Cryptocurrency mining, or cryptomining, is a process in which transactions for various forms of cryptocurrency are verified and added to the blockchain digital ledger. Also known as cryptocoin mining, altcoin mining, or Bitcoin mining (for the most popular form of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin), cryptocurrency mining has increased both as a topic and activity as cryptocurrency usage itself has grown exponentially in the last few years.
Each time a cryptocurrency transaction is made, a cryptocurrency miner is responsible for ensuring the authenticity of information and updating the blockchain with the transaction. The mining process itself involves competing with other cryptominers to solve complicated mathematical problems with cryptographic hash functions that are associated with a block containing the transaction data.
The first cryptocurrency miner to crack the code is rewarded by being able to authorize the transaction, and in return for the service provided, cryptominers earn small amounts of cryptocurrency of their own. In order to be competitive with other cryptominers, though, a cryptocurrency miner needs a computer with specialized hardware.
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How to Get Started as a Cryptocurrency Miner
While cryptomining can generate a small income for a cryptocurrency miner, in most cases only in the amount of a dollar or two per day for an individual using their own dedicated computer hardware. Expenses like electricity, internet connection, and computing hardware also impact the net revenue generated by cryptocurrency mining.
In order to get started mining, cryptocurrency miners will need dedicated computer hardware with a specialized graphical processing unit (GPU) chip or application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), sufficient cooling means for the hardware, an always-on internet connection, a legitimate cryptocurrency mining software package, and membership in both an online cryptocurrency exchange as well as an online mining pool.
Aspiring cryptominers should also know that as cryptocurrencies have risen in both popularity and value, competition has increased substantially as well and now includes organizations and enterprises with more extensive resources than most individuals can compete with.