So you’ve heard of mining before but haven’t yet taken the time to get acquainted with what it is or how to do it. The following is a very basic guide on how to use your computer’s GPU to mine Terracoin. Terracoin is a relatively new crypto currency based off of Bitcoin but has a much lower difficulty rating, making it an ideal coin for beginners. If you don’t yet have a Terracoin wallet I suggest that you either follow our tutorial on getting started with Terracoin or head over to Terrawallet and setup an account. Much of the material covered here is also applicable to Bitcoin as they use the same algorithm.
Mining is a sort of slang for using your computer’s processing power to process transactions for the Terracoin network. When Bitcoin was first getting started miners utilized CPUs (Central Processing Unit) to do this work. However, it was eventually discovered that using a computer’s GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) to mine produced much faster speeds and cost less in electricity. Because of that few people use CPUs to mine today except some Litecoin miners as it uses a different encryption algorithm.
To mine you’ll need to download some specialized software. For this tutorial I’ll be covering GUI miner to mine Terracoin on Windows 7 and 8 (I’ll be covering other coins/software/operating systems in future tutorials). Once you have the correct mining software installed on your computer you will need to sign up to a mining pool. For this tutorial I’ll cover mining with the Coinotron mining pool as it offers several different crypto currencies for mining.
Pool mining came about after the difficulty in Bitcoin mining became so high it was difficult to find a block (the main unit of work). Mining pools allow groups of users to ‘pool’ their mining resources making it more likely that the group finds a block. The mining pool will then pay each miner a portion of that block corresponding to how much they had contributed (There are multiple ways of calculating this).
Downloading GUI Miner
GUI miner is a basic Bitcoin mining program that also works well with Terracoin mining. Unlike most of the other miners available, it has a front end (GUI – Graphic User Interface). Most miners such as the popular cgminer are more versatile but require that users are acquainted with the command line.
The link below is the Github download for GUIminer for Windows. For other versions and operating systems check the bitcointalk thread.
After you’ve downloaded GUI miner you’ll need to create an account with Coinotron. Coinotron is the mining pool that we’ll be using as mentioned earlier. An alternate pool is BitcoinReactor, though the setup there is slightly different than many pools.
Once you’ve created an account with Coinotron navigate to the the my account page and set up a Terracoin worker (TRC) and password. Next start up GUI miner by finding the .exe file in the folder you downloaded (I just leave the folder on my desktop). Once you have GUI miner up and running you’ll need to enter your settings. After that GUI miner should look something like the below image.
Once you start GUI miner you should see a hash rate appear at the bottom right hand corner of the miner. 696.1 Mhash/s is the hash rate that my Radeon 7970 puts out. Most GPUs will not be this high. At current difficulty you’ll get around one Terracoin per day per Mhash/s. So even 20 Mhash/s will help you earn coins.
In order to actually get your coins you’ll need to set up a payout address through coinotron. This is the address that you set up either through Terrawallet or from your Terracoin client.
Where To Go From Here
At this point you should be started mining Terracoin! If you’d like you can use this same set up of GUI miner to mine Bitcoin, you just need to set up an account at a Bitcoin mining pool. Coinotron has a Bitcoin mining pool but you might not see payouts all that often as their hash rate isn’t as high as other pools.
Disclaimer About Laptops
Mining on laptops can be a bad idea. They don’t have the cooling that desktops do and this has resulted in the death of a few motherboards with Bitcoin mining. If you have a desktop-like or gaming laptop they might be better suited. However, laptops like MacBook Pros and many ultra books don’t have a way to dissipate that much heat. It can also harm some batteries.
Thanks for reading and let me know if you end up with any issues with this tutorial. If you run into problems leave a comment below or shoot me an email at CryptoJunky at zoho dot com and I’ll try and help you figure them out. I’ll cover solo mining and different operating systems in upcoming posts.