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02 March 2018

Introduction to Bitcoin Mining


Bitcoin is unlike anything the world has seen before. By providing fast, inexpensive, international money transfer, it has the potential to revolutionize both the modern day concept of money and commerce. Bitcoin started as a free software project and a paper published by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Nakamoto, who seems to have been created specifically to deliver Bitcoin to this world, designed a system of online value transfer that supports a promising Internet currency.


Bitcoin is made possible by a combination of software and network technologies. A program called the Bitcoin client simultaneously manages and helps you spend bitcoins. This program maintains a long ledger called the blockchain that holds every transaction confirmed by the Bitcoin network.


The Bitcoin network, consisting of thousands of machines running the Bitcoin software, has two main tasks to accomplish. One is relaying transaction information and the second is verifying those transactions to ensure the same bitcoins cannot be spent twice.


The first task is accomplished easily due to the fact that the Bitcoin network is operated as a peer-to-peer network. After all, sharing data is easy. By operating on many nodes across the globe, the network ensures it will operate as long as it provides a useful service.


The second task is a bit more complicated and is solved through what I consider to be Bitcoin's key innovation. This development, a process called mining, is carried out by computers running mining software.


The rest of this handbook will cover the reasons for mining, the hardware and software you will use, mining alone as well as in pools, optimizing techniques, and will finish with information on safely using and storing bitcoins.


Why Start Mining?


Reasons to mine are numerous and varied. Your reasons may change over time as you learn about Bitcoin and follow its progress. It is helpful to understand others' motivations to be able to trust the Bitcoin network and the currency it supports.


Many people get started mining by a natural extension of  something else they are already doing. For example, Bitcoin mining is similar to other grid computing projects that have grown because they are fun and provide an opportunity to cooperate with others in solving a big problem.


In the case of Folding@Home, a distributed-computing project focused on studying protein folding, users contribute their computer processing power to increase scientists ability to understand how proteins fold. Donors and teams compete and cooperate to see who can help the project the most. By mining bitcoins, you help to solve the problem of creating a currency and payment network that does not rely on a central issuing authority.


Those who are involved in technology are used to constant innovation and realize it is important to stay informed as new technologies emerge. Bitcoin is a new combination of several novel


technologies(cryptography, peer-to-peer networks, distributed databases) and some users mine bitcoins to help build experience with these technologies.


Since Bitcoin functions as a currency and mining can be operated as a business process, a large number of miners do it for profit. It is a tough business however because Bitcoin prices can fluctuate fairly widely and investment costs for a mining business can easily be in the tens of thousands of dollars. If you can operate efficiently, you may want to attempt to mine for profit but be sure to do your homework before making any big purchases.


Mining is a way to get bitcoins and this appeals to those who might want to obtain bitcoins steadily without using services such as exchanges or by selling any good they produce or service they perform as a profession.


Another motivation may be for anonymity. If you solve a block and are careful to connect to the Bitcoin network using Tor (The Onion Router), mining is a way to obtain bitcoins completely anonymously.


In addition to being a payment network, Bitcoin is a software project and there are many software projects that depend on the Bitcoin network for their own success. If your project depends on Bitcoin,


you may want to contribute some hashing power to the network to increase, even in some small way, the chance of success.


There are probably more reasons still but the final reason we'll list here to mine bitcoins is if you depend on the Bitcoin network for international commerce and wish to see it as strong as possible.


What Is Mining?


Bitcoin is really three things. First it is a protocol (or set of rules) that defines how the network should operate. Second it is a software project that implements that protocol. Third it is a network of computers and devices running software that uses to protocol to create and manage the Bitcoin currency.


Mining is defined in the protocol, implemented in software, and is an essential function in managing the Bitcoin network. Mining verifies transactions, prevents double-spending, collects transaction fees and creates the money supply. Mining also protects the network by piling tons of processing power on top of past transactions.


Mining verifies transactions by evaluating them against the transactions that happened before. Transactions cannot spend bitcoins that do not exist or that were spent before. They must send bitcoins to valid addresses and adhere to every rule defined by the protocol.


With a frequency that is targeted at every 10 minutes, mining creates new blocks from the latest transactions and produces the amount of bitcoins defined by the current block reward (50 BTC until late 2012). Miners also verify blocks produced by other miners to allow the entire network to continue building on the blockchain.


Finding Valid Blocks


To find a valid block, the miner builds a list of recent transactions and calculates some summary information about the proposed block. This summary is combined with a number called a nonce to create a block header. The hash of the block header is then calculated and to see if it is small enough to win at the current difficulty. If not, the nonce is changed and the new hash is calculated and tested.


There is no way to create a valid block except by a brute force search. Brute force means the miner tries one nonce, then another, and another, repeating the process until it gets lucky. During that search, the miner cannot predict if the next nonce will give a smaller hash than the last.


Since it is a brute force process, the only way to increase your chances of winning are to increase the speed with which you can try nonces. The more processing power you have at your disposal, the faster you can search and the more likely you will be to find a winning block.


Once a valid block has been generated, it is broadcast to the network and quickly verified by the other nodes in the network. The difficulty of finding a winning number is adjusted every 2016 blocks so blocks are generated on average, every 10 minutes.


Creating New Bitcoins


When a miner finds a new block, it includes a new address to which new bitcoins and any transaction fees are to be awarded. This reward is the monetary incentive for people like you and me to run miners. If the conditions are right, you can put mining hardware to work, paying for your time and electricity and make a profit by selling the resulting bitcoins that you were awarded.


As this guide is being written, 50 bitcoins are awarded to the miner who finds each block. This will continue until block 210,000 is found at which time the block reward will halve to 25 bitcoins. The reward will then halve again every 210,000 blocks thereafter. This means the number of Bitcoins ever created will top out at around 21 million (estimated to occur in near 2040).


Where do these bitcoins come from? They are literally created by the network as part of the Bitcoin protocol. This is the same process that created any bitcoins you will ever own or use.


Mining Hardware


Above, I used the term miner to describe a person who sets up mining computers, the computer hardware doing the mining, or the software that executes the logic required in mining. Hardware is the focus of this section.


As you know, some computers are faster than others. Computers can have faster or slower processors, more or less RAM, bigger and smaller hard drives, and so on. It is also true that some types of processor are better at mining than others. Since the testing of nonces is a very repetitive task, computer hardware that does repetitive things quickly works best for mining.


What is commonly referred to as the processor in a computer (the CPU) is a processor that is very good at switching tasks. Its parts are arranged in a way that helps the computer switch from playing video to messaging someone or showing a PDF. The CPU is optimized for task switching since that is how it spends most of its time.


On the other hand, a computer's GPU (graphics processing unit) is called upon to do simple operations, like draw a triangle, or shade a pixel, as many times per second as possible. It is internally


arranged for this purpose which makes it much faster and more efficient for Bitcoin mining. In fact, we find that common video cards can out-perform common CPUs by 100x or more. Since you are competing with other miners, mining with anything less powerful than the top 10 or 20 video cards is quite inefficient.


The most recent development in Bitcoin mining is another processor called the FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array). An FPGA is simply a highly programmable processor. FPGAs tend to be more expensive than CPUs and GPUs but they are also quite efficient in their use of electricity. Miners who are looking to operate where electricty is more expensive can invest more money up front to buy an FPGA miner and then pay less in ongoing electricity costs.


Mining Software


If you're mining with a GPU, you will need software to direct the hardware to mine Bitcoins. Software is available for Windows, Mac, and GNU/Linux. Much of this software is free and open source software that you can download and setup yourself or with a little help from someone online.


Once you have the software running, it will tell you how quickly it is mining. This is a number denoted in hashes per second with common speeds today in the mega-hashes or giga-hashes per second. A hash is a step toward testing a nonce and mega and giga mean million and billion respectively.


The goal is to get as many hashes completed by your hardware as possible per unit time. The best software for your hardware will help you do that. Good software gives a good hash rate but is also stable, meaning mining doesn't stop because of a glitch in the software.


After you've chosen mining software, there may also be specific settings you will use when you start the miner. These settings, which vary too much from machine to machine to list here, will help to obtain maximum performance from your miner. You can find


settings for your GPU on the bitcoin wiki and forums.


Running your miner


When you're ready to mine, you'll start your miner. This may involve starting the same program multiple times if you have multiple GPUs or you may choose to use software that runs as a Live CD or Live USB boot disk that will take over the entire computer and manage the mining for you.


You'll want to check on your miner from time to time to be sure it is running and getting a good hash rate. This especially the case if you've done some of the more exotic tweaks to maximize your hashes per second. There are mobile apps and websites that can help you stay updated as to the status of your miner.


When you win a block(we'll get to mining pools soon), your bitcoin balance will increase by the amount of the block reward plus the transaction fees that were paid with any included transactions.


Running Multiple Miners


If you are inclined to invest more hardware and resources into mining bitcoins, is is possible to connect multiple miners together on a network. To do this, you'll need some basic network equipment like a router and a computer to run bitcoind (the bitcoin daemon).

You'll need to setup a user and password so the miners can all talk to the running instance of bitcoind. When a block is found by one of your miners, your bitcoind will contain the wallet with the key that signs the block and claims the block reward and fees.



Running multiple miners has power and heat implications that you'll want to consider. A high-end mining computer can use as much power as a toaster, iron or vacuum cleaner so if a circuit breaker trips you'll want to re-evaluate how your power is distributed on your wiring.


In regards to generated heat, this may be a nice byproduct on a cold winter night but on a hot day you'll want to have a way to remove heat from your space.




Computer processors have a speed at which they run called the clock speed. For modern processors this is stated in gigahertz. After a processor is manufactured it is tested to see how fast of a clock speed it can reliably support. Chips that are not stable at higher clock speeds are sold as lower speed models. Adventurous computer users have, for many years, been squeezing out more power from their processors by increasing the clock speed - a technique called overclocking.


GPUs generally have a software tool that is used to change the clock speed of the processor as desired. GPUs also have a RAM clock speed that can be adjusted.


As we said before the goal is to get as many hashes calculated as possible per unit time. We want to get a high hashrate but we also want stability. The problem with overclocking is that there is a limit to how much you can overclock your GPU without causing your miner to lock up or freeze. When locked up or frozen, the hash rate will drop to 0 or, in the case of a multi-GPU setup, a fraction of what it would be normally.


You'll need to experiment with your hardware to find out what gives the best, most consistent clock rate.


In regards to GPU RAM clock speed, this is often reduced in order to save electricity and help video cards run cooler at a given clock speed and resulting hash rate.


Solo Mining


Mining is a chance endeavor and the probability of winning a block within a given period of time can be calculated. Unfortunately for many systems, the time required to have a good chance at mining a block can be in the months or years.


If you have several machines running at high hash rates, you will find blocks more often and may be able to absorb the variation in the rate at which blocks are mined. On the other hand if you're running with a lower hash rate and can stand running longer in hopes of getting lucky, solo mining can still make sense. If you would prefer more certainty and evenness of payouts, you will want to mine in a pool which will be covered in the next section.


Pooled Mining


Winning a block will most likely be quite infrequent so mining pools were created as a way to even out the rewards. Those who join a mining pool cooperate to mine blocks as a group and when a block is solved by one of the members, the rewards are shared.


The amount going to each contributor takes into account their hashrate and time mining for the pool. Mining pool operators may take a percentage of the Bitcoins as payment for creating and running the pool. There are many pools to choose from and mining clients can be easily switched from one pool to another.


It is a good idea to join at least two pools in case the first one becomes unavailable for some period of time. Without a backup pool, your hashrate will effectively drop to zero until your pool becomes available again.


Managing Your Bitcoins


Whether you're mining solo or as part of a pool, with one computer or with many, eventually you will have some bitcoins. Once you get them it is important to handle them properly. Let's go over the wallet and how your Bitcoins are stored in practice.


When you run a Bitcoin client for the first time, it creates a Bitcoin wallet. The wallet contains your private keys, made of long blocks of random letters and numbers, that are meant to be kept secret.

These keys are what allows your Bitcoin client to spend and, you to effectively own, your bitcoins.


From each private key, a public key and corresponding Bitcoin address are created. When someone sends you some bitcoins, their Bitcoin client uses their private key to sign the bitcoins over to one of your addresses. This transaction is broadcast to the bitcoin network and later recorded in a block.


The important point to know here is that bitcoins aren't actually sent anywhere. They are instead assigned to addresses. To send bitcoins to yet another address the private key of the address that owns them will be required. This means you need to secure and backup your wallet to protect it against theft, virus attack, or loss


due to hard drive failure or natural disaster.


The simplest way to backup your wallet is to use the backup feature of your Bitcoin program. If no such facility exists or you would like an additional backkup, find your Bitcoin configuration folder and make a full backup of it. Be sure to have turned off your Bitcoin program however before making this copy.


Place this backup on one or more flash drives or CDs and put those somewhere safe. Depending on the number of Bitcoins you have, you may want to keep your backups in a safe or safe deposit box until they need to be used.


In regards to backup, it is a good idea to test the backup on another secure system. It is said that you do backup but what you really want is restore. So test your backups. Just be sure to test it on another system because some people have lost bitcoins by restoring a backup over a wallet that had private keys that were not in the backup.


Next is protection from online threats. This means keeping the wallet either offline or on a computer that is disconnected from the internet. If you'd like to have reasonable yet secure access to your Bitcoin wallet you can use a live CD with your computer to access


and manipulate your bitcoins. The live CD would include all the software needed to handle bitcoins.


If you're going to be placing your backups where other people may be able to access them, you can use encryption. Once encrypted, a potential thief would need your password to be able to access the wallet file and steal your bitcoins. As an example, and there are many, a program like Truecrypt provides a simple way to encrypt one or more files on any drive or computer you wish. The latest version of the Bitcoin program from also includes wallet encryption.


Using Bitcoins


Bitcoins are money and can be used as such. You can send them to friends to settle small debts. You can sell something or work for bitcoins. You can also buy products and services online with them. Currently there are hundreds of business that accept Bitcoin online and around the globe.


For business that only accept dollars, Euros, yen and other national currencies you will need to exchange your bitcoins. This can be done on one of the many online Bitcoin exchanges or by finding someone local who will to buy them from you.


To sell bitcoins on an exchange you would create an account with the exchange, send them your Bitcoins and place an order to sell. Then when a corresponding buy order appears, your bitcoins will be traded for the currency you prefer. Then you'll need to get your money sent to you via a money transfer method that is compatible with Bitcoin.


One very important feature of Bitcoin is irreversibility. Once bitcoins are sent to an address, there is virtually no way to reverse the transaction. I hesitate to even say virtually because doing so requires either extremely fast timing or government-sized mining


power. No credit card company or bank can get them back. The mathematics behind Bitcoin are very strong.


Bitcoin is therefore incompatible with financial services that allow payments to be disputed or "charged back". Notable examples include PayPal, credit card, check, and ACH. In the economy that grows around Bitcoin, refunds will need to be performed by the receiver of the funds and buyers will be wise to use escrow services with vendors they do not trust.


At this time there isn't much in the way of Bitcoin portfolio tracking or Bitcoin-based accounting software. It is wise however until something good comes along, to save records of all your transactions. You will want to know how many bitcoins you have, how you got them, and in which wallets they are stored.


Bitcoin is a new Internet currency that anyone can get started mining. There are a number of reasons you might mine: for profit, to help secure the network, to help found a new Internet currency, or just to gain technical experience. Hopefully Introduction to Bitcoin Mining has proved informative and helps you get started mining!


Building and Monitoring Your Own Cryptocurrency Mining Farm


If you have not only been wanting to learn more about blockchain and cryptocurrencies but want to learn how to build your own cypto-mining rig to mine a cryptonote like Ether (Ethereum), then this detailed tutorial series is one you will want to check out. From sourcing the hardware and assembling a mining rig to installing the software and monitoring performance, each article provides a detailed look at every aspect of implementing your own crypto-mining farm.


Introduction: Monitoring a Crypto Mining Farm with IoT Concepts


Brief Blockchain Primer

Blockchain technology has had some amazing and compelling innovations since late 2008 with Satoshi Nakamoto’s (pseudonym) first introduction of the Bitcoin blockchain concept. The idea of taking a hash of data plus the previous hash of previous data to create a chain is a powerful, yet simple concept. Introduce mechanisms like distributed, peer-to-peer networking, a necessarily compute-intensive proof-of-work concept for network security and validity and a unit of value (cryptonote/coin) and now you have what Bitcoin first embodied: an open, decentralized, immutable ledger of value-based transactions.

Now, this post isn’t about Bitcoin the protocol or BTC the currency built on top of it, but rather the process of mining or performing the work part of proof-of-work. All currently mainstream, fully distributed blockchains have some proof-of-work algorithm that is often referred to (in a metaphoric sense) as miningthat enforces a consensus model. Similar to mining for precious metals, the technical mining process is performing some kind of compute work that, because of mathematical principals, results in mostly futile output (like ore) and occasional successful solutions (like gold). These successful solutions serve as proofs or points of validation that the data in the block can be accepted as valid and can easily be revalidated. The hash of this data is then included as part of the next block in the blockchain. The protocols that govern a blockchain also assign a value for performing the work to generate these blocks in the form of cryptocurrency awards and any included transaction fees (or additional gas for Ethereum). The coins that makeup the rewards are finite and the distribution controlled by a truly democratic decentralized algorithm. These coins (also called tokens) are also required to perform transactions to be validated and included in the blockchain or to process dApps (distributed applications) on the Ethereum network (through paying for gas). The requirement of these units to transact as well as their finite nature help enforce their value. Because this work is necessarily hard, being efficient at it is very important and directly related to the economics of mining operations.

Ethereum is an alternative blockchain that enhances the original bitcoin design by introducing some compelling new implementations like distributed computing of applications as opposed to just computing value-based transactions or contracts. Ethereum’s unit of value is a cryptocurrency called Ether, or ETH. One of the many blockchain challenges Ethereum attempts to address is better democratization or consumerization of mining hardware. Conversely, the hashing algorithms used in performing the mining work for bitcoin allowed mining to start on CPUs where it then quickly migrated to GPUs, then FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays) and soon after custom ASICs (application specific integrated circuit). The reason for this migration was an ongoing attempt to increase the number of hashes that can be calculated per second (hashrate) thereby increasing the likelihood of computing a successful block challenge before anyone else in the network to get the full reward. The nature of racing towards a reward is fundamental to the distributed, immutable nature of bitcoin. The higher the overall network hashrate the harder a network takeover would be. It’s a sort of computing free-market capitalism. Therefore, everyone has an equal incentive to optimize mining hardware (and, equal incentive to create malicious forks). This is one of the criticisms of Bitcoin: that it moved from non-specialized consumer hardware to specialized hardware too quickly thereby centralizing the mining efforts to the few technical enough or wealthy enough to build, purchase or operate the hardware and likewise potentially compromising the networks overall compute-enforced validity.

Why is overly-specialized hardware a problem? The same reason monopolies are a problem. If the hashing algorithms can be optimized by introducing specialized hardware that requires intensive capital and expertise to build the barrier to entry is too high; it becomes centralized and de-democratized. So, it’s important to make the work achievable by non-specialized hardware to democratize the mining process and ensure as even a distribution as possible for maintaining network consistency and validity.

As an aside, Ethereum also helps address the malicious fork issue by rewarding solutions that are correct, but not fully accepted (and therefore would be the first block in a fork in the chain); these blocks are also referred to as uncles.


Blockchain Mining Farm

I’m going to spend the next few posts discussing the building and scale out successes and challenges of a blockchain mining farm specifically for GPU-effective mining chains like Ethereum, Monero, Zcash and others. What I hope you’ll discover through this series of posts is how incredibly powerful treating a mining farm like any other IoT or cloud network can be in optimizing the economics of mining operations.


Building a GPU mining rig


This is the first post in a series of posts about blockchain mining, economics, IoT and more. This post will focus specifically on the mechanics of building a GPU mining rig optimized for mining blocks on blockchains that are optimized for GPU calculations.


So what exactly is a GPU mining rig?

A mining rig is a continuation of the mining metaphor to describe nothing more than a computer that’s sole purpose is to send work to and receive work from GPUs. Because it’s just a computer, it requires typical computer components like: - a motherboard to connect all the I/O together - a CPU to handle the central processing and task divvying - on-board application memory - a power supply - a persistence store (SSD) to hold the operating system

Ultimately, a computer needs no other parts. The parts that make this computer more than a simply custom-built desktop are the number of GPUs. Typical gaming computers will have two, for lack of a better term, load balanced GPUs that will do all of the calculations responsible for rendering graphics on a 2D monitor or in a VR headset. GPUs have their own set of computer power and memory separate from what’s running your operating system. GPUs interface with the rest of a computer system through I/O like PCIe connections. The only thing you really need to know about PCIe for this purpose is that it comes in different sizes which dictate how many I/O communication lanes it has to the rest of the computer system. For a video game, it’s essential to have as many parallel lanes as possible to maximize the graphics input and output from the GPUs and the CPU. However, for mining applications, the GPUs are doing all the work, and the interface with the rest of the computer system is simple and low bandwidth. Why does this matter? because PCIe x1 is the minimum interface lane you need to run 1 GPU which typically has a plug interface that expects a PCIe x16 slot. Here in-lies one of the only real “custom” hardware components of a GPU mining rig: the GPU riser.


What is a GPU Riser?

It’s simply an extension of a PCIe interface. First, understand that all PCIe x16 slots can take a PCIe x1 plug. It just uses the first lane of the 16 available. Most off-the-shelf motherboards that are full ATX size will contain 2 PCIe x16 slots and then a myriad of PCIe x1 slots for other peripherals. We’ll use GPU risers to plug the PCIe x1 plug into all available PCIe slots on a motherboard and the interface that it will extend for the graphics card is a x16 form factor slot for the GPU to plug in to. The other benefit here is that GPU risers allow us to move GPUs physically away from the motherboard for solving other physics issues like spacial constraints, heat, and extra power.


Ok, I understand the concept. What do I need to build one?

Here is a simple list I’ve compiled of what (in my opinion) are some of the best components for building stable, effective, scalable mining operations.


First, the BOM (bill of materials, all links are to

Motherboard: GA-990FXA-UD3


Memory: Kingston HyperX FURY 4GB 1600MHz DDR3

Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 1300 G2

GPU Risers (purchase 6 or 8 to have spares): Custom Built

GPUs (purchase 6 for max stable capacity): RX 480 or RX 580

Power Button: It looks a bit cheesy, but in person, it’s actually really awesome. A luxury, but worth it

Rig case (optional): makes the best one I’ve tested

SSD w/ ethOS: ethOS 32GB SSD


Alright, so here are some notes on the hardware links I’ve provided. First, I’ve tested LOTS of different combinations of hardware and processor/on-board chip architectures and the ones I’ve linked have been the most stable. I highly recommend mining with AMD GPUs like I’ve linked. I linked both RX 480s and RX 580s. The RX 580s have just come out as of writing this post. I haven’t done a bunch of testing with them yet See Footnote1, but I do have one rig with 6 of these. The RX 480s have been incredibly stable and I’ve had great hashing-to-power performance with them. The RX 580s aren’t very different than the 480 architecture, but they do may consume slightly less energy, which also means less heat. Both equate to higher profitability. That said, you may be able to get RX 480s for better prices now that 580s have officially launched. It’s also worth noting that I run a combination of 4GB and 8GB graphics cards. Currently, Ethereum has a concept called the DAG. The DAG size is a growing memory-hard problem for Ethereum. The current size of the DAG as of this writing exceeds 3GB and is therefore not very efficient on sub-4GB graphics cards. Additionally, it’s well noted in the interwebs that we’re soon approaching the end-of-life capability of 4GB graphics cards for mining Ether. Now, that said, I’ve had no problems with my 4GB cards and they’re slightly less expensive. Additionally, the mining rigs we’re building with this equipment is multi-currency capable. So, while I’m focusing this post on Ethereum, I’ve had great success mining Monero as well, which has different memory constraints.


Additionally, you can definitely get a cheaper CPU and DDR3 memory than I run, but I’ve had very good luck with what I have and it’s capable of doing more than mere mining, which is the whole point of consumer hardware: Don’t over-specialize.

o, like I mentioned earlier, you do need an OS to run your mining applications and interface with the GPUs. Windows is actually quite good at this and many people have success running Windows mining rigs. However, I can’t say enough good things about ethOS. It’s the best mining-specific operating system I’ve ever seen. It has a vibrant community and continually improves with an active developer team. It is not a free OS, it is does require a license, but the license is very inexpensive compared to the returns on the mining equipment and worth spending to avoid the headaches of trying to stabilize a rig or learn all the lessons ethOS has built into it’s OS by yourself. Additionally, ethosdistro provides a nicely consumable JSON HTTP API that we’ll consume later as we build a monitoring process with Initial State.

Last point here is that ethOS can run on a small SSD and gpushack provides an SSD of the perfect size with ethOS pre-installed ready to go for $39. I’ll re-iterate again, it’s worth it.


What is Initial State?

Initial State is a hosted data visualization and analytics platform offered as a service to its customers. Signing up is super easy, and for a very reasonable fee, you can use it to capture all of the data produced by a farm of rigs for visualizations, triggers and analytics all in real-time.


What is Coinbase?

Coinbase is a hosted wallet service provider. Cryptocurrencies are stored with wallets to enable a bearer concept. This bearer concept is an important and distinct function of blockchain cryptocurrencies. Bearer tokens take care of the spend-ability of currency, ensuring that currency isn’t double-spent or overspent. Coinbase provides most secure (included in this definition is convenience) way to store and access your cryptocurrency wallets. Wallets have two addresses, the public address that goes on to the blockchain, and the private address that’s used to sign transactions. The public address can be used as the address to send coins to as well as the verification mechanism to ensure that coins could be spent. Keeping your private key private is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you could do, so choosing a wallet provider is an important consideration and Coinbase is certainly the best at the time of writing in my opinion.

Note: If you don’t have a Coinbase account, make sure you sign up using this link. Once you’ve done $100 of transactions on your account, you’ll receive $10 worth of BTC to your BTC Wallet just for following the referral link.


Is this all the equipment I need?

Practically, yes. You may need to pick up a keyboard and portable monitor if you don’t have one, but you don’t have to. You can use some spares or even set things up remotely. It’s up to you and your comfort level. While building and scaling, I purchased these products to aid and I share them with all my different rigs:

Portable Display: Similar to this GeChic

Keyboard: Amazon Basics Keyboard or Amazon Basics Keyboard + Mouse

You’ll also find that there is some additional infrastructure equipment you’ll need as you scale your operation up should you choose. But, like I said, you can get by with the first BOM list above.

I’ve now fully launched and tested RX 580s manufactured by MSI and I cannot say that I recommend them. I get way better performance and efficiency from RX 480s currently.


The Ultimate Mining Farm Dashboard

Initial State is a market leader in providing visual analytics tools for understanding time-series data. Initial State’s tools lend themselves naturally as fits for the IoT use-case where you have some distribution of Internet connected sensors that send data somewhere - or at least have the ability. Common issues in distributed IoT devices arise when attempting to view data produced by these devices for a monitoring, debugging or optimizing use-case. Whether these devices are monitoring physical or virtual properties the challenges remain the same: a need to securely see/analyze data without interfering with a device’s functionality or inadvertently altering its risk landscape by opening up ingress access.

These challenges sound very similar to the challenges of monitoring mining rigs. Ultimately, we need the ability to understand the performance and conditions of the GPUs, rigs, and general farm economics. This runs the gamut of requirements from a BI dashboard all the way to a logic analyzer. Fortunately, Initial State is well suited to solve these challenges and at a price tag that creates a ton of return value to the mining operation.


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