It has been a little while since I've done one of these, but it was good to get back in the saddle for this one. This is number 14 of the mining articles for beginners' and hobby miners, if you're interested at having a go at mining some other coins then check out the rest of my blog here.
Before I begin there are a couple of things to remember; Firstly unless you have an extensive mining setup you're unlikely to get rich (or break even) and Secondly I take no responsibility for any issues you run into if you try this at home (be smart download mining software at your own risk).
This is for informational and fun purposes only; I don't claim to be an expert. If you're reading this and you are more experienced and spot any issues, by all means point it out in the comments and I'll try make the necessary updates.
As of 28Nov2020, block 11,700,000 to be precise, ETC (the most well known of the ETH forks) is making (or has made) a change to their mining algorithm. So, instead of using the standard ETHASH algorithm shared with ETH and other forks of ETH, ETC are now moving away to a variant of this with a couple of minor tweaks:
- Firstly, the are rolling back the directed acyclic graph (DAG) size to just under 2.5 GB
- Secondly, the rate at which the DAG increases in size over time will be reduced
So initially, you may be wondering why they are making these modifications?
A while back I wrote an article about how ASICs and PoW algorithm development. In that I discussed how ASIC resistance leans towards either being memory intensive or computationally complex. ETHASH was designed to become more memory intensive over time as a way of effectively moving the goal posts and keep up a level of ASIC resistance. It does this by requiring that the amount of space needed to build the DAG increases. The downside of this is, as time goes on GPU's with limited VRAM capacity have slowly been phased out.
Over recent months the Ethereum Classic network has been plagued by 51% attacks. These attacks effectively undermine the validity of a blockchain and erode the perception of immutability. Earlier this year a lot of 4GB card would have been decommissioned or moved to other algorithms as it became impossible (or unsustainable) for them to mine ETC effectively. So, in the hopes of potentially increasing the hashing power, and redistribute it more evenly again, the above algorithm changes were proposed. These would make it possible for 3/4GB cards to once again mine on the network and the reduced rate means the 4GB cards would be usable for around 3 years. Ideally, the hope is that this would increase the overall security of the network and reducing the risk of further attacks.
If you are interested in reading the details of the change here is the proposal:
I'll not dive more into that now. Let's get on with mining some crypto!
Step 1: The Wallet
Best place to start when you're going to think of mining crypto is how you're going to collect your earnings. Quite often it can be useful to run a full blockchain wallet. However, in the interest of time and perhaps if you want the coins readily available at your fingertips then a multi-coin wallet would be good. For this one I'm going to use Atomic Wallet, which I discussed in this recent article:
Set-up couldn't be easier:
- 1.) Once the wallet is downloaded add ETC to the home screen
- 2.) We can then click ETC and again on the 'Receive' button to reveal your address
- 3.) Make a note of the address as we'll need it later.
Step 2: The Mining Software
So, with the wallet set up next we need the mining software. As of version v1.12 lolminer have added support for the new algorithm so, since I've used this mining software before, this seems like a solid choice. Note that this software is designed for both AMD and NVidia cards and has a 1% fee, which means that 1% of your mining time goes to them. There are also alternatives out there like TeamRedMiner and Phoenix, each with their own dev fees so don't be afraid to shop around for the best one for your card.
Setting up Lolminer:
- 1.) Head to the release page and get the latest version : https://github.com/Lolliedieb/lolMiner-releases/releases
- 2.) Download extract the zip file to a secure location. If you don't see the file below, best to check your virus software exceptions in case it got intercepted.
Step 3: The Pools
Right, we have a wallet and the mining software. Next up we need to find a mining pool. There are a lot of pools out there with a variety of fees/payout levels etc. pick one that suits you.
Here is one suggestion that doesn't require registration.
- 2Miners - https://etc.2miners.com/
- Fee = 1.0%
- Min. Payout = 0.1 ETC
Alternatively, if your hashrate is good enough, or you're just feeling lucky, you can also Solo mine with 2Miners. Solo mining give you all of the block reward (minus the fee) instead of a portion of the reward relative to your contribution to the pool.
- 2Miners (Solo) - https://2miners.com/solo-etc-mining-pool
- Fee = 1.5%
- Min Payout = 0.1 ETC (though a block reward is currently 3.2 ETC so if you get lucky you go over that immediately)
Step 4: Mining
The final step now is to bring everything together and kick off the mining software. To do this we're going to need to do the following:
- 1.) head back over the wallet and fetch the address by clicking the 'Copy' button
- 2.) Then head over to 2Miners or whichever pool you're using and fetch the pool details which we'll need to connect to.
- 3.) Now go back to the folder where the miner is saved right-click and edit the "mine_etc_4G" BAT file
- Add wallets address, replacing the stock text (between "=" and the final ")
- Add pool address, the stock address here is already 2Miners so you could well just leave it if you're in Europe
- Save and close the file
- 4.) Finally, all that is left to do is double click the BAT file and watch your ETC fortunes skyrocket while your electricity bill does the same!
Congratulations you're mining ETC!!
Once your are mining (after a few submitted shares) you can check your stats on the 2Miners site. Just navigating there on your favorite browser (#BRAVE) and have your address to hand. Paste it into the bar at the top middle of the main page and hit enter (note that if you are solo mining you need to navigate to the solo mining page to find your address). You'll see all your stats on the next page.
Hope you enjoyed the guide, good luck y'all!
Update: Having now been up and running for a couple of hours I'm managing around 28.6 MH/s. While this isn't amazing it is near the best I can get on this card and I'm actually rolling the dice and attempting solo for a few days. Likely won't get much but it is fun to try.