Litecoin has been making a lot of noise recently after a sharp rise in price. It could be that Bitcoin miners are finally feeling the pinch of specialized mining hardware known as ASICs. It could also be that a flood of newcomers to the crypto currency market is creating a demand not just for Bitcoin but also for Litecoin. In any event, I’ve had quite a few people asking about a basic guide for Litecoin mining so here it is.
Update 1/2/2014: This guide covers Radeon graphics cards. For a guide covering NVIDA cards check out our new Beginner’s Guide To Litecoin Minnig With NVIDIA Graphics Cards.
If you’re not yet familiar with Litecoin or don’t yet have a Litecoin wallet I suggest you check out our guide to Getting Started With Litecoin. It provides a brief overview of the currency and a tutorial for setting up a wallet.
Litecoin mining is the process of using your computer’s CPU (Central Processing Unit) and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) to process transactions for the Litecoin network. By doing this you can attempt to solve a ‘block’ which pays out a reward. Currently the Litecoin reward per block is 50 Litecoins.
Unlike Bitcoin, CPUs can still contribute enough hashing power to be significant to Litecoin, though this may quickly change. In fact, this was one of the original design features of Litecoin. Because Litecoin uses a scrypt encryption algorithm there is a much smaller efficiency gap between CPU mining and GPU mining. For this reason the Litecoin client still has a built in CPU mining program.
Another important concept of modern mining is pool mining. A mining pool is a group of miner’s that pool their resources together so that they can find blocks faster. The reward is then split between the pool members based on their contributions. This tutorial uses Coinotron mining pool along with GUIMiner Scrypt and assumes Windows 7 or 8 as an operating system.
Downloading GUI Miner Scrypt
GUIMiner Scrypt is a recently put together mining program similar to the popular and easy to use Bitcoin GUIMiner. The main difference between the two is that this GUIMiner is built with a Scrypt miner as the backend. Many other Litecoin miners such as Reaper and Cgminer (The backends for this) are more versatile but usually more difficult for beginners. For most other Litecoin mining programs you need an understanding of the command line.
In addition to GUIMiner Scrypt you’ll need to download and install the most recent drivers for your Graphics Card as well as the AMD APP SDK. If you do not have these installed you will likely get an error relating to OpenCL.
NOTE: GUIminer Scrypt is in it’s Alpha phase and may still have bugs. Check this bitcointalk thread out for full details on the miner and know issues. Also note that because GUIMiner Scrypt includes cgminer it may be detected as malware by antivirus and malware detection programs. However, GUIMiner Scrypt does not contain malware and is safe to use. More on this in the comments.
Once you’ve downloaded GUI miner scrypt you’ll need to create an account with Coinotron. As mentioned earlier Coinotron is the mining pool that we’ll be using in this tutorial. There are a lot of other Litecoin pools out there but Coinotron is one of the easier to use and offers multiple coins.
Once you’ve created an account with Coinotron navigate to the the my account page and set up a Litecoin worker (LTC) and password. This Litecoin worker and password is what you’ll be using with GUIMiner scrypt. You’ll also want to specify a payout address (i.e. your Litecoin wallet address).
Next start up GUI miner scrypt by finding the .exe file in the folder you downloaded (I usually just leave the folder on my desktop). After you’ve gotten GUI miner scrypt up and running you’ll need to enter your settings. Your GUIminer should look similar to the one below.
One of the nicest features of GUI Miner Scrypt is that it has built in settings for most common GPUs. Just go to the GPU Defaults tab and choose your GPU. After using their defaults I saw an increase in hash rate of about 100 kh/s.
Once you have entered all your settings click the start button and you should see a hash rate appear in the bottom right corner. If you don’t or you see an error it is probably because one or more of your settings aren’t right. Litecoin mining is much more finicky when it comes to settings that Bitcoin or Terracoin. The specific settings that you use should correspond to your particular GPU.
Where To Go From Here
At this point you should be started mining Litecoin! Just remember that this version of GUI Miner is meant to work with Scrypt coins like Litecoin. If you’re interested in Bitcoin or Terracoin our Guide To Mining Terracoin or our Guide To Bitcoin Mining.
If you’d like to get an estimate as to how many coins per day you should be earning you should check out this Litecoin mining calculator.
GUIMiner Scrypt Developer
Prior to the recent release of GUIMiner Scrypt, Litecoin mining was difficult for beginners. Once you end up getting your miners going please consider donating to BitcoinTalk user TactoTime. The original thread for GUIMiner scrypt is here at bitcointalk. The addresses are as follows:
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 again for reading CryptoJunky and be sure to let me know if you have any issues with this tutorial. If you have problems just leave a comment or send me an email at CryptoJunky at zoho dot com.