Or, how to make a little money off your gaming PC...


There is 1 post in this thread.
Avatar Image
Actium Praetor
Posted on 2013-04-20 12:58:21
Report this post to a moderator

Actium, Bitcoins, Litecoins, and You!

A few of Actium's members have been involved with cryptocurrency production, and we're happy to announce that we are now accepting Bitcoin and Litecoin donations to help pay for Actium's monthly bandwidth and power consumption. For Litecoin, our donation address is LdbSEahhbymgLDiqsDbegcG1u9M7nPvsLg, and for Bitcoin, it's 1HboKfwHz7faPz2BsNNaN8qD6H8K5XJMks.

One of the neat things about cryptocurrencies is the fact that just about anyone with a reasonably powerful PC can get involved, and with the current Litecoin-to-US-Dollar exchange rate running around $2.50 per coin, it's worth it if you have a decent gaming computer and relatively inexpensive electric power costs.

So, what is a "cryptocurrency"?

A "cryptocurrency" is basically a form of digital currency that uses cryptography as its method of operation. To distill this down to the simplest way possible to describe it, it's a currency that uses the answer to a very long and complex math equation as the actual monetary unit. The math equation is simple to check - answers are easy to verify as correct - but it's very computationally expensive to find a valid solution. That complexity is what gives a valid solution some form of value.

Finding a valid solution to the equation requires a lot of trial and error. The way it's done is called "mining" so that it's relatable to the process of mining for precious metals, and basically involves plugging random numbers into the equation and calculating the result, over and over again, until you hit on a number that produces a valid result. This is done millions to billions of times per second, and a successful solution results in the creation of a "block" that contains a specific number of individual "coins."

Bitcoin and Litecoin

The biggest, oldest, and most well-known (especially after its recent valuation bubble, which soared into the few billions of dollars) is Bitcoin. Developed and released as a technical paper in 2008, Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hashing algorithm as its complex math equation. Bitcoin was designed to operate in much the same way as the Internet: decentralized, self-correcting, self-adjusting, and for the most part able to deal with problems without intervention.

With the emergence of specialized hardware, Bitcoin has become prohibitively difficult for most people to produce. A powerful mining system can try a billion attempts a second and still take a year and a half to discover a single valid solution that becomes a block of 25 Bitcoins.

Litecoin is a new "little brother" to Bitcoin. It uses a different algorithm (called "scrypt") that makes it very tough to use specialized hardware, and as a result, Litecoins can still be "mined" with reasonably powerful PCs. In fact, Litecoins are about 40 times easier to mine than Bitcoins.

Most of the Actium crew that mine for cryptocurrencies are working with Litecoin.

What You Need to Mine Litecoins

Mining Litecoins is pretty easy, but can be tricky to set up. You'll need a relatively powerful PC for CPU mining, a good video card for GPU mining, a few programs (all of which are open-source, and most of which are available for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux), and an account with a mining pool.

The first program you'll need is the Litecoin client. The client acts as a peer-to-peer network node for validating and logging transactions, as well as providing a "wallet," which is the encrypted file that holds your coins. Download the client from the official Litecoin website, install it, run it, and let it download the "block chain," which is the master database of all Litecoin transactions. (NOTE: This can - and likely, will - take several hours, so plan accordingly!)

Once you have a working Litecoin client and it has the full block chain downloaded, you can start mining. But first, you might want to choose a mining pool. That way you can share your mining work with others in exchange for a cut of the proceeds for each block that's discovered. You'll need to create an account with the pool of your choosing, and be sure to give the pool your Litecoin wallet's address (you can create a new address whenever you want) so that the pool can send you what you've earned.

For a comparison of Litecoin mining pools, try this page.

By this point you should have a Litecoin client with a complete block chain and a pool account. Next is the actual mining software. There are three widely accepted mining programs: cpuminer, cgminer, and reaper. The first, cpuminer, uses multiple threads, one per core, to mine via processor. It can produce 20-60 kilohashes per second (kh/s) worth of mining effort (and yes, higher is better). The others use video cards' graphics processors (GPUs). Due to slight differences in the programming in cgminer and reaper, reaper is more suited to high-end AMD/ATI cards (Radeon 6- and 7- series in particular), whereas cgminer works with everything that has the horsepower to mine at all.

Please note that configuring miner programs for optimum efficiency is the tricky part. Settings must be fine-tuned for a particular machine, and your mileage will definitely vary on how much work your particular system can achieve. To make life easier, there's a GUI called Scrypt GUIMiner that acts as a front-end for mining tools - check out this message board thread for more details.

We Accept Bitcoin and Litecoin Donations!

As was mentioned, Actium accepts donations in Bitcoin and Litecoin. For Litecoin, our donation address is LdbSEahhbymgLDiqsDbegcG1u9M7nPvsLg, and for Bitcoin, it's 1HboKfwHz7faPz2BsNNaN8qD6H8K5XJMks.

Reply to this thread | Quote this message and reply
Back To Top...
There is 1 post in this thread.