Mining is the process of adding transaction records to Bitcoin’s public ledger of past transactions. This ledger of past transactions is called the block chain as it is a chain of blocks. The block chain serves to confirm transactions to the rest of the network as having taken place. Bitcoin nodes use the block chain to distinguish legitimate Bitcoin transactions from attempts to re-spend coins that have already been spent elsewhere.
Mining is intentionally designed to be resource-intensive and difficult so that the number of blocks found each day by miners remains steady. Individual blocks must contain a proof of work to be considered valid. This proof of work is verified by other Bitcoin nodes each time they receive a block. Bitcoin uses the hashcash proof-of-work function.
The primary purpose of mining is to allow Bitcoin nodes to reach a secure, tamper-resistant consensus. Mining is also the mechanism used to introduce Bitcoins into the system: Miners are paid any transaction fees as well as a “subsidy” of newly created coins. This both serves the purpose of disseminating new coins in a decentralized manner as well as motivating people to provide security for the system.
Bitcoin mining is so called because it resembles the mining of other commodities: it requires exertion and it slowly makes new currency available at a rate that resembles the rate at which commodities like gold are mined from the ground.
Step 1 – Get The Best Bitcoin Mining Hardware
Purchasing Bitcoins – Although it’s not yet easy to buy bitcoins, it’s getting simpler every day.
How To Start Bitcoin Mining
To begin mining bitcoins, you’ll need to acquire bitcoin mining hardware. In the early days of bitcoin, it was possible to mine with your computer CPU or high speed video processor card. Today that’s no longer possible. Devices based on custom ASIC chips who’s performance offers up to 100x the capability of older systems have come to dominate the industry.
Bitcoin mining with anything less will consume more in electricity than you are likely to earn. It’s essential to mine bitcoins with the best bitcoin mining hardware built specifically for that purpose. Several companies such as Avalon offer excellent systems built specifically for bitcoin mining.
Step 2 – Download Free Bitcoin Mining Software
Once you’ve received your bitcoin mining hardware, you’ll need to download a special program used for Bitcoin mining. There are many programs out there that can be used for Bitcoin mining, but the two most popular are CGminer and BFGminer which are command line programs.
If you prefer the ease of use that comes with a GUI, you might want to try EasyMiner which is a click and go windows/Linux/Android program.
You may want to learn more detailed information on the best bitcoin mining software.
Step 3 – Join a Bitcoin Mining Pool
Once you’re ready to mine bitcoins then we recommend joining a Bitcoin mining pool like eclipsemc or Eligius. Bitcoin mining pools are groups of Bitcoin miners working together to solve a block and share in it’s rewards. Without a Bitcoin mining pool, you might mine bitcoins for over a year and never earn any bitcoins. It’s far more convenient to share the work and split the reward with a much larger group of Bitcoin miners.
For a full list comparing all Bitcoin mining pools.
Step 4 – Set Up A Bitcoin Wallet
The next step to mining bitcoins is to set up a Bitcoin wallet or use your existing Bitcoin wallet to receive the Bitcoins you mine. A Bitcoin wallet is like a traditional wallet and can be software, mobile, web-based. Bitcoin hardware wallets are also available.
Bitcoins are sent to your Bitcoin wallet by using a unique address that only belongs to you. The most important step in setting up your Bitcoin wallet is securing it from potential threats by enabling two-factor authentication or keeping it on an offline computer that doesn’t have access to the Internet. Wallets can be obtained by downloading a software client to your computer.
For help in choosing a Bitcoin wallet then you can get started here.