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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. De cryptomining is het wiskundige proces dat een gedecentraliseerde blockchain kan gebruiken om zijn transacties te verifiëren en tegelijkertijd nieuwe munten te slaan. Don’t forget it!

Wie kan een cryptocurrency-mijnwerker zijn?

Anyone… with patience and some basic informatics and cryptocurrency knowledge. Do you know how to use Google Chrome, wat is een digitale valuta? 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.

Wat heb ik nodig om mijnwerker te worden?

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.

In elk geval, dit zijn veelvoorkomende ingrediënten: elektriciteit, krachtige hardware en een zeer stabiele internetverbinding. 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.

Op dit punt, 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.

Aan de andere kant hebben we cryptocurrencies zoals 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.

Wat doet een mijnwerker op een gemiddelde dag?

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.

Op een gemiddelde dag kan een crypto-mijnwerker overal heen gaan waar hij wil, om te doen wat hij wil. Natuurlijk moeten ze dagelijks aandacht besteden aan het welzijn van hun apparatuur en software en ze zelden loskoppelen van energie en internet. Dat zou geldverlies betekenen.

Nog iets: ze moeten Let op naar de cryptocurrency-markten en nieuws. Zoals elke cryptocurrency-gebruiker, om eerlijk te zijn. Dit is de enige manier om voor uw kapitaal te zorgen.

Wat gebeurt er in het mijnsysteem?

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, ontvangt de beloning in de vorm van nieuwe munten en deelt het resultaat met het netwerk. De andere miners herhalen dit proces om de nieuwe overdracht in hun eigen kopieën van de blockchain te registreren, waardoor de beveiliging van het netwerk wordt verhoogd.

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 zoals Cosmos en zijn valuta ATOM werken met PoS.

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

Auteur

Literatuurprofessional in de cryptowereld sinds 2016. Schrijver, onderzoeker en bitcoiner. Werken aan een betere wereld, met meer decentralisatie en koffie.

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