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This article is originally posted at MintDice.com.
There is so much talk about Bitcoin mining all the time, from Bitmain’s huge expansion plans to news concerning Nvidia’s ASIC devices. A common understanding is that the Bitcoin network is secured by collective groups of people known as miners. But outside of that, there are many technicalities to the entire mining process.
Bitcoin mining is a lucrative venture that involves a series of actions including confirming the transactions of everyday users. In return, miners receive “block rewards” for their services. The process is capital intensive and consumes resources like processing power and electricity. This makes mining highly competitive, leading to the purchase of powerful and continuously-evolving hardware like ASIC devices which have replaced the average GPU and mining software.
WHAT DOES BITCOIN MINING SOFTWARE DO?
While Bitcoin mining hardware is a common topic within the space, software often gets overlooked. Hardware merely provides the necessary processing power for mining while nearly everything else is handled by Bitcoin mining software. It performs important functions like:
- Providing miners with a solid interface to carry out their work.
- Running the mining algorithms that aid miners in solving the complex puzzles assigned by the Bitcoin blockchain.
- Delivering work done by the mining hardware to the Bitcoin network.
- Receiving completed work from other miners on the network.
- Connecting the work done by solo miners to the blockchain.
- Connecting members of mining pools to the rest of their pool.
- Monitoring and displaying miner input and output as well as statistics of variables such as base rate, temperature, fan speed, and miner speed.
WHAT ARE THE TOP BITCOIN MINING SOFTWARE?
THERE ARE SEVERAL BITCOIN MINING SOFTWARE ON THE MARKET AND EACH ONE VARIES IN FUNCTIONALITY AND EFFICIENCY. SOME REALLY STAND OUT AND HERE ARE THE TOP 6 AMONG THEM:
Known as one of the most popular BTC mining software, CGMiner works as a multi-pool FPGA, GPU, and ASIC miner. It provides extensive ATI GPU monitoring, fan speed support and clocking support for Bitcoin and other altcoins. As one of several miners written in C# programming language, it is optimized for speed, efficiency, and compatibility with Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems.
CGMiner has a host of interesting features including:
- Configuration files
- Monitoring and overclocking capabilities.
- API monitoring
- Accommodation of different proxy mining methods
- Support for both solo and pool mining
- A scalable hash rate networking scheduler
- Support for submission cache
This software is regarded as one of the most advanced because of its interaction with Bitcoin mining hardware. It allows users to configure ASIC and FPGA settings straight from its interface in a command-specific manner.
Regarded as the best mining software for beginners, MultiMiner simplifies the process of mining a lot better than other software. Since the idea of mining Bitcoin can seem a little daunting at the beginning, new miners are better off starting with software that is easier to operate and understand.
Some attractive features of MultiMiner include:
- Desktop application format.
- Compatibility with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
- Multi-device switch between ASICs and FPGAs.
- Multi-device compatibility with BFL/Bitforce, Block Erupter, and HashBuster Micro.
- Multicurrency switch between various cryptocurrencies like Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash.
- Automatic hardware detection.
- Remote monitoring and control of other MultiMiner rigs.
- Ability to scan and detect mining hardware details such as average hashing power and corresponding pool.
- Automatic mining difficulty and profitability selection.
- Projected profits display and other analytics.
BFGMiner is very similar to CGMiner in its functionality and mode of operation, except that it is more ASIC-focused. Like CGMiner, BFGMiner is also written in C# and optimized for speed and efficiency. It supports OpenWrt-compatible routers on ASIC, GPU, CPU, and FPGAs as well.
Some of its interesting features include:
- Windows, Linux, and Mac operating system compatibility.
- Support for ADL device reordering via the PCI bus ID, fan control and integrated overclocking as well as, mining with free mesa/LLVM OpenCL.
- Multi-currency mining support involving simultaneously mining other cryptocurrencies alongside Bitcoin.
- Use of pool strategies like load-balance and balance.
- Enabled multi-pooling and tracking pools on the same network.
- Independent pool tracking on different networks.
- Support for the simultaneous use of several algorithms like SHA-256 used by Bitcoin and Scrypt used by Litecoin, on CPU, OpenCL, and Proxy drivers.
- Algorithm assignment based on custom mining goals.
- Mining algorithm control sharing.
BitMinter’s strongest point lies in cross-platform enabled mining, with its own mining pool, commonly known as one of the oldest in existence. Each new user is required to join the pool to make it easier for them to mine and earn more. Since 2011, the pool has registered over 400,000 user accounts.
Unlike CGMiner and BFGMiner, BitMinter is based on the Java Network Launch Protocol (JNLP) and does not require an installation to function. It is a cloud-based service which focuses on people who are interested in mining but can’t afford expensive ASICs.
Some of its major features include:
- Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux compatibility.
- ASIC, GPU and FPGA compatibility.
- A Graphical User Interface (GUI) optimized for ease-of-use and understanding.
- Easy ASIC hardware configuration.
- Profitable payment options including 99 percent of mining income allocated to users.
- Support on BitMinter, Block Erupter USB, Chili, Red/Blue Fury, and Antminer U1/U2.
This is an open-source software upgrade for software like CGMiner and BFGMiner, which focuses on the graphical user interface (GUI). Its main function is the provision of an organized user interface that can be integrated directly with a miner’s cryptocurrency wallet.
EasyMiner gives its users the option of choosing a “moneymaker mode” which is attached to a particular Litecoin mining pool. It also offers a ‘solo mode’, in which miners are allowed to choose which pools they want to join, which cryptocurrencies they want to mine as well as a custom hash algorithm that corresponds with that cryptocurrency.
Its features include:
- Multi-currency support including Bitcoin, Litecoin, and other altcoins.
- Windows operating system compatibility
- ASIC Mining hardware compatibility
- Support for both solo and pool mining.
6. AWESOME MINER
When it comes to solving the problems associated with centralized mining management, Awesome Miner is a user’s best bet. Unlike other mining software, it can work really well with multiple mining rigs. Although Awesome Miner is built for mainly the Windows operating system, it has an accessible web-based interface.
The features of this miner include:
- Support for over 25 mining engines including CGMiner, BFGMiner, Xmrig, SBMiner, and SGMiner.
- SHA-256, Ethereum, X11, Scrypt and Zcash compatibility.
- Single operation pool management.
- Status and temperature monitoring on ASIC and FPGA devices from a single location.
- Inbuilt C# script engine.
- API access setup.
- Default pool configuration for all Bitmain Antminer ASICs.
Mining is what keeps the Bitcoin network secure and functional. Without it, the network will crumble, bringing the cryptocurrency ecosystem to a critical point. For something as competitive as Bitcoin mining, a miner’s software choice can mean the difference between stagnation and huge rewards.
This is why miners, especially beginners must think thoroughly about what features they expect and require in a software. While the software discussed above are incredibly popular, there are others within the space, so proper research must be carried out. As development continues, Bitcoin mining software may continue to evolve, to better meet the growing needs of miners.
Featured image: Pexels