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DIY Bitcoin Mining From Home

Ah, Bitcoins: the currency of the future. Or perhaps they're just the currency of the moment. It kind of depends on...

DIY Bitcoin Mining From Home

Ah, Bitcoins: the currency of the future. Or perhaps they're just the currency of the moment. It kind of depends on how many DDOS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attacks occur along with the extent to which national governments are willing to allow a decentralized currency to exist. The point is these things are volatile, difficult to get, and not accepted in as many places as your Visa card.

 

However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t valuable. In fact, at the time of this writing, a single BTC is worth $691.90 USD. The question is, how much will it cost you to get your hands on some of this digital gold? The answer is somewhat complicated.

 

While you can simply buy BTCs, it’s not exactly advisable. It’s like exchanging a stable currency for one that may go into hyperinflation at any moment. In other words, spending RL capital in exchange for digital greenbacks is a bit counterproductive.

 

Instead, you want to try and mine your own. Luckily, this operation requires a distinct lack of hard hats and black lung. All you have to do is run a search for a certain string of code. This data sequence that you’re searching for is called a “Block,” and from each Block it’s possible to apply a specific BTC algorithm, known as a “Hash,” which results in a pattern. This pattern is your new stash of Bitcoins.

 

That sounds so abstract that you might think it’s easy. You’d, of course, be incorrect. The computational requirements of such an endeavour are staggering—so much so that it’s nearly impossible to mine Bitcoins all by your lonesome, without the operation being cost prohibitive. You’ve got to cover the electricity and Internet bills after all.

 

 

So how can you get started?

 

Begin with a place to store your fortune: notably, an online currency storage “space,” called a Wallet. There are a lot of different options for these wallets, but you’ll probably want to choose something localized so that it will be more secure.

 

Next, you’ll need the Bitcoin client and access to the block chain. You can download the client for free at Bitcoin.org. Once you’ve downloaded the client, it will begin to download the block chain, which is like a gigantic public leger. It keeps your balance in Bitcoins as well as the balances of every other Bitcoin user. This is a big file, and if you have one of those pesky data caps imposed on your connection, you might consider ordering the block client by mail.

 

This is all well and good for actually spending and receiving Bitcoin payments, but how do you go about actually mining the suckers? Turns out it involves a little bit of teamwork. The algorithms that have to be solved in order to mine Bitcoins are huge. They’re so big, in fact, that an average PC would take years to go through a single block.

 

So instead, you take on smaller algorithms along with a group of other miners and split the profits when you solve a block. These groups are called pools, and they’re relatively easy to join. Slush’s pool is the first and most famous of these, so googling that search term is a good place to start.

 

There are some brand new Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) chips that are specifically designed for mining that could feasibly make you some money for the time being, but these can set you back a pretty penny, averaging around $2400 brand new. And it’s important to consider that they won’t be that much of an advantage for long.

 

The more Bitcoins are mined, the more difficult the algorithms become. So even if you have a fancy ASICs-powered device right now, the rush is on to see how many blocks you can mine before the supply drains back down.

 

So it’s up to you now. Get started with your digital mining and profit like a spaceman, or go about your daily life earning regular old paper money like a bunch of Neanderthals.


 

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