Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a public platform which is regulated by users who collaborate to record and process payments.
Ethereum’s currency, ether, can only be mined using graphics cards and similar hardware.
This means the expensive, specialised devices used for mining Bitcoin do not work well with Ethereum, and users are encouraged to use desktop hardware instead.
South Africans PC enthusiasts can easily mine ether using their rig, if they do not mind the constant power draw and workload.
We’ve compiled a list of things you should know about mining ether using PC hardware, detailed below.
Whether you use your PC to mine in your downtime or build a dedicated Ethereum mining rig, you will need a full desktop system – including memory and storage.
You can either use a CPU or GPU to mine ether, although it is recommended that you use a graphics card, as a GPU is much better at Ethereum mining than a CPU.
Other popular high-return AMD graphics cards include the Radeon RX 470 and R9 380.
The efficiency of PC hardware for Ethereum mining is measured in MH/s (MegaHashes-per-second), and it is important to balance performance with power efficiency and cooling, as graphics cards generate a lot of heat.
If you are building a mining PC from scratch, you can choose to install either Linux or Windows as an operating system.
Before you can start mining Ethereum, you will need to sync your computer with the blockchain by installing Geth.
After setting up Geth and creating an account, you will need to download the blockchain for Ethereum.
It is important to note that miners working together in a pool do not need to download the entire blockchain.
Ethereum miners can choose to mine by themselves or in a pool with other miners.
Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but if you are a beginner with relatively weak hardware, it can be easier if you begin by mining in a pool.
Individual miners are only rewarded when they complete a block, which can happen rarely if you do not have powerful hardware.
Mining in a pool splits rewards among all participants based on their individual work done, and guarantees a more stable revenue for each miner.
It is important to research Ethereum mining pools, as they have different payment and workload policies.
Miners are rewarded ether for completing blocks, and this is added to their wallets once the block has been completed or their mining pool dispenses income to participants.
Miners also need an Ethereum wallet to store their earnings.
There are a number of wallets available online, and users should download a wallet which allows them to hold their own security keys instead of an online hosting solution.
Once miners have earned ether, they can convert it to real cash at trusted cryptocurrency exchanges – or trade it for other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Ethereum has seen a recent increase in value against other currencies, but cryptocurrencies are known to be more volatile than traditional currencies.