A guide on how to mine monero

An old miners’ shack in a sunny day. Photo by Xiang Gao on Unsplash

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past months, you might have heard or read anything about bitcoin and/or other cryptocurrencies. From Netflix documentary to news about market fluctuation, everyone’s trying to make money with it. Different from more mature and better established markets, cryptocurrencies are in its infancy, which means the steps required to negotiate, pay taxes and other activities related to those coins are obscure. In this article will show my adventures on figuring out how to mine Monero.

Keep in mind that I will oversimplify some subjects for the sake of reading length, but links to more details will be provided.

First things off: why to mine?

In a few words, when you mine a cryptocurrency, you’re putting your computer to validate transactions from people negotiating that coin in exchange for a reward. The rewards will be paid in the cryptocurrency being mined and it’ll be stored in a digital wallet. On our case, you’ll be paid in Monero to a wallet that you’ll create. Be advised that your computer will work at full power when mining, so it’ll consume more electricity and generate lots of noise and heat. It’s also not recommended to mine using a laptop, as there were some incidents related in the past.

While you can mine with any computer, virtually all mining is done with specialized hardware called ASICs, which are trillions of times more efficient than computers at it. You can estimate how much your computer will generate in profits by its specs, but unless you have several graphics cards seating in your computer, chances are that you won’t make much. That being said, my goal here is not to make a profit, but document the process and satisfy my curiosity.

My choice for Monero was pretty arbitrary. While the steps described here might be the same for other coins, consider the scope of this article exclusively for mining Monero on a MS Windows machine. If you’re serious about mining, check out other cryptocurrencies as well.

What you’ll need

The list is pretty basic:

  • computer
  • user with admin privileges
  • internet connection
  • wallet to receive your rewards
  • address of a mining pool
  • mining software

Monero allows mining through a graphics card (GPU) or a processor (CPU). To keep things simple, I’ll use a software that evaluates your computer specs and pick the type of mining that best suits you.

Creating your wallet

You will need a cryptocurrency wallet to receive your rewards. It works just as a real-life wallet: it holds your funds and allows you to receive or send money. The easiest way to have one is to create it online. Every now and then, hackers manage to steal cryptocurrencies, so try to keep the balance of your wallet low and your passwords secure.

I created my wallet on this website. After clicking on ‘create your account’, you’ll receive a private key, formed by 13 non-related words. Just enter the private key in the text box and click the button below it.

The next screen will show you the address of your wallet, which is a long string of letters and numbers. This is the public identifier of your wallet, so no need to keep it hidden.

Here’s a wallet public address created for this article:

Take a note of your wallet’s address, because you’ll need to input it into the mining program to indicate where the rewards shall be deposited.

Joining a pool

Most cryptocurrencies algorithms to validate a transaction (and thus earn a reward) are designed in a way that its difficult increases as more people mine it. In the early days of bitcoin, it was possible for a single person to mine the currency with a normal computer, but that’s far from reality right now. The solution to this problem is to join a mining pool. While you’re not required to do so, the pros outweigh the cons.

Here’s a list of Monero’s mining pools by region. The pools have different methods to share rewards between its members and charge distinct fees for membership. This fee is automatically deducted from your reward when you validate a transaction, so you won’t need to provide any payment information. As proximity, types of shares and fees are important aspects to consider, for the purpose of this article, you can pick any pool.

To join a pool, all you need to do is to enter the pool’s address and port on the miner software running on your computer. Every pool will list this information in a different section on their website, so you’ll have to look it up. Some pools will require you to create an account in order to be a member. Again, to keep things simple, I opted for a pool that doesn’t ask for sign up.

I picked the monerohash and found their address and port on the getting started page:

Again, take notes of the address and port of your pool.

Setting up the tools

The next step is to download the software to mine the coins. I’m using Xmr-Stack, which will automagically detect my hardware specs and define the best way to mine. As per this writing, the latest version available is 2.2.0. After download and unzip the folder, you’ll find a .exe file inside. By running the .exe, you will be prompted to enter some information. Time to get your notes ready:

  1. Which currency you want to mine
  2. What’s your pool address and port
  3. What’s your wallet address
  4. What’s your pool password
  5. If the pool support TLS/SSL
  6. If you want to use NiceHash
  7. If you want to use multiple pools

Here’s an example of my configuration:

That’s it

If everything is correct, you should see the mining software running.

Open the Task manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc and then more details will show that the program is consuming much of your CPU or GPU depending on the type of mining it’s doing.

To stop the mining, just close the software window. If you leave the mining running long enough (could be days or weeks), you should see some funds deposited on your wallet.

I hope this article helped you to clarify about cryptocurrencies mining and the steps involved. Leave your comment below or your claps if you liked it 😉.