First came Bitcoin, then a slew of other coins, and then Litecoin joined the scene. Just like Bitcoin, Litecoin functions as an online platform where users can send and receive payments. Since Litecoin also works on a decentralized network, its peer-to-peer transactions are not controlled by any monopolistic authority. Compared to its ancestor, there are certain differences in Litecoin. First, the confirmation time of its transactions is faster. Secondly, Litecoin makes use of a separate hashing algorithm. However, apart from these, its inception follows the same process as Bitcoin; through a process known as Litecoin Mining. There is also an easier way to procure Litecoins: by buying them using traditional money at several online exchanges.
For those interested in Litecoin Mining, it is important to understand what mining is .
Understanding Litecoin Mining
Instead of a central government handling the Litecoin supply, the work is spread across a network of computers, with users known as miners. These miners work towards assembling all the newer transactions on the Litecoin platform into huge bundles known as blocks. These blocks, when assembled, form the decentralized ledger known as the blockchain.
To assure that just one blockchain operates on the Litecoin network, the process of creating blocks is made difficult. The block creation process is known as hashing. During this process, miners produce a cryptographic hash which belongs to a specific block. However, miners have to attempt several calculations to find one hash that meets the specific criteria of the block. Those miners who successfully create blocks receive a reward of 25 newly minted Litecoins.
The difficulty level for hash creation is adjusted every couple of days. The basis for this degree of difficulty is the frequency in which the block appears. As the competition and network difficulty rises, every miner needs to put in more work to find each block. The network difficulty is equal for all miners, and is quantifiable, which at present is 6,857,057.
Before beginning Litecoin Mining
Before the users involve themselves in Litecoin mining, it’s important that they ensure the presence of a wallet to keep their digital currencies in. For instance, in Litecoin’s case, they can head to its official webpage and download one from the default wallet link. For any support or advice regarding Litecoin, there are many community forums like https://litecointalk.io/.
Users should be aware that it will be a while before the wallets are completely operable. This is due to the extensive time that is necessary for the entire Litecoin blockchain to download.
Hardware for Litecoin Mining
In the absence of particular mining hardware, users can employ two methods for Litecoin mining. One involves the Central Processing Unit (CPU), and the other involves the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). The latter is based on the Graphics card and offers enhanced performance for the required cryptographic calculations. For those who are new to the mining process and only has an Intel-powered graphics card, mining is still possible. However, it will be at a much slower rate.
Similarly, it is not recommended to use the simple graphics processor that Intel offers. For maintaining respectable speeds, most Litecoin miners invest in building dedicated machines. These machines are able to house several graphics cards, mostly through riser cables. Machines that are not specifically built for Litecoin mining can suffer from a reduced hardware lifespan since the process is highly system intensive.
Making use of a Mining Pool
Miners can work alone or can become part of a mining pool. In these pools, users combine all their processing resources and divide the rewards among everyone. When working alone, the user can keep all the reward. However, this method has less chance of success. Contrarily, a mining pool enhances the chances of success, but the rewards are divided among all participants.
Therefore, for novice miners, it is wise to start with pool mining. In solo mining, the configuration of the software becomes a complicated task. In fact, only people with enough expertise and experience can carry it out efficiently.
Setting up Litecoin Mining software
- One way of Litecoin mining involves the use of a CPU Miner.
This CPU miner is handy software where the computer has to be able to use a command line. One way to download the software is from Source Forge. This program is available for various operating systems including, Windows 32 as well as 64 bit, Linux and OSX.
- The first step includes downloading the appropriate file for the particular operating system. The user can extract the zip file anywhere on their hard drive. Though, it is wiser if the file is sent to a distinct ‘cpuminer’ folder on a computer drive.
- The next step involves writing a batch file, constituting of a one-line script for launching the miner. Considering a beginner uses a mining pool, the launch will involve the correct parameters as per the pool.
- The user needs the following details before the launch:
1. The directory’s full path which will store the mining program.
2. Stratum URL, belonging to the server of the mining pool.
3. The mining server’s port number.
4. The username in the mining pool.
5. The worker number or name.
6. The worker password
- Next, in the text editor of choice like the notepad (not MS Word), one needs to enter the script. The script will use a formula that will depend on the algorithm which the currency uses. Examples include Scrypt or SHA-256.
- Based on the formula, a text will appear. The user needs to save the file with the text ending with an extension “.bat”.
- Double-clicking on the file will activate the miner program.
- Additionally, the web-based mining pool interface will identify the activity of the user as a mining worker.
Another mining method involves the GPU Miner
In the same way that users employ CPU Miner, they can make use of GPUs or other USB Mining hardware. Miners can use the cgminer program, which they can download from the website of the developer. Here it is important to ensure the updated status of the graphics driver. As with the CPU miner, users should download the program depending on their specific operating system.
However, in this case, the computer needs to detect the graphics card. Next, depending on the algorithm, users enter a command in a particular folder, like c:\cgminer\. Finally, the program creates a batch file and double-clicking on it will activate the miner program.
Activation of the miner program is just the tip of the iceberg in the Litecoin mining process. Substantial information involving the currency, mining pool, the blocks created, and hashing speed, come across the command line terminal. With more practice and experience, miners can improve their Litecoin mining technique.
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