#FridayHacks: How To Mine Bitcoins

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has labeled Bitcoins as illegal, just like many Central Banks in this world that haven’t regulated Bitcoins. The central bank has indicated that they are researching on Bitcoin. But despite their legal status in Zimbabwe, there are a lot of people who are interested in getting hold of this cryptocurrency, and may be able to do so through a process called mining.

Mining is the process of using a computer to perform complex calculations on blocks of data which maintain the Bitcoin network. Miners are rewarded for their efforts with a certain amount of Bitcoins.

Bitcoin (BTC) is fast becoming the province of people using specialized ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) devices, although if you have one or more powerful graphics cards you may still be able to generate a small profit by assembling your own mining device. You’ll learn more about this in the following steps.

The actual profit you make will depend on a number of factors. The first is your ‘hash rate’ – in other words, the actual processing power of your machine. Computers designed for mining, or ‘rigs’ as they’re commonly known, require large amounts of electricity, which will increase running costs. The complexity of mining also rises over time.

The Bitcoin itself is a very volatile virtual currency and while it has recently made huge gains, it may also plummet in value. Bear this in mind if you plan to hold onto any BTC you mine rather than selling immediately. If you want a rough idea of how much you can make from mining, use one of the many online profitability calculators (for example, the one at 99 Bitcoins).

While you can technically try to mine Bitcoin on your own, it’s very unlikely that your rig will singlehandedly solve the complex sums necessary to receive a reward. Instead, you’ll need to join a mining pool. As the name suggests, this is a pool of multiple machines connected together, engaged in a collaborative mining effort. The Bitcoin rewards reaped are shared amongst everyone who contributed processing power to the effort.

Enjoy your mining.

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