Welcome Back! Last week we discussed how Dogecoin forced its way into the spotlight. This week we are going to take a deeper look at what it takes to start rolling in Doge. Mining (or digging) is a very simple process and it’s easy to get started. Anyone with a home computer can start doing it, although the level of success with which you mine depends on some factors.
Step 1: Understanding the Basics
At the most basic level, the Dogecoin algorithm pays out coins for solving simple math problems. Each group of these math problems is called a block, and the record of all the transactions in the Dogecoin network is called the blockchain. When a block is “solved,” it will pay out a random number of coins that fall within the set limits. These coins are then distributed between the workers who contributed their computing power to solving the block. Currently the payout limits are between 0 and 500,000 coins per block.
Step 2: The Wallet
The very first thing you’re going to need to start collecting enough Doge to have a Scrooge McDuck-style vault is a wallet. Just head over to Dogecoin.com and select your operating system. The wallet will download and you will be prompted to install. When you finish installing the wallet it will begin to download the blockchain data in order to catch up to the rest of the network. This can take a while, primarily because there is so much data. Be patient and your wallet will sync eventually!
Step 3: The Pickaxe
It is possible to mine dogecoin with just the CPU in your computer, but if you want to dig effectively you’re going to want at least one dedicated graphics card. A lot of people will already have these in their computers, but not all graphics cards are created equal. Regardless of the standard measures of performance that GPUs are held to, AMD cards are generally better at mining. The AMD architecture is better at handling the hash workloads than Nvidia’s architecture, which makes them the ideal cards for anyone interested in mining scrypt-based coins. If you are in the market for a new GPU or you are looking into setting up a mining rig, one of the first things to do is look into which card is best for you. Luckily, most of the hard work in that department has already been done by Litecoin miners, who have set up a reference page detailing the mining performance of various graphics cards on the market. If you’re setting up a large mining operation you’re going to need multiple cards, so finding a balance between performance and cost will be important.
Step 4: The Software
Once you have managed to track down a GPU (or five), you’re going to need some way to connect them to the Dogecoin network and start mining. This has become exceedingly easy as more people adopt Dogecoin, and there are two basic programs you can use. The first is designed to work with AMD graphics cards and is called cgminer. The second is a program designed for use with Nvidia GPUs and is called Cudaminer. Both programs are similar, and both serve to lend your GPU’s processing power to the current Dogecoin block. For the purpose of this article, we will assume that people are using an AMD card and cgminer. For now, simply download and install the program. It’s time to find a pool and set up a worker!
Step 5: Find a Pool and Set up a Worker!
This isn’t the only way to mine, but for most people it’s the most effective. A “pool” is simply a collection of miners who have put their processing power together in order to increase their chances of solving a block. There are hundreds of pools, and finding one can be daunting, but don’t worry. What you want to look for in a pool is a high “Pool Hashrate,” which indicates roughly how much work is being done by the pool. It’s also worth bearing in mind that pools deal out dogecoin rewards based on how many people were contributing and how much they were contributing at the time the block was solved. Over a small period this isn’t likely to affect how much Dogecoin you earn per hour from any pool, but it can help to fuel your overall strategy if you put together a large rig. There are several pool lists floating out around the internet, but this is a good place to start looking for a pool. Once you’ve found the pool that’s right for you, create your account and follow their instructions for setting up a worker.
Step 6: Configure Your Software
Setting up cgminer is really simple. There are a ton of places out there with instructions on setting up cgminer using a BAT file, but there’s an easier way. Head to the “Getting Started” section on the website of your chosen pool. There you’ll find the pool address and even a sample input for cgminer and cudaminer. Next, open up command prompt and navigate to the folder that contains cgminer using the “cd” command. Here’s an example of what you might type into the command prompt:
cd C:/Program Files/cgminer
Once you’re in the right location, look at the “Getting Started” instructions on your pool. Use the sample input to connect cgminer to your pool. The general command goes something like this:
cgminer.exe –scrypt -o stratum+tcp://pool.POOLADDRESS:PORT -u USERNAME.WORKERNAME -p WORKERPASSWORD
Once you’ve connected to your pool, your GPU will spin up and start mining. Cgminer will show you your hashrate, accepted shares, GPU temperature, and other relevant information. You can use options inside cgminer to manage your settings and to write a config file so that next time all you have to do is run cgminer for it to connect. Once you get a little more comfortable, you can use the recommended settings on the hardware comparison page to optimize your miner, by adding them to the end of the command you input into the command prompt. Optimal settings are different for every graphics card, so be sure you’ve got the right ones. We’ll talk about those a little more next week.
Step 7-10: Get a Drink
Traditionally a Rum and Coke is made with 50 mL of white rum, 120 mL of Coca Cola, and 10 mL of lime juice. Mix these in a highball glass with ice, and garnish with a slice of lime. Technically the proper name for this drink is a Cuba Libre, but generally people who call it that get laughed at. It has several variations including the Witch Doctor, which is made with Dr. Pepper and dark rum. You can also swap out the rum for a sweet Canadian whiskey like Crown Royal. Other good options include the Gin and Tonic and whiskey or vodka on the rocks. Whatever you drink make sure it is fancy enough for your new position as a captain of industry, and join us next week when we get our hands dirty with some of the more technical aspects of mining and answer your burning question: What do I do with all these Doge?