Monday, November 18, 2013

Coming late to the party - Coin mining

Deep in the days of custom built ASIC miner boxes, mining with USB miners and hubs is considered a waste of electricity. Unless of course you are the government and own Three Gorges, still large miners are more efficient. Still I needed to get started and picked up a bunch of now collectors item - Icarus USB miners of eBay. Cgminer makes these really easy to use, with proper modules (in linux) or usb driver substituion with Zadig.

Next comes the fun part, choosing a pool to mine at. All say they are fair and there are so many pay-out algorithms, worth a PhD in economics by themselves for rewarding people for work done. Eligius has the CPPSRB, Bitminter uses PPLNS with donations. Some support all SHA256(SHA256) based coins, both BTC and NMC. Miners practice aggresive pool hopping (and currency hopping) to pick up the one with best luck. Some pools require registration, other just the payout address. All fertile ground for bots to play at.

After playing with BTC for a while I looked into LTC. Since it is still mined on the GPU (with scrypt CGMiner 3.7.2) and has less aggresive speculation. It might also just become irrelevant, but not being mainstream has some allure. Indeed these are the days of panning gold in early California or even closer to home at Eureka. Individuals issuing currency causes some disruption to monetary policy and governance. May be there will a tax put on selling mining ASICs, similar to a mining licence. Overall it is an intersting economic experiment.

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