently used by the popular privacy coin ZCash.
ZCash or Bitcoin Gold
For Miners, mining either coin will be the same since they both use the same algorithm, meaning that they will also use the same software. However one notable difference between each coin will be profitability. This will be the deciding factor for most miners, as most miners will want to make the most money out of mining to pay their hardware and power expenses. Though some miners may want to support the coin they think has the brightest future regardless of price. Depending on whether you want larger profits or if you want to support your favorite coin, these may be a deciding factor for which coin you end up mining. If you want to check which coin is the most profitable at any given time, you can use the WhatToMine.com calculator (More about mining profit: here), simply select which graphics cards you are using, and the calculator will figure out which coin is the most profitable.
Pool Mining and Solo Mining
When mining, you can decide whether to mine by yourself (solo) or with other (pool mining). The difference here is that with solo mining you have to do all the work by yourself, unlike pool mining where you work alongside others to mine the block. This means that solo miners require multiple, powerful computers with many high-end video cards.
However, pool mining is far simpler because you will be “pooled” together with other miners, and the combined hashrate of the pool will go towards solving the block. Because the pool is using the combined hashrate of all the miners, instead of being paid the entire block reward like you would when solo mining, each miner will be paid accordingly towards their own contribution. For example if you are contributing towards 10% of the pool’s total hashrate when a block is mined, you will be paid 10% of the total block reward.
What You Will Need
To start mining you will need:
- A computer which you will use to mine
- A wallet for your coins to be sent and stored
- Mining software so that your computer can connect to the network and start solving blocks.
- An account on an exchange in order to trade your mined coins for different ones or into fiat.
I will elaborate on the required hardware, software, and recommended wallets in later sections, but for now I will list some exchanges which support the upcoming Bitcoin Gold.
You can view the other exchanges on Bitcoin Gold website.
For Bitcoin Gold the mining will primarily be done on graphics cards, but you will still need auxiliary components such as the:
- Processor – a fast processor is not required and a standard Intel Celeron is a popular choice among miners.
- Motherboard – there are many “mining” motherboards that have multiple PCI slots for your graphics cards, however any standard motherboard with a few PCI slots will be fine.
- RAM – a 4GB stick of memory will suffice for mining.
- Storage – in order to store your operating system and mining software you should either have a small SSD for faster boot times or a cheaper, albeit slower HDD will be fine. It is fine to run your operating system off of an external hard drive, but this will lead to slow boot times.
- Power supply – to power the components you will need a power supply, and depending on how many graphics cards you are using you may have to use one with a maximum power of at least 800W or even multiple power supplies.
- Case – because the standard ATX cases cannot support more than 3 or 4 graphics cards, many miners decide to build their own cases, some even out of shoe racks. There are also websites to buy mining cases, however you will pay quite a large premium. Here is a link to one of those websites: Cryptomined. If you decide to get a custom case you will need to get PCI-E riser cables. These are nifty little extension cables that allow you to take your video cards off the motherboard and on to a more elevated position. This lets you put multiple graphics cards on the same motherboard. Another thing you will need is a power button, as you will not be able to power the system.
Here is an example list of suggested parts when building a Bitcoin Gold mining PC: PcPartPicker. You can also implement used parts, as these will be cheaper and you will be able to pay off your build sooner, although used parts may not come with a warranty, so if a part breaks due to a malfunction you will have to replace it out of your own pocket.
Top 5 Graphics Cards For Bitcoin Gold
If you want the highest profits to come out of Bitcoin Gold mining, you will need to choose the best graphics cards.
- #5 GTX 1050 Ti
The 1050 Ti is a popular graphics card due to it’s low power constraints and affordable price. For the price of $160 and a power draw of 50 watts, it is an extremely efficient mining card clocking 160 Hashes per second (H/s). Some 1050 Ti’s do not require an external power connector, so if you want to mine Bitcoin Gold but don’t want to build a dedicated mining rig, you can easily put the graphics card into any desktop PC that has a PCI-E 16x slot.
- #4 GTX 970
The GTX 970 was a very popular graphics card when it was first released, and because it was from the previous generation of graphics cards it is extremely easy to find these used. With a hashrate of 280 H/s, the 970 is an excellent mining card, especially if you can find it at a cheap price.
- #3 GTX 1060
The GTX 1060 has very similar performance to the 970, but has a few added benefits. The 1060 mines Bitcoin Gold at 310 H/s, and while only marginally better than the 970, the 1060 has a much lower power draw. Additionally, because it is a newer card you will be eligible for a warranty, just in case of a component malfunction. However, this card does fetch a higher price.
- #2 GTX 1070
The GTX 1070 is a great graphics card for Bitcoin Gold, with a hashrate of 440 and with a power draw of 165 watts, the 1070 is a great choice for Bitcoin Gold. Because the 1070 is an extremely popular graphics card among miners and gamers alike, this card will be extremely easy to sell off should you decide to stop mining. The one drawback of the 1070 is it’s high price tag. With a price of over $400 not all miners will be able to afford it, making some of the other cards more reasonable choices.
- #1 GTX 1080 Ti
The GTX 1080 Ti is easily the best graphics card for Bitcoin Gold. With an incredible 700 H/s, a miner with multiple 1080 Ti’s will easily net an extremely high profit margin. Though with so much power there are some drawbacks. The 1080 Ti costs over $700 making this a graphics card that is only bought by hardcore enthusiasts.
To make sure that all your selected components will work together, you can use the PC Part Picker website to make sure that the auxiliary components will work together. However, PCPP does not allow you to add multiple graphics cards, and this can be problematic because you might not know how large of a power supply you will need. You can calculate this by yourself by going to the graphics card’s manufacturer’s website, and finding the power draw. Multiply this number by the amount of graphics cards you will use, and add this number to the power draw of the auxiliary components (given by PCPP). When you know how much power your system will use, you can choose a power supply accordingly, though you should have 10-20% extra power draw just for general safety and efficiency. After choosing a power supply, check the connectors that come with it. This too can be found on the manufacturer’s website. If you can’t find any power supplies with enough connectors it is possible to use two power supplies. One popular configuration is using two 750 Watt power supplies, as you will have many extra PCI power cables for the graphics cards, as well as plenty of molex cables for the risers.
Though it is recommended to run multiple powerful video cards for mining Bitcoin Gold, you are not required to run any. It is technically possible to mine BTG on your processor, however compared to a dedicated graphics card, a processor is very slow and will not net even mediocre mining rewards. You most likely won’t even pay back the power costs of mining, making processor mining very inefficient and highly unpractical.
To mine Bitcoin Gold you will need the right software to do it. This software will connect your computer to the network or pool, and begin hashing. Here is a list of Bitcoin Gold compatible miners:
- EWBF Miner, compatible with NVidia graphics cards on Windows and Linux
- Claymore’s AMD Miner, compatible with AMD cards on Windows
- Optiminer, compatible with AMD cards on Linux
In this section I will show you how to install the EWBF miner on Windows. Keep in mind that installing other mining software will follow a very similar installation process.
- Step 1
Go to the download page that you can find here: Bitcointalk. Find the download link and download the latest version of the mining software. Sometimes when downloading the software your antivirus will tell you that the file is infected, this is often a false flag, and can be avoided by downloading the file as a .zip.
- Step 2
Unzip the folder and store it in an accessible location.
- Step 3
Create a new simple text document inside the folder and add this:
miner.exe --server <server> --user <address>.<worker> --pass x --port <port> --cuda_devices 0 1 2 3
When Bitcoin Gold releases and it becomes possible to mine, replace <server> with the pool you would like to mine on. Replace <address> with your wallet address and <worker> with whatever you want. If you use multiple miners you can use this to label each miner and monitor them on the pool website. For <Port> you will replace it with the pools port. I will introduce the different wallets and pools you can use in the next sections. Your final file will look something like this:
miner.exe --server <Bitcoin Gold Pool address> --user <Your username> --pass x --port 3333 --cuda_devices 0 1 2 3
- Step 4
Save the new file as .bat file.
- Step 5
Double click the .bat file then your computer will connect to the network and start mining.
The Linux installation for the EWBF miner is a bit more complicated, but Linux can often provide more stability and sometimes even greater performance as opposed to the Windows variant. The following steps are done on the Ubuntu distribution of Linux
- Step 1
Open Terminal. This can be done by pressing ctrl + alt + T, then enter this command
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa
You will then be prompted to enter your password. Text should start appearing inside of the Terminal window. You will soon be prompted to press [Enter] to continue. Press enter and wait for the command to finish processing.
- Step 2
Next, you will have to install the latest NVidia drivers for your system from the repository we just added. Enter this command into the Terminal window:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y
Many lines of code will start appearing on the screen. These are all the different updates that are being downloaded. This step may take some time.
- Step 3
One that step is finished, you will have to add another toolkit for the NVidia drivers in the Terminal window and enter:
sudo apt-get install nvidia-cuda-toolkit -y
This step will also take quite a while, but once it has finished you can move on to next step.
- Step 4
Though this is not 100% necessary, it is recommended to install this piece of software as you will be able to monitor and control your graphics cards. You can install it with this command:
sudo nvidia-xconfig -a --cool-bits=28
Once it has finished downloading, you will have to enable your graphics cards to be monitored, and that is done through the following command:
sudo nvidia-xconfig --enable-all-gpus
Once you have finished all the steps above you will have to reboot your system, simply type reboot inside of the Terminal window. After your computer has booted back up, you can open the newly installed software by going to the launcher at the top left, and searching for “nvidia.” The software to open is called “NVIDIA X Server Settings,” and you can use this software for monitoring graphics cards, changing fan speeds, and overclocking processors in order to get extra performance.
- Step 5
Now that you have finished installing the necessary drivers for your graphics cards, it’s time to install the mining software. Simply go to this link and install the latest version of the EWBF miner. Extract the folder to an accessible location and open it. Inside the folder, right click and select “open in Terminal.” Inside the new Terminal window, you will have to create a file called “start.sh”. This is a script which acts similarly to a windows .bat file. Type:
sudo nano start.sh
And a blank window will now appear. Inside the window you will have to input:
-/miner --server <server> --user <address>.<worker> --pass x --port <port>
Just like with the Windows installation, you will have to replace the necessary areas with the pool you want to mine on, your wallet address, and the server’s port. Once you have finished filling in the blanks, press ctrl+O then enter, and finally ctrl+x to close the window. There will now be a new file inside the folder.
- Step 6
The final step before your computer can start mining is for you to start both the miner and the start.sh files. To do this, open a Terminal window (inside of the folder) and type:
sudo chmod +x miner && sudo chmod +x start.sh
After inputting this command, finally type:
And if you have followed all of the steps correctly, your computer will begin mining Bitcoin Gold.
At the moment, there are only three wallets that are planned to support Bitcoin Gold, and these wallets are:
- Coinomi – an Android exclusive multi-wallet.
- Guarda Wallet – another multi-wallet which is available on both Android and iOS.
- Free Wallet – another multi-wallet which is available on both Android and iOS.
To mine Bitcoin Gold you will need a wallet to store all of those mined coins. Mobile wallets are the most accessible since you can view your balance no matter where you are as long as you have your phone on you. Here I will be showing you how to install the Coinomi Wallet for Android.
- Step 1
Locate the app in the Google Play store and download it.
- Step 2
Open the app once it has finished downloading. The app will then ask you to either restore or create a new wallet. If you create a new wallet you will be asked to write down a seed, this seed is in case you accidentally uninstall the app or lose your phone. The seed will help you restore your wallet so you can access all of your stored coins. If you want to import a wallet, you will be asked to import the seed.
- Step 3
Once you have created a wallet you will be asked to select a wallet to add. Scroll down until you locate Bitcoin Gold.
- Step 4
Once you have added the wallet, swipe to the “receive” tab and you will find your BTG address. You can use this address to receive BTG. Inside of your .bat or .sh file replace <wallet> with this string of numbers, although remember to remove the spaces between the numbers. For example, change GUTb Tizu VXca Ueb4r YmCT mfjN PtJY p2NrA to GUTbTizuVXcaUeb4rYmCTmfjNPtJYp2NrA. If you leave the spaces in the address you will not receive any of your mined BTG.
If you only have one miner, it would be a wise decision to choose pool mining over solo mining so that your payouts will become more consistent. Also, if you have a weak miner, solo mining may not work at all for you. Here is a list of pools which will support Bitcoin Gold:
The rest of the pools that will support BTG can be seen on the Bitcoin Gold website
Joining a pool is simple. Most pools will have a “Getting Started” tutorial page where it will give you examples of .bat file configurations. These example configurations will contain the server link and the port to mine to. Below is an example configuration found on pool.mining.sg:
In the image you can see what to replace <server> and <port> with in your .bat or .sh file. Once you have added these changes to your .bat/.sh file, alongside with your wallet, double click that file and you will begin mining to your wallet on the pool. You can view the Bitcoin Gold shares your miner has collected through the pools website. Simply go to “view miner stats” or “search for address,” depending on your pool. Input the Bitcoin Gold address you are mining to, and the pool will remotely show you your current hashrate and pending balance, however you can also view your current hashrate locally just by looking at the miners CMD or Terminal window.
Solo mining is much more demanding than pool mining if you want consistent payouts because you will have to compete against every other pool and solo miner on the Bitcoin Gold network. There is also the very real possibility that you will never mine a block, especially if you are running a very weak system. Solo mining usually requires a very large investment, and multiple systems, with multiple graphics cards in each one.
Setting up a node
The easiest way to support Bitcoin Gold is by setting up and running your own Bitcoin Gold node. At the moment this can only be done through Linux.
- Step 1
If you don’t have a Linux machine you can use the digital service Digital Ocean cloud. This service will allow you to setup a Linux machine on a cloud server. If you decide to use Digital Ocean you will have pay a small $5 fee for every month you want to continue using the service. To use Digital Ocean you will have to create a droplet. After creating it you will receive access details in an email. In order to access your “droplet” you will have to download Putty and login via SSH. Once you have logged in you can start using the Linux droplet, and start building your Bitcoin Gold node
- Step 2
First, you will have to open your sources.list file. To find this open a Terminal window and type:
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
You will then need to paste this into the file:
deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 16.04 LTS _Xenial Xerus_ - Release amd64 (20160420.1)]/ xenial main restricted deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial main restricted universe multiverse deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial main restricted universe multiverse deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-updates main restricted universe multiverse deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-updates main restricted universe multiverse deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-backports main restricted universe multiverse deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-backports main restricted universe multiverse deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-security main restricted universe multiverse deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-security main restricted universe multiverse # deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-proposed main restricted universe multiverse deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu xenial partner deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu xenial partner
Save the file and reboot your system.
- Step 3
Once your system has started back up again, open a Terminal window and enter these commands:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y curl git build-essential libtool autotools-dev automake pkg-config bsdmainutils python3 libx11-xcb-dev libfontconfig-dev
git clone https://github.com/BTCGPU/BTCGPU.git
./autogen.sh && ./configure --prefix=/root/BTCGPU/depends/x86_64-pc-linux-gnu/ --disable-shared --with-gui=no && make -j 4
Note: Change /root/BTCGPU to the absolute path to your BTCGPU folder. If you have saved it elsewhere this step will not work.
- Step 4
Create config file to start a node and connect to mainnet:
- How to create conf file
Add this config to conf:
rpcuser=user rpcpassword=pass rpcport=18337
- Step 5
Connect to testnet and test your miner
./src/bgoldd -test -rest -server -rpcallowip=127.0.0.0/8 -rpcport=18337 -deamon -printtoconsole -showmetrics -rpcbind=0.0.0.0
After you have finished these steps you will now be successfully running a Bitcoin Gold node.
Note: -j 4 = -j <Number of CPU Threads you want to use>
Make sure that for each sub-step you input the command on an individual line.
Starting To Mine
Now that everything’s ready, and you’ve set up your mining computer and it’s software, simply start the .bat file if you are using windows, or the .sh file if you are on Linux, and congratulations! You are now mining Bitcoin Gold! As stated before, you can check your miner’s performance through the pools website, or through the software itself. To calculate your profits you can use this formula: P = M – W.
- P is Profit.
- M is Mined value, so if you mine 2.3 BTG, which is currently valued at $150 USD, M will be 345.
- W is wattage, or power consumption. You can find the monthly cost of running your miner by using this website: http://www.rapidtables.com/calc/electric/electricity-calculator.htm
So your end result will look something like this, P = 345 – 67, P = 278. This shows that your monthly profit is $278. You can check the current price of Bitcoin Gold here: Coinmarketcap. When Bitcoin Gold mining calculators are released this process will be made simpler and more efficient.
As more miners join the Bitcoin Gold network in the following months, the difficulty will go up. What this means is that if you’re pool mining, your payouts will happen less often. And if you’re solo mining, this means it will take a longer time for you to mine a block. If you want your profits to remain frequent, you will have to upgrade your hardware. You can upgrade this in one of two ways.
- Adding more graphics cards or mining computers to your setup.
- Upgrading your graphics cards to newer or more powerful ones.
This will help boost your hashrate, and in turn increase your payouts in order to remain a competitive miner. You may also want to upgrade your software for optimizations and new features, although these upgrades won’t benefit you as much as a hardware upgrade. They do, however, provide a small hashrate boost. Some software upgrades you can do are:
- Update drivers.
- Update the operating system.
- Download the latest version of the mining software.
- Because Bitcoin Gold is a new currency, you will need to set up a new wallet and make sure you have an account on an exchange that supports BTG.
- Make sure you have suitable hardware for mining Bitcoin Gold and have the correct mining software.
- Decide whether to mine by yourself or in a pool accordingly by taking your hardware into account.