Beginner’s Guide to Mining Bitcoins

Last updated on May 18th, 2018 at 03:08 pm

One of the biggest problems I ran into when I was looking to start mining Bitcoin for investment and profit was most of the sites were written for the advanced user. I am not a professional coder, I have no experience with Ubuntu, Linux and minimal experience with Mac. So, this is for the individual or group that wants to get started the easy way.

1. Get a Bitcoin mining rig

Bitcoin mining is a very competitive niche to get into. As more and more miners come on board with the latest mining hardware the difficulty to mine increases each day. Before even starting out with Bitcoin mining you need to do your due diligence. This means you need to find out if Bitcoin mining is even profitable for you.

The best way to do this is through the use of a Bitcoin mining calculator. Just enter the data of the Bitcoin miner you are planning on buying and see how long it will take you to break even or make a profit. However, I can tell you from the get go that if you don’t have a few hundred dollars to spare you probably won’t be able to mine any Bitcoins.

Once you’ve finished with your calculations it’s time to get your miner. Make sure to go over our different Bitcoin mining hardware reviews to understand which miner is best for you. Today, the Antminer S9 is the newest and most powerful miner.

  • Select miner

  • Released
  • How much electricity does your miner consume?Power consumption
  • Power efficiency
  • How "fast" can your miner mine BitcoinsHash rate
  • Dimensions
  • Weight
  • This does not include hardware cost, electricity cost, or changes in BTC rate and mining difficultyRevenue in vacum*
  • Price
  • Our rating of the miner taking into account all specifications aboveOverall rating
  • AntMiner S9

  • antminer s9
  • June 2016
  • 1375W ±7%
  • 0.098 J/GH
  • 12.93 TH/s
  • 13.7 x 5.3 x 6.2 inches
  • 10 lbs
  • Based on BTC rate and mining difficulty on July 1st 20160.0254 BTC/month
  • Prices vary a lot according to demand~$2000
  • 95%
  • Read review
  • Antminer R4

  • Antminer R4
  • August 2016
  • 845W±9%
  • 0.1 J/GH +9%
  • 8.6TH/s±5%
  • 20 x 3.9 x 8.7 inches
  • unknown
  • Based on BTC rate and mining difficulty on August 28th 20160.0168 BTC/month
  • Prices vary a lot according to demandEstiamted $1000
  • 88%
  • Read review
  • Antminer T9

  • antminer s9
  • January 2017
  • at the wall, with Bitmain's APW3 PSU, 93% efficiency, 25°C ambient temperature1576W +7%
  • at the wall, with Bitmain's APW3 PSU, 93% efficiency, 25°C ambient temperature0.126J/GH + 7%
  • 11.5 TH/s
  • 13.7 x 5.3 x 6.2 inches
  • 9.5 lbs
  • 0.0225 BTC/month
  • Prices vary a lot according to demand$1056
  • 82%
  • Read review
  • AntMiner S7

  • Antminer s7
  • August 2015
  • 1293W
  • 0.25 J/GH
  • 4.73 TH/s
  • 11.8 x 6.1 x 4.8 inches
  • 7.5 lbs
  • Based on BTC rate and mining difficulty on July 1st 20160.00929 BTC/month
  • Prices vary a lot according to demand$599
  • 83%
  • Read review
  • Avalon 7

  • Avalon 7
  • November 2016
  • 850W-1000W
  • 0.29 J/GH
  • 6 TH/s
  • 13.4 x 5.3x 5.9
  • 9.5 lbs
  • 0.01178 BTC/month
  • Prices vary a lot according to demand$880
  • 81%
  • Read review
  • AntMiner S5

  • antminer s5
  • December 2014
  • 590W
  • 0.51 J/GH
  • 1.155 TH/s
  • 11.7 x 5.3 x 6.1 inches
  • 6.6 lbs
  • Based on BTC rate and mining difficulty on July 1st 20160.00226 BTC/month
  • Prices vary a lot according to demand$199
  • 79%
  • Read review
  • Avalon 6

  • Avalon 6
  • August 2015
  • 1100W
  • 0.29 J/GH
  • 3.5 TH/s
  • 13.9 x 5.1 x 5.9 inches
  • 9.5 lbs
  • Based on BTC rate and mining difficulty on July 1st 20160.0068 BTC/month
  • Prices vary a lot according to demand$700
  • 76%
  • Read review
  • Antrouter R1

  • Avalon 6
  • September 2015
  • This miner barely takes up any powerNegligible
  • Negligible
  • 5.5 GH/s
  • 3.3 x 2.2 x 1.1 inches
  • 0.2 lbs
  • This miner is a solo miner. It has a small chance of mining a block but does not generate monthly revenue.Probably nothing
  • Prices vary a lot according to demand$39
  • 70%
  • Read review

As a side note it’s important to state that in the past it was possible to mine Bitcoins with your computer or with a graphics card (also known as GPU mining). Today however, the mining niche has become so competitive that you’ll need to use ASIC miners – special computers built strictly for mining Bitcoins.

2. Get a Bitcoin wallet

First thing you need to do is get a “Bitcoin Wallet“. Because Bitcoin is an internet based currency, you need a place to keep your Bitcoins. Once you have a wallet make sure to get your wallet address. It will be a long sequence of letters and numbers. Each wallet has a different way to get the public Bitcoin address but most wallets are pretty straight forward about it. Notice that you’ll need your PUBLIC bitcoin address and not your PRIVATE KEY (which is like a password for your wallet).

If you’re using a self hosted wallet (i.e. you downloaded a program to your computer and are not using an internet based service) there’s one additional very important step. Make sure you have a copy of the wallet.dat file on a thumb drive and print a copy out and keep it in a safe location. You can view a tutorial on how to create a secure wallet here. The reason is that if you computer crashes and you do not have a copy of your wallet.dat file, you will lose all of your Bitcoins. They won’t go to someone else, they will disappear forever. It is like burning cash.

3. Find a mining pool

Now that you have a wallet you are probably roaring to go, but if you actually want to make Bitcoin (money), you probably need to join a mining pool. A mining pool is a group of Bitcoin miners that combines their computing power to make more Bitcoins. The reason you shouldn’t go it alone is that Bitcoins are awarded in blocks, usually 12.5 at a time, and unless you get extremely lucky, you will not be getting any of those coins.

In a pool, you are given smaller and easier algorithms to solve and all of your combined work will make you more likely to solve the bigger algorithm and earn Bitcoins that are spread out throughout the pool based on your contribution. Basically, you will make a more consistent amount of Bitcoins and will be more likely to receive a good return on your investment.

When choosing which mining pool to join you will need to ask several questions:

  • What is the reward method? – Proportional/Pay Per Share/Score Based/PPLNS
  • What fee they charge for mining and withdrawal of funds?
  • How frequently they find a block (means how frequently I get rewarded)?
  • How easy it is to withdraw funds?
  • What kind of stats they provide?
  • How stable is the pool?

To answer most of these questions you can use our best Bitcoin mining pools review or this excellent post from BitcoinTalk. You can also find a complete comparison of mining pools inside the Bitcoin wiki. For the purpose of demonstration I will use Slush’s Pool when mining for Bitcoins. Once you are signed up with a pool you will get a username and password for that specific pool which we will use later on.

Follow the link to go to their site and click the “Sign up here” link at the top of their site and follow their step by step instructions. After you have your account set up, you will need to add a “Worker”. Basically, for every miner that you have running, you will need to have a worker ID so the pool can keep track of your contributions.

4. Get a mining program for your computer

Now that you’ve got the basics covered we’re almost ready to mine. You will need a mining client to run on your computer to that you will be able to control and monitor your mining rig. Depending on what mining rig you got you will need to find the right software. Many mining pools have their own software but some don’t. You can find a list of Bitcoin mining software here.

I’m using a mac so I will use a program called MacMiner. The most popular program I’ve found for a PC are BFGMiner and 50Miner  . If you want to compare different mining software you can do this here.

5.  Start mining

OK, so hopefully now everything is ready to go. Connect you miner to a power outlet and fire it up. Make sure to connect it also to your computer (usually via USB) and open up your mining software. The first thing you’ll need to do is to enter your mining pool, username and password.

setting up bitcoin mining pool

Once this is configured you’ll basically start mining for Bitcoins. You will actually start collections shares which represent your part of the work in finding the next block. According to the pool you’ve chosen you will be paid for your share of coins – just make sure that you enter your address in the required fields when signing up to the pool. Here’s a full video of me mining in action:

Conclusion – perhaps it’s better just to buy the coins?

To conclude this article here’s something to consider. Perhaps it would be more profitable for you to just buy Bitcoins with the money you plan to spend on Bitcoin mining. Many times just buying the coins will yield a higher ROI (return on investment) than mining. If you want to dig into this a bit deeper here’s a post about exactly that.

Happy mining!!

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570 Comments on "Beginner’s Guide to Mining Bitcoins"

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Priya Kale
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Priya Kale

Thanks for writing this great article! It’s very informative, and you included some great points to the equally great article. Great read! **link removed**

Yorick
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Yorick

So, my electricity is included in the cost of my rent. I pay the exact same thing if I turn the electricity off for a month as I would if I turned the heater all the way up, the AC all the way down and every device in my home on. With this in mind, I’m thinking if I even got a fraction of a fraction (see what I did there?) of a bitcoin with my laptop, it would be something more than I had if I had not been mining at all?

Surya
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Surya

Is it possible to mine with Laptop?

My Specs:
* Intel i7 7th gen
* NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1050Ti
* 16 GB RAM

Stefano
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Stefano

AISCs like AntMiner S9 can be used to mine any kind of cryptocoin? Bitcon, Litecoin, etc.

Rob Nash
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Rob Nash

What kind of internet connection (speed) do you need to be successful? We only have about 15Mb fibre here… And does the speed make a difference to the amount you can earn?

Audiner
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Audiner

I bought PC for gaming but now I’m thinking for extra income, I would like to know if I can use my PC to earn Bcoins, and how can I do that? any suggestion? specs intel g4400 3.3 ghz, 8gb ram, 1050ti 4gb gpu, 500watts tru rated PSU

Once I have enough money I would like to buy mining rig, newbie here

Emma
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Emma

where can I buy the antminer?

Eric
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Eric

So what is the best way to handle US income tax if you are a miner? Report it as tips/wages, setup a LLC or treat yourself as self employed?

howard
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howard

Trading on Cryptocurrency is the most secured online trading in the world approved by federal governments..is a life changing chance platform in investment online with rest assure of making huge profits…I will also advice any trader to study enough and do some good research before investing or trading,I made $74k with a good smiling shock on my face in two weeks on my first trade…This a real life story investment and making money with ease..

Matt
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Matt

Hello, I still dont understand why a rig that has say 10 – 1070 or 1080 gpu is not effective enough to mine bitcoin. What is in the antminer that makes it better at mining?

beginner-039-s-guide-to-mining-bitcoins-how-to-mine-bitcoins-at-home