If you've been following our previous discussions about Bitcoin Mining, you'll find out we've discussed things you need to mine bitcoins and Working effective ways to mine Bitcoins. Here is the concluding part.
Pick a Bitcoin mining pool
The next stage is to sign up to a pool; you can solo mine, but you need some serious hardware to make it worthwhile. You can find a list of pools on the Bitcoin wiki.
We'll walk you through the process of signing up for Slush's Pool because it's one we've used a lot, but the same procedure can be used for any of the major pools.
Head over to the Slush Pool website and click on ‘Sign up here' at the top-right. On the registration page choose a username, then enter your email address and password. The Slush Pool website will send you a confirmation email. Click the link to validate your email address. You'll see that a ‘worker' has been created for you, so you can begin mining. Although it's not compulsory, you should ideally have one worker per device. Visit https://slushpool.com/workers/ at any time to view and create workers.
You need to tell your mining pool where and when to send the funds from your mining exploits. On the Slush Pool website you can do this by clicking ‘Settings' at the top-right, then click ‘Bitcoin' on the left. Choose ‘Payouts' then click the ‘New Wallet' button. Paste in your public address for Bitcoin payouts here. If you're using a paper wallet this should be clearly marked. In Electrum you can view your current receiving address by clicking on the ‘Receive' tab. Click ‘Submit' when you're done.
Some miners also allow you to choose the payout threshold – in other words, how many BTC you need to have mined before the Pool sends funds to your wallet. This is important as while it's risky to leave large amounts of BTC in an online wallet, transaction fees for sending BTC across the network are currently very high, so you could end up paying a lot for multiple smaller payments. Choose freely and wisely.
Mining pools are a popular target for hackers for obvious reasons. To make sure no one can potentially pilfer your Bitcoins, first check that your pool uses SSL. This means your connection is secure – in most web browsers you'll see a padlock icon (in the address bar) if this is the case.
Certain mining pools such as Slush Pool also allow you to secure access to your account by using two-factor authentication. This introduces a second step for a successful login and is, therefore, another hurdle to prevent hackers from breaking into your account. In order to use this, you'll need access to a mobile device and an app such as Google Authenticator or FreeOTP.
Grab Bitcoin mining software
Now you need to download the mining software to your PC. You have a few options here, but to get started we'd recommend using GUIMiner, if only because it has such a straightforward interface.
It comes as a self-extracting archive and runs straight from the folder to which it's extracted.
Launch GUIMiner and select ‘Slush's pool' from the Server menu. Type in the name of the work that was created when you registered your account – it'll be [username].worker1 – and enter the password for the worker.
Select your graphics card from the Device menu and then hit the ‘Start mining' button to get going.
View your progress
GUIMiner will now communicate with the servers to get shares for your machine to work with. You'll see your hash rate at the bottom right and the current state of your work in the bottom bar.
You can also see the console (useful if you have connection problems) or a summary page (great if you've got multiple cards) via the View menu.
I hoped that the explanations above are clear to you. If not, feel free to ask me questions through the comment box.
Also, watch out for the concluding part of this topic. It will be dropped very soon!