Intro + Choosing An Ethereum Wallet
This is going to be the hardest thing to explain, so instead of explaining it to you and trying to water it down - because I barely understand it, I'm going to be honest. I'm about 50 hours into this, 10 hours per day for 4 days straight and I'm utterly addicted to Ethereum and everything to do with it. This series of articles are going to be a journal of sorts, so you'll be here right with me - and I want as much community feedback as possible. If I'm referring to something wrong, terminology or hardware or anything at all - please let me know, and I'll edit these articles as we go.
This is one of the best explanations on just what the hell Ethereum is, and that it could be the future.
What You'll Need
- A computer of some sort
- 4GB RAM+
- 1 x GPU+
- Linux or Windows OS
- Some experience with networking/software
GPU + PSU Requirements
Cryptocurrency mining power comes down to the GPU of choice, and how many of them you have. I'm in the first week of my Ethereum mining adventures and I'm using 22 x GPUs across 9 systems, which is horribly inefficient - but it gives me a good base to start from and work up from there.
But with more GPU power cranking along at 100% all day every day, we run into two big problems: power and cooling. For systems with 3-4 x GPUs, you're going to need a specific motherboard with enough space between PCIe x16 slots, or dual-GPU graphics cards like the AMD Radeon R9 295X2, which I happen to have two of. Except, the R9 295X2 will use 500W+ each without a problem, so two of them are beyond hardcore on your PC with heat and power consumption.
If you're using 2 x GPUs and will only use 2 x GPUs with your Ethereum mining, then an 850W should be fine. It'll give you some good headroom in case you upgrade your graphics card, but not add another one in. If you're using a 3 x GPU rig, you'll want 1000W+ while 4-way systems will want 1200-1500W minimum. For the 6 x GPU systems (it can be done, more on that later) 1500W minimum or multiple PSUs, depending on the graphics cards used.
Choose an eWallet
This is where things will get personal, but for now I'm using MyEtherWallet.
Security is Key, Protect ETH Like Real Money or Gold
It's super easy to set up, and very secure. But be warned: the password you set is permanent. Do not lose it. This is your key to everything you mine.
Once you've saved your password, you're going to need to download your encrypted keystore to your PC and then move it elsewhere to keep it safe. I would suggest making a few different backups of this: to your main PC, to a USB flash drive, external HDD, or a NAS. You can also store it on the cloud with Google Drive or Dropbox, but then that means you'd need access to the cloud all the time to grab your key.
There's also the option of printing out a paper wallet, which will save your raw private key, or a QR code of your raw private key. You can print this off as a final backup, and if you've got a safe in the house - well, this is something you'd protect as many layers of security as possible.
Note: Please have multiple backups of your private key, as there's no way at all anyone - including MyEtherWallet or any other eWallet site can recover your password or private key. With this, you and only you (or someone who hacks you and/or steals it) can use to transfer funds, draining your entire account - thousands, and even millions of dollars disappear in a second, never to return.
Let's Find You A Mining Pool
Down The Mine We Go
The first mining pool that I jumped onto was Alpereum, which has 1493 miners at the time of writing - with 185GH/s of hashrate power amongst the users. Alpereum pays out your ETH mining when you hit 0.2ETH created, charging a 0.2% fee at the time. I've been crunching away with 10 hours of configuring systems, with 10 systems and 28 GPUs between them - it's nearly a full-time job as it is.
Alpereum is my current Ethereum mining pool, and this will be changing soon. I didn't want to change before I wrote this article, as I had invested close to 50 hours of time into Ethereum mining for the week. There will be a follow up article that will dive deeper into alternative Ethereum mining pools, soon.
Alpereum is a Swiss-based mining pool, which used to be located in a factory, but is now in a municipality-run foundation in the Glarus Alps. You will need to choose a mining pool closest to you, with 4 options: Europe, USA East, USA West, and Asia. I'm in Australia so the closest to me is the Asia server, which is why you'll see "asia.alpereum.ch:3002" throughout my guide.
If you decide to join the Athereum mining pool, you'll need to work out which pool is closest to you - as you'll need this mining pool address in the future steps:
Alternative Ethereum Mining Pools
There are other mining pools which are far bigger, with:
- Anonymous mining
- 0-Variance solo mining
- Global mining network with DDOS protected servers in the US, Europe and Asia
- Unique payout scheme
- All Ethereum miners supported (qtMiner, cudaminer, eth-proxy and ethminer)
- Full stratum support
- Efficient mining engine, low uncle rates
- We pay uncles & transaction fees
- Detailed global and per-worker statistics
- Invalid shares warnings
- 1% fee
- Professional helpdesk
- Third party Android Monitoring App
I'll add more Ethereum mining pools as we go on this adventure, but they're the 3 that I looked at before hastily joining Athereum.
Awesome Miner Is Awesome
I started off with some command prompt based Ethereum miners, but as I shifted past a single system and into multiple rigs, I needed more control from a central base. This is where I stumbled upon Awesome Miner, which can control up to 5000 workers (with multiple GPUs per system). I'm using it with 10 machines right now, with 28 x GPUs between them and it's beautiful. You can set individual miners with descriptions (nick names) and choose host addresses (automatically, or manually if you're having issues with Awesome Miner).
If you choose to use Awesome Miner, you're going to need some details:
- Your eWallet address (in my case, it would be the MyEtherWallet address)
- Your mining pool details (in my case, Athereum)
- Your worker details (IP address, or run a search for it in Awesome Miner)
If you're using multiple PCs, then Awesome Miner is perfect - but you'll need to pay for it. The price, in my opinion, is worth it. I spent $120 on the Premium Edition, which handles up to 20 miners that can be run simultaneously - with as many graphics cards as you can use per PC (normally up to 6).
But I'm sure you're using no more than 2 machines, which means you can use the free version. If you want to go up to 10 machines (60 x GPUs at once) then $60 is damn good to be able to control everything from one central location.
Awesome Miner + Your Mining Pool
This is another important part of setting up Awesome Miner, making sure that you enter in your mining pool details, so in my case: Athereum. Open up the main menu, and then click Options, and select Pools.
From here, you'll see that I have my pool set up - you'll need to click 'Add...' at the bottom.
This is where you'll need your:
- Worker name
- Worker password
- To choose Ethereum in the coin of your choice, in this case: Ethereum
- At the bottom, make sure you add in your Wallet address, so in this case: your MyEtherWallet
Setting Up Awesome Miner = No Canary Needed
When you're setting up multiple systems, I really recommend Awesome Miner - but if there's something else out there worth looking at, please let me know. For now, let's get you set up with Awesome Miner, which is beyond easy. With a multi-system mining operation, using Awesome Miner makes things much easier - once you're in the main menu, everything is easy enough to reach. In the top left, you'll have: Dashboard, Miners, Coins, Balance, Online Services, and Notifications. But we need to get your miners up and running, so let's do that.
Before everything begins, you'll want to download the Awesome Miner Remote Agent Installer. Once this is installed, you'll need to open it manually as the current version - at least at the time of writing, didn't open after installation. You can make things even smoother by rebooting, so that the service opens quietly in the background.
After you've got the Awesome Miner Remote Agent Installer onto all of your Ethereum mining rigs, you can run a scan for them with Awesome Miner by clicking 'New miner...' in the menu.
The next few steps will depend on your system, but with the way I've got it set up - you can do it easily. You'll want to 'Add new miner' and click next.
In the 'select miner type' you'll need to choose Managed Profit Miner if you're wanting to run Awesome Miner up on your PC.
Here, enter in your miner description, the mining host IP address (your local IP address), and your GPU type.
Multiple Awesome Miner Rigs
In the 'select miner type' box, you'll want to run a network scan - but if for whatever reason it doesn't detect your PCs (I had a few issues) you can use 'Managed Profit Miner' and add in the manual IP address and give your worker a description.
In this next step, you'll want to select 'Miner type' and choose 'Awesome Miner Remote Agent' in the drop down menu.
Once you've done this, you'll want to click the check box for 'Only scan for new miners'. Now that it's complete, add in the new miners and you'll be joined by the main menu.
My full list of systems and graphics cards in Awesome Miner looks like this - ignore some of the blank systems and details, there are some networking issues I've been going through getting all of this working ghetto-style. I've set mine to AUD, because I'm based in Australia - so don't get confused by those prices and amounts! It's a beast of a set up, but I'm really not looking forward to my power bill in 2.5 months, hooooo boy.
You're Nearly Making Money From Your GPUs
Last Steps Before You're Mining
One of the last steps is getting your mining pool details into Awesome Miner, or the mining software of your choice - but I'm sure by now I've shown how incredibly easy Awesome Miner is.
If you go into the options of Awesome Miner, and then add/edit your pool - you'll see this menu. Enter in the server URL, the worker name (of your choice), the coin you're mining (Ethereum), as well as your Wallet address (your MyEtherWallet address). For example, if you want to tip me for this article - you would send ETH to that Wallet address, and I would receive it minutes later. This is the central idea around Ethereum. I'm not telling you to tip me, but if this guide helps you - and you're happy with it, go ahead. Thanks in advance!
Start It All Up, And TBC
Now that you've followed this guide, you should be either mining Ethereum by now, or very close to it. If you haven't already started, you can see that your miners are mining Ethereum away, and you're making money. If not, go into the main menu and into 'Miners' once again and right click one of your miners.
Right click one of your miners, and then click 'Start' - from here, it should start and you'll be up and running with your remote miners. The same rule applies to local miners (your machine).
Not Working? Triple Check Everything
If you can't find your Ethereum mining cranking along, double check the key things:
Have you got your mining pool address? If not:
Have you got your eWallet address? If not:
Enter in your MyWalletAddress, for example - mine is (please don't use this, it's purely for an example):
If you're using Awesome Miner, your Wallet address can be found in Options, Pool, General - under Optional settings.
If It's Working... Welcome to Ethereum Mining!
If you've used everything that I've recommended here, Awesome Miner should be cranking along with this little command prompt box:
As you can see, there's a lot going on here - and it can be confusing. But if we break it down, we can see lots of small details here.
- Shows you that you're connected to the main mining pool, in my case: asia.alpereum.ch:3002
- Now you're connected to it the pool, and it has resolved its IP address
- GPU0 is your first GPU, GPU1 would be your second, and so on - it's great to see temps in C, and also fan speeds
- Here we have a new job picked up, I hope you bought your mining gloves!
- Here, we have 32.8MH/s of mining power from a single GeForce GTX 1080 Ti on my local machine
This Is Only The Beginning
I'm going to keep the final thoughts on my first Ethereum article short, as there's so much here already. I'm hoping you've got your rig up and mining by now, but if you haven't - and you have specific questions or concerns, please leave a comment below. I will do my best to answer them all.
If you've got any suggestions on better mining pools, software, or wallets - please help us out. I will be making this an entire Ethereum series of articles, and would love the help along the way. If you want to add to my guide, feel free to email me or message me on Facebook personally, and we'll get you into the mix.
Wrapping things up: this is an adventure.
I haven't had a proper hobby apart from my obsession of technology and gaming (which is becoming less and less these days, apart from spikes with Overwatch and Battlegrounds recently), so cryptocurrency has become my latest obsession. I have copious amounts of hardware laying around, and an entire office to use it in. I couldn't run this operation from home, as I would run out of amperage on the wall sockets without calling in an electrician to modify my house.
If this continues to take off, I will have to move into a larger place, rent a warehouse... or what I'm hoping will happen: in 18 months or so I want to build a house (I rent right now). I would build a house with Tesla's Powerwall solar panel technology, and drive as much as this mining off of free energy that I can. The power bills are going to hurt... a lot... and the heat output of these rigs is enormous.
The next phase of this Ethereum mining is showing you my set up later this week, with videos and FB Live streams to come - with live Q&A sessions about Ethereum, and more. I've already purchased 30 x PCIe x1 to x16 riser cables so I can shift into 6 x GPUs per system. I'm going to run out of amperage at that point, which is going to be fun - I've already tripped the power 4 times already... I wonder how many times I can do it until I perfectly balance all of my systems perfectly... soon, I hope.
For now, I hope you've enjoyed this brief guide on Ethereum mining and the first phase of setting it up. Trust me, there's a flood coming... cryptocurrency is the future, and it excites me beyond words, power bills, and costs of time and set up. I hope you've had fun, and please - do let me know about your personal cryptocurrency mining adventures in the comments below!
This is 0x0fA64cab16c2cA443Bea9255eE0a8Fc53ff67fb3 signing off.
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