How to Mine Cryptocurrency in 2021: Beginner’s Guide

How to Mine Cryptocurrency in 2021: Beginner’s Guide

Tutorial By Olin Coles

Cryptocurrency mining can be a lucrative opportunity for people to earn money by using an idle gaming computer while to work while they sleep. This activity has become popular, again, because Bitcoin has just reached a new high of $50,000 USD. In this tutorial guide, I share the steps needed to quickly configure a gaming PC to begin mining one of the favored cryptocurrencies.

Step 1:

Own a computer with graphics card designed for gaming: NVIDIA RTX 3000 series video cards are best, followed by RTX 2000 series. The hardware should be well cooled, as the video card’s GPU will be operating at 100% utilization to mine cryptocurrency. While this does remove the ability to play most video games, you can still use the system for web browsing or using productivity applications. It will respond normally, in spite of near-full graphics utilization.

DO NOT mine on a computer owned by an employer or other institution, as this can lead to termination or expulsion.

Step 2:

Select a mining pool: Flexpool is the largest Ethereum pool in North America, with a very small 1% developer fee and excellent user interface. The pool will supply mining client software with fresh hashing jobs for the GPU to process. While Bitcoin is presently the most valuable cryptocurrency exchanged, Ethereum trails closely behind and is very efficient to hash for profit.

Step 3:

Download the mining software. PhoenixMiner is among the fastest Ethash mining clients for modern AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards, however with several dozens of other mining solutions available, your choices are abundant. Note that most crypto miners may trigger malware warnings from browsers and virus scanners – so use with caution.

Step 4:

Purchase a hardware wallet, or create an online account: Gemini and Coinbase are cryptocurrency exchanges and software wallets with referral benefits and reasonable transaction fees. You will need a crypto wallet to deposit the Ethereum received from mining, and use their exchange for selling that reward for money. This step can be completed after you begin mining, if time is of the essence. Note that a valid US driver’s license or passport is required, and a bank account must be attached using Plaid.

Configure PhoenixMiner:

After you download and extract PhoenixMiner_5.5c_Windows.zip to a location on your computer, there are a few steps necessary to actually begin the process of hashing towards a reward. The fastest method is to customize the command line batch file named start_miner.bat in a text editor. PhoenixMiner.exe will check for a separate config.txt file, but those same settings can be configured within this batch file (customizable user variables in blue):

PhoenixMiner.exe -pool eth-us-west.flexpool.io:4444 -wal 0xab1Ec46D42FdD65Acc -worker 2080TI

-pool is the pool ID you select from Flexpool, based on your region. Mine is for Western USA.
-wal is your crypto wallet deposit address, generated by Gemini (Transfer > Deposit > set currency to ETH).
-worker is the name you give this worker computer. Mine represents the video card used for mining.

In full disclosure, I do have other specific options added for the benefit of squeezing out every bit of performance, but you should read the Readme.txt file for a complete list of commands and options. Mine includes:

-mi 14            Sets the mining intensity (0 to 14; 12 is the default)

Ready, Set, Mine!

Once the batch file has been configured with your unique settings, you begin by executing the start_miner.bat file in Windows. I made a shortcut to this file, and gave it a memorable desktop icon. Here is what it looks like, running:

PhoenixMiner Flexpool Ethereum Cryptocurrency

Progress can be monitored at Flexpool with this URL: https://flexpool.io/<crypto wallet deposit address>

Tools & Resources

While this guide covers the bare essentials needed to mine cryptocurrency, there are plenty of details I have glossed over for the sake of keeping this article concise. Many questions and concerns have been addressed at Reddit, by the community at r/EtherMining. Here you will find discussion on profitability, tax consequences, and troubleshooting.

Here is a sample of what the Reddit EtherMining Wiki offers: