In the highly-competitive market of cryptocurrencies, Monero (XMR) has created a place for itself. Created in April 2014, today it is the 10th largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of $1,5 billion.
Monero has become a favorite among investors and miners because of its powerful performance last year. It went up from $10 in January 2017 to $494 in January 2018, giving a return of around 4800% to its investors. Isn’t that mind-blowing?
So, if you are thinking about Monero mining, then you’re not alone. The growth that Monero experienced last year has brought a lot of attention to XMR mining.
Monero mining might seem confusing, and you may have many questions such as: how does it work? What kind of software and hardware do I need? How do I start? How long does it take to mine one XMR?
But here’s the good news — today I will answer all these questions and many more related to Monero mining. So, by the end of this guide, you will have a clear understanding of what Monero mining is, and whether you should do it or not.
Before jumping to mining, though, it’s important for you to know what Monero is, and what makes it so special.
So, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- 1. Monero Mining: What is Monero (XMR)
- 1.1. How Monero is Different from Bitcoin?
- 2. Monero is Fungible
- 3. Monero Mining Does Not Require an ASIC
- 4. What is Monero Mining?
- 4.1. Monero Mining Rewards
- 5. Monero Mining: How to Mine Monero
- 5.1. Monero Mining Pool
- 6. Ways to Mine Monero
- 6.1. Central Processing Unit (CPU) Mining
- 6.2. Mining With an AMD Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
- 6.3. Mining With an Nvidia GPU
- 6.4. Monero Wallet
- 7. Should You Mine Monero?
- 8. Conclusions
Monero Mining: What is Monero (XMR)
Monero, like Bitcoin, is a digital currency that can be used to send and receive payments. Imagine Carl wants to pay $100 to Ava, and they agree to do the transaction in cryptocurrency. Carl can make the payment using Bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero, or any other similar cryptocurrency.
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So, why would Carl use Monero?
How Monero is Different from Bitcoin?
If Carl and Ava want that their transaction remains untraceable and private, then Monero may be their best option.
Let me explain this further:
If Carl sends Ava some money using Bitcoin, the transaction is visible to everyone on the network. Everyone can see who the sender is who the receiver is. This means that transactions sent in Bitcoin are public and out there for everyone to see.
Even though Bitcoin is decentralized, it is not private. Monero, however, is both decentralized and private. Monero’s technology allows all transactions to remain 100% private and untraceable.
If the transaction is done using Monero, then Carl and Ava are the only two people who will know about this transaction. There is no one else on the Monero network that could find out that this transaction ever took place.
The privacy that is offered by Monero is what has made it so popular. As some people feel uncomfortable letting others know what they are spending their money on.
In addition to complete privacy, here are some more other unique features of Monero:
Monero is Fungible
Sounds complex? Well, it isn’t. In fact, it’s a very simple concept.
Fungibility simply means that units of a currency (or asset) are interchangeable. For example, a $100 bill can be replaced by another $100 bill, or even two $50 bills. This is what makes fiat currency (USD, EUR, JPY, etc.) fungible.
Bitcoin is not fungible. That’s because someone might refuse to take a Bitcoin which has previously been used in illegal transactions. This is possible because everyone can see the transactions which have taken place on the Bitcoin network.
So, one unit of Bitcoin might not be interchangeable with another Bitcoin, but this is not the case with Monero. Since no one knows anything about the previous transactions of a Monero coin, all of them are considered equal and are interchangeable with one another.
Monero Mining Does Not Require an ASIC
An ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) is a special type of hardware used for Bitcoin mining. An ASIC can cost anywhere between $600 to $1000, which has made Bitcoin mining unattractive for anyone except professionals.
Fortunately, Monero mining doesn’t require you to purchase an ASIC. Instead, Monero mining can be carried out using your computer’s CPU/GPU. This has made Monero a good option for beginners and other people who don’t want to invest lots of money to start mining.
So, now that you know a bit more about Monero and how it differs from Bitcoin, it’s time to find answer your next question - what is Monero mining?
What is Monero Mining?
At the time of writing, there is a total of 15,829,795 XMR in circulation. This number will continue to increase until there are 18.4 million Monero coins in circulation.
So, how are new Monero coins created?
The answer is simple — Monero mining!
Monero miners perform two important tasks:
- In the previous example, suppose Carl sends $100 to Ava via bank transfer. In this scenario, it is the bank’s job to make sure that Carl has enough balance to make the $100 payment to Ava. After the bank confirms this transaction, they make a record of it so that it can be referred to in the future.
Now, if Carl were to send the $100 to Ava using Monero, then who would validate and record this transaction? The answer is: Monero miners! This removes the need for banks to confirm transactions.
- A question that often comes up is: what’s in it for the miners? Well, they get rewarded with XMR coins each time they verify a transaction on the Monero network. Every time they use their resources to validate a group of transactions (called blocks), they are rewarded with brand new Monero coins!
Monero Mining Rewards
The current reward for verifying (mining) 1 transaction block is around 4.99 XMR, plus a transaction fee of 0.06573 XMR.
So, what happens to the miner’s reward after all 18.4 million Monero coins are mined?
Here’s the good news: after reaching 18.4 million XMR coins, new coins get added to the system at a flat rate of 0.3 XMR/minute. These new coins will be used to reward the miner’s and keep them incentivized for mining.
Do you know how long it takes to mine one Monero coin?
A Monero block is mined every 2 minutes, and we know that the current reward for mining transaction block is 4.99 XMR. So, by doing the simple math, we know that 1 XMR is mined every 24 seconds.
Now that you know what Monero mining is and why it is required, it will be easier for you to understand how to mine Monero.
Monero Mining: How to Mine Monero
As I mentioned earlier, you don’t need to purchase special hardware for XMR mining. Anyone with a computer can mine Monero. With that said, the more powerful the hardware, the better.
There are several ways to mine Monero, but before we get into that, you need to know what a Monero mining pool is.
Monero Mining Pool
Before you start mining, you need to decide whether you’re going to mine Monero on your own, or will you join a Monero mining pool.
In a mining pool, a group of Monero miners come together and combine the power of their hardware. This gives them a better chance of verifying transactions (yes, the competition is tough!). The reward they receive from mining is also split between the mining pool. Most mining pools charge you a pool fee, which is generally in the range of 0-2%.
Imagine that you contribute 5% to the total hardware power of the mining pool you are in… this means that you will also receive 5% of the total rewards earned by the Monero mining pool.
Solo mining (mining by yourself) is not recommended for the beginners. Solo mining will not earn you any rewards unless you are prepared to invest a lot of money into mining hardware.
You can choose from the many Monero mining pools in the market. You can find the list of the top Monero mining pools below.
Pool Fees: 1%
Number of Miners: 32157
Pool Fees: 0.6%
Number of Miners: 10339
Pool Fees: 1%
Number of Miners: 30132
Pool Fees: 2%
Number of Miners: 2191
Ways to Mine Monero
The most important part of mining is to have the correct Monero mining hardware. Along with the hardware, you also need Monero mining software to help you connect with a Monero mining pool.
As I mentioned earlier, you don’t need specialized ASICs for mining Monero. It can be done using a CPU or a GPU. But before proceeding, you need to know the two most important factors when selecting your hardware.
You should look for:
- High hash rate - You can think of hash rate as the processing power of the hardware.
- Low electricity consumption - Electricity is the biggest cost of mining.
I will now describe the three most popular hardware and software options.
Central Processing Unit (CPU) Mining
You can choose to use your current CPU, or you could purchase a new one. If you are planning to buy a new CPU, then AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon CPUs are two that I would recommend.
Cost - $50
Hash Rate- 415 H/s
Cost - $150
Hash Rate- 130 H/s
Once you have your desired CPU, you will then need to download Monero mining software. You could consider using XMR-STAK-CPU as it is one of the most popular Monero mining software — you can download it here.
If you are using Windows, then you should download xmr-stak-cpu-win64.zip (shown in the snapshot below). XMR Stak charges a development fee of 2%, unless you can compile the source code yourself.
If you already have a CPU, then it only takes a few minutes to start mining! Just install the software, join a mining pool, and you’re ready to go.
Mining With an AMD Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
If you are serious about Monero mining, then using a GPU is a better option. Even though it requires a larger investment, it offers a significantly higher hash rate.
AMD graphics cards are a great option to consider for GPU Monero mining. Consider purchasing an AMD R9 280x or go for the more recent AMD Radeon Rx 580.
Cost - $140
Hash Rate- 500 H/s
- AMD Radeon Rx 580:
Cost - $300 - 400
Hash Rate- 575 H/s
Once you have installed the graphics card into your PC or laptop, follow the same steps as you would if you were CPU mining.
The best Monero mining software when using AMD GPU hardware is also XMR-STAK-AMD. You can download their latest release here.
After you have installed the software onto your computer, you will need to change the pool settings so that you can join the pool of your choice.
Mining With an Nvidia GPU
Using an Nvidia graphics card is another popular way to mine Monero. There are several models that you can choose from, it all depends on your budget. You should consider using one of the following:
- Nvidia GTX 1070:
Cost - $400 - 500
Hash Rate- 505 H/s
- Nvidia GTX 1080:
Cost - $550 - 650
Hash Rate- 600 H/s
As far as software is concerned, XMR-STAK-NVIDIA can be used, but CCMiner is considered a better option. You can download the latest CCMiner release here. Make sure you choose the ccminer-x64-2.2.4-cuda9.7z, if you’re using a Windows operating system.
These are some of the best methods for mining Monero using a combination of Monero mining hardware and Monero mining software. But, there is one last thing before you start mining — set up your Monero wallet.
There aren’t many options when it comes to choosing a Monero wallet. Hardware wallets (which are considered the safest) are now also available for Monero coins: they are supported by Trezor and Ledger.
Two of the most popular wallets, which are also listed on Monero's official site are:
- MyMonero web wallet: Simply go to their website and create an account to start using it.
- Monerujo: This is a mobile wallet that is only available for Android devices.
On their official website, they have stated that the Monero community has funded a Dedicated Hardware Wallet which is now in progress. The Ledger Nano S is also working on integrating Monero into their hardware wallets.
So, let’s hope this happens soon!
You should now have a good understanding of all the aspects of Monero mining. However, you might still be wondering whether you should start XMR mining or not?
Should You Mine Monero?
You want to mine Monero to make profits, right?
Well, while Monero mining can be profitable, it depends on a lot of factors, the most important of them being:
- Hash Rate: How powerful your hardware is.
- Power Consumption: How much electricity your hardware uses.
- Cost per KWh: How much your electricity costs per unit.
- Pool Fee: The fee for the mining pool you are joining.
- Initial cost of setting up the hardware.
You can try using a Monero mining profitability calculator online! We recommend CryptoCompare’s Mining Calculator.
The profitability of mining also depends on the price of XMR. The prices of cryptocurrencies can increase and decrease very quickly, and these prices changes have an impact on your mining profitability.
It's completely up to you if you want to start mining, though. Consider the factors above, and then make your decision. Just remember - the more you invest, the more likely you are to be rewarded.
So, now you have a good understanding of what Monero is, and how is it different from Bitcoin. You also know what Monero mining is and the different ways to do it.
Monero mining may or may not be profitable, it all depends on these factors: hash rate, electricity cost, hardware cost, and so on.
If you feel like Monero mining is for you, then you can use the information in this guide to start mining!
So, are you going to start Monero mining? Let us know!