Picture it: Boston, 2011. A young, tech-obsessed Fox Van Allen is introduced to bitcoin for the first time. I looked up information about mining, but I never actually followed through with getting it to work on my desktop PC. It was confusing, and it didn’t seem worth the effort.
Do you know how much money that bit of laziness cost me? A metric f*** ton. On this old Reddit thread, you can see that a guy was mining 100 bitcoin a day back then. That’s literally one million f***ing dollars a day worth.
Now that it’s 2018, I may not be making a million dollars per day (sigh), but I do at least have working software that’s netting me $30 to $40 a month.
Here’s a breakdown of that software.
Don't get started before you read this
Before I could pick out software, I had to answer an important question: What crypto would I mine?
It doesn’t make sense to mine bitcoin on a desktop PC today -- there are specialized devices you can buy that do it far more efficiently. But other cryptocurrencies can mine efficiently by PC. And all of them can be converted, one way or another, to cold hard cash.
So I don’t mine bitcoin. Instead, I mine ethereum. Which I later trade for bitcoin.
I reached this decision with the help of www.whattomine.com. The website tells you what coins are the most profitable to mine at any given moment. Ethereum is often at the top of that list. Plus, as the second largest coin by market cap, it feels like a legit cryptocurrency to have.
Here’s the only software you need
I use a program called Claymore Dual Miner on my Windows 10 desktop. It’s free to download, though its developer gets a 1 to 2 percent cut of what you mine. There were a lot of competing options to choose from, but after trial and error, I found that Claymore Dual Miner gets me the most coins, even with its fee. Plus, it’s relatively easy (though ugly) to setup.
Here’s where I found Claymore v 11.2. Note that downloading it and unzipping the file may cause your anti-virus software to go haywire. Sadly, this is just the way the miner is built -- and a side effect of increasing cryptomining hijack attacks.
(I overrode the warning by entering Windows Defender and adding the file as an exclusion. If you choose to do so too, it’s at your own risk.)
The second step, then, is to copy this text and paste it into the Notepad app:
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 us2.ethermine.org:4444 -ewal . -epsw x -mode 1
Replace with your actual ethereum wallet address, which you can get from Coinbase if you don’t have one already. Replace with whatever nickname you want your computer to have.
Then save this new file as startminer.bat (or whatever you want) in the same folder as Claymore. You’ll need to change the “Save as type” field to “All Files” to do this, otherwise it’ll use the .txt file extension.
Double click this new file to start Claymore up for the first time.
The moment you see a green text line that says “SHARE FOUND,” congratulations -- you just earned your first fractional bit of cryptocurrency. I told you it was easy!
Here’s how I made Claymore even better
If you’re feeling super lazy, you can stop here -- you’ll get paid. But since I’m still haunted by losing more than $1 million per day, I decided to maximize Claymore’s mining speed.
It was pretty easy.
At the recommendation of other miners, I downloaded MSI Afterburner. It’s a free utility that allows me to overclock my cards, which increases their performance -- and my profits.
For my Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GTX, I boosted the core clock +182 and my memory clock +650. This increased Claymore’s hashrate from 20.6 Mh/s to 24.5 Mh/s, an 18.9 percent increase in speed.
Yes, this puts extra strain on my graphics cards, which could one day cause them to fail. It makes my computer run hotter. It draws more electricity. But it nets me an extra $7 a month.
Basically, it’s a gamble I’m willing to take for extra profits. And isn’t wild, hopeful gambling what cryptocurrency investment is all about?