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There are some cryptocurrencies buried in the deeps of the Internet, by chance? We don’t think so, but yes, we know what “mining” means in the physical world: “removing minerals from the ground”. It should be the same but on Internet with the cryptocurrencies, right…? Not exactly.

We’ll need Internet if we want to mine some cryptocurrencies, but these coins aren’t there specifically. And they’re not “coins-coins” like the cent inside your pocket, but pieces of informatics code. Like 0s and 1s ordered in digital files, that’s it. With a lot of cryptography (very complex math) building and protecting them.

So, what’s up with the “mining” stuff? Why the cryptocurrencies can be “mined”? Well, that comes from the Proof of Work (PoW). This one is an algorithm, and by “algorithm” we mean a set of steps and methods that are built —with math— to achieve a specific result or solve a problem. That’s exactly what the PoW does: develop a difficult math problem or riddle you must solve in order to verify virtual transactions and win some cryptocurrencies.

You, the “miner” (and mostly your computer and related equipment), should dig into the riddle to “find” the digital coins, and that’s why the cryptocurrencies are mined. Το crypto-mining είναι η μαθηματική διαδικασία που μπορεί να χρησιμοποιήσει μια αποκεντρωμένη blockchain για να επαληθεύσει τις συναλλαγές της και να κόψει νέα νομίσματα ταυτόχρονα. Don’t forget it!

Ποιος μπορεί να είναι ανθρακωρύχος κρυπτογράφησης;

Anyone… with patience and some basic informatics and cryptocurrency knowledge. Do you know how to use Google Chrome, τι είναι ψηφιακό νόμισμα and how to change the settings in your Control Panel? Then you’re a viable candidate! Congratulations!

And don’t worry if you don’t know much about these computer things, you always can learn. Because there’re zero official requisites to become a cryptocurrency miner, at least with decentralized coins. That’s the whole point of “decentralization”: the more people participate on the network, the better.

They help to maintain the network (the blockchain) in a good state, with fast and cheap verifications for every transaction and new coins in the wild. They’re cool. And you can be part of it.

Τι πρέπει να γίνω ανθρακωρύχος;

It strongly depends on what cryptocurrency you want to mine. It’s not the same for each one of them: some require this, others require that. Some are easiest to mine than others, that’s the truth. And that’s why you should learn first everything you can about the currency you are interested in.

Σε κάθε περίπτωση, Αυτά είναι κοινά συστατικά: ηλεκτρική ενέργεια, ισχυρό υλικό και μια πολύ σταθερή σύνδεση στο Διαδίκτυο. The energy (a lot of it) in combination with your computer or your specialized equipment will be the one to solve the mathematical riddle (it’s not you directly, just in case). And yeah, there is specialized equipment for crypto-mining. They’re called ASIC machines (from “application-specific integrated circuit”) and they’re not usually cheap at all (+1.000 USD), especially if they’re designed to mine bitcoins.

Σε αυτό το σημείο, Bitcoin (BTC) is the hardest cryptocurrency to mine, because the system’s mathematical difficulty increases as more miners participate (to increase the security too). According to Bitnodes, there are more than 10K nodes (miners) of Bitcoin all around the world. Hence the need for ASICs… and mining pools.

The mining pools, basically, are groups of miners who join through a webpage or company to accumulate more computer power together and have more possibilities to get the system’s reward. This happens because if you’re mining alone, your not-so-much-significant machine and power in the huge ocean of machines and power will give you a reward in about… two years. And that’s sad.

Από την άλλη πλευρά, έχουμε κρυπτονομίσματα όπως Monero (XMR). You can mine it with your CPU (and probably a pool as well) because its system is different and aims to be more inclusive. But wait: the crypto-mining is an exigent process that takes a lot of energy, hardware, and software resources. Even if you mine with your CPU, you should know it’ll probably be at its full capacity (which means it’d be very difficult using it with other purposes) and your energy bill will rise.

Τι κάνει ο ανθρακωρύχος κατά μέσο όρο την ημέρα;

After educating themselves, know almost everything they should know about the currency they’re mining, buy and install (or not) a good ASIC machine in a cold place (they tend to overheat), set up the necessary software and join to a mining pool… they can just rest, for a bit.

Κατά τη διάρκεια της μέσης ημέρας, ένας κρυπτογραφητής μπορεί να πάει οπουδήποτε θέλει, να κάνει ό, τι θέλει. Φυσικά, πρέπει να προσέχουν καθημερινά την ευημερία του εξοπλισμού και του λογισμικού τους και σπάνια να τα αποσυνδέουν από την ενέργεια και το Διαδίκτυο. Αυτό θα σήμαινε νομισματική απώλεια.

Ένα άλλο πράγμα: πρέπει δώσε προσοχή στις αγορές και τις ειδήσεις κρυπτογράφησης. Όπως κάθε χρήστης κρυπτογράφησης, για να είμαι ειλικρινής. Αυτός είναι ο μόνος τρόπος για να φροντίσετε το κεφάλαιό σας.

Τι συμβαίνει μέσα στο σύστημα εξόρυξης;

Again, depends on the cryptocurrency. The PoW algorithm comes in different types and with different processes inside. The bottom line? A copy of every transaction ever made rest inside the miner’s hardware (that’s the blockchain). Their equipment and software (the “node”) receive as well the new transactions made all around the world, and the job of this node is to check the operation’s validity by solving the mathematical riddle.

Once it’s checked, the node writes the new transaction on its own copy of the blockchain, λαμβάνει την ανταμοιβή με τη μορφή νέων νομισμάτων και μοιράζεται το αποτέλεσμα με το δίκτυο. Οι άλλοι ανθρακωρύχοι επαναλαμβάνουν αυτήν τη διαδικασία για να καταχωρήσουν τη νέα μεταφορά στα δικά τους αντίγραφα του blockchain, αυξάνοντας έτσι την ασφάλεια του δικτύου.

And that’s it! Cryptocurrency mined successfully.

Not everything it’s crypto-mining around here

Just as you read and you need to know it: not every cryptocurrency works in this way. A lot of them use different algorithms, like Proof of Stake (PoS). In these systems, they don’t have any miners but “validators”: people with large holdings in that specific cryptocurrency, in charge to verify the transactions and mint new coins. Networks όπως ο Κόσμος και το νόμισμά του ATOM λειτουργεί με PoS.

But, well, that’s a story to tell later!


Επαγγελματίας λογοτεχνίας στον κόσμο της κρυπτογράφησης από το 2016. Συγγραφέας, ερευνητής και bitcoiner. Εργασία για έναν καλύτερο κόσμο, με περισσότερη αποκέντρωση και καφέ.

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