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Best Ethereum Mining Software 2019

  • Alex Morris
    📚 WikiCoin

    Whether 2019 is going to be the last hurrah or another breakthrough for Ethereum mining, it is vital to know how to pick suitable mining software. On our list, you will find code-based clients for users with programming skills who like flexibility as well as super-simple miners with auto-configuration that will be just the right choice for those who are making the first foray into crypto mining.  


Best Ethereum Mining Software 2019
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Ethereum, the ultimate ‘it-currency’ of 2017, had a truly brutal year. On Dec. 7, its price tanked to $80, thus recording a jaw-dropping 94 drop from its January ATH of $1,349. The crypto rout forced many miners out of the market, but there’s a silver lining – decreasing mining difficulty. Hence, we wouldn’t recommend writing off Ether for the time being, given that it still remains one of the most profitable cryptocurrencies for long-term mining.

Ethereum mining difficulty

In this article, U.Today will have a look at the most popular mining software clients for Ethereum mining to determine which one will be the best choice for you.   


Preliminary steps

Before we get down to our list of the best Ethereum mining software, here’s a small guide on how to install any mining software:

  1. Make sure you’ve installed drivers for your GPU (they can be downloaded on the manufacturer’s website).

  2. Download the Blockchain data for synchronization.    

  3. Connect your node to the whole network with the help of a chosen client.

NB! Once you’ve done all these steps, you can also create your own dApps and smart contracts apart from mining Ether.

Claymore

Claymore is a top-of-mind option given its ‘ubiquitous’ status with Ethereum miners, which gives its users the possibility to simultaneously mine Ether along with other coins. However, one has to take into consideration the fact that 2018, which marked the rise of ASIC monopoly, put a final nail in the coffin to double mining, thus making Claymore’s most salient feature obsolete.

Claymore

However, keep in mind that Claymore is more than a run-of-the-mill mining client – it also performs the role of a remote manager and gives users an ability to set clocks/voltages, etc.   

Phoenix Miner

Phoenix is another option for those who are looking for a Claymore alternative. Notably, it offers much lower dev fees (you can remove the fee altogether if you have the wits to complete the client yourself). Unlike Claymore, they didn’t add dual mining but this feature barely has any value of now. Redditors who compared both of the miners also point out that Phoenix has a higher level of stability. Furthermore, some users point out that Claymore had their hashrate 20-30 percent below the reported hashrate.

Phoenix Miner

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Geth, cpp-ethereum, Ethminer: what’s the difference?

Geth

Tech-savvy miners who are capable of producing a couple of code lines can consider running a software client that is called Geth (a shortening for ‘go-ethereum’). Geth is the implementation of the ‘Go’ scripting language, which is necessary for communicating with the Ethereum network. Obviously, the program is not recommended for those who are only getting started with Ethereum mining, but it can be a useful tool if you acquire the necessary programming skills.   

Geth

cpp-ethereum

cpp-ethereum is yet another viable option if you are interested in Ethereum mining software. The code, which can be downloaded on GitHub, has been tested on various operational systems (Windows, Linux, OS X).

One also has to mention that AlethZero is the C++ implementation of the abovementioned Ethereum client. In 2015, the AlethOne version was released, which was supposed to make mining easier for users who can’t get around with the console-based client.

Ethminer

Ethminer is a command line mining program that supports any Ethash-based coin (Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Metaverse, etc.). It is worth mentioning that Ethminer stems from the cpp-ethereum project.

NB! Ethminer and Geth both represent the command line interface but there is a difference in coding languages (the former is written in C++ while the latter is written in Go).

Miners are supposed to fork out a one percent dev fee (which is rather reasonable). The client has low system requirements, which makes it accessible for all types of miners. This software is constantly updated every two weeks or so.

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Wineth

There’s a world of difference between Wineth and Geth – the former is specifically designed for beginner-level users. Its UI is super-simple even for those who never had any cryptocurrency mining experience. Moreover, there is no need to modify any settings since the client’s auto-configuration will choose the most suitable permanents instead of you. However, there is also a huge downside – Wineth is only compatible with Ethereum Classic.

Windows Ethereum Miner

MinerGate

In May 2016, MinerGate, one of the best-known multi-currency mining clients, announced its support for Ethereum. The main advantage of this specific client is that it suits both amateur and professional miners. MinerGate maximizes the efficiency of Ethereum mining by adjusting the settings to the GPU power.

Claude Lecomte, the CEO of MinerGate, claims that ‘1-click client’ was supposed to become an entry-level software for many uninitiated miners. It is capable of showing an impressive hashing output because of its new code architecture.

MinerGate

The support of multiple languages and a huge user base are also among the main reasons why you should consider choosing this client.

CGMiner

CGMiner is yet another miner on the list that requires programming skills. Those who simply downloaded a CGMiner folder from Github will find themselves at an impasse since they won’t figure out how to make it run. The thing is, the source code that you download from Github has to be compiled (alternatively, you can already download compiled versions that are available on the web).  

CGMiner

Just like MinerGate, it functions as a mining pool software but it is also compatible with most types of mining hardware. The good thing about this software client is that you are not obliged to limit yourself to one single mining device.

Parity

Parity has a rather tainted reputation because of a major security breach that resulted in millions of Ether being stolen. Since then, they’ve managed to enhance their security, and there is a good reason to believe that they’ve learned their lesson.

Parity

The client is written in the bleeding-edge Rust programming language. Notably, it is integrated right into the Parity browser. It works with both Windows 10 and macOS.

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Awesome Miner

Awesome Miner is a good option if you prioritize centralized mining management. The majority of clients that are featured on that list are mainly suitable for running one mining rig but if you want to run multiple mining engines (ASICs, FPGAs, etc.), it is advisable to stick with Awesome Miner. This client supports up to 25 clients and supports a wide range of coins that are based on popular algorithms.

Awesome Miner

The only disadvantage is that Awesome Miner doesn’t support any other operating systems apart from Windows. Hence, this miner is not that ‘awesome’ for Linux and MacOS fans.

The caveats

Back in June, multiple news outlets reported that hackers could steal over $20 mln in Ethereum from mining clients that were insecurely configured by amateur users. Cybercriminals could get unauthorized access to the cryptocurrency wallets of their victims. As you can see, almost all of these clients are not beginner-friendly. Meanwhile, WinEth is an easy-to-use Windows graphical client.     

Another caveat pertains to those miners who are looking for an alternative Ethereum client. For instance, when users reach a certain level of stability with Claymore, they are hesitant to make a switch. On top of that, it is rather challenging to adjust a specific type of mining software to specific types of Ethereum mining hardware (Nvidia graphics cards are generally considered to be the safest option).    

U.Today wishes you safe and profitable mining in 2019!

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How to Learn Solidity and Start Blockchain Programming

  • Eric Croix
    📚 WikiCoin

    If making an Ethereum-based dApp or creating an ERC20 standard token sounds compelling to you, than you need to learn the language called Solidity. In our tutorial we provide you with the foundation of coding smart contracts


How to Learn Solidity and Start Blockchain Programming
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Blockchain programming has become one of the best paying and challenging software spheres during the recent decade. Although blockchains are language-agnostic and many of the existing languages, like C++ and JavaScript (JS), are used by blockchain engineers, there are some tasks that couldn’t be conveniently realized by existing languages, which opened up the demand for new, crypto-specific options. One such language is Solidity.

Solidity was born as a core part of the Ethereum ecosystem. It absorbed C++, JavaScript, and Python. It has many contemporary features like libraries and inheritance. Solidity is designed to write programs that interact with Ethereum accounts, which are called smart contracts. Smart contracts are executed on Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), enabling users utilizing them perform tasks like crowdfunding, blind auctions, voting, and many others in a decentralized manner. The most famous killer-app of smart contracts was decentralized funding in ICOs, which started the bull rally on the crypto markets in 2017.

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Whether you are an experienced developer or just starting out in crypto, it’s a good idea to start learning Solidity because smart contracts have become a crucial part of the blockchain ecosystem. Aside from being actively implemented by dApps, they are being actively integrated into infrastructure-layer blockchains and even in Bitcoin via providers like RSK. By knowing how to build smart contracts you will make your blockchain career more sustainable and be able to produce better quality solutions. Let’s not pull it off any longer and get our hands dirty with coding!

Understanding the basics of a smart contract

A smart contract account consists of three sections: balance, storage, and code. The balance represents how much Ethereum a smart contract has. Storage holds data like strings and arrays that are specific to an application. The code section has the raw machine code that is compiled from what we write in Solidity.

Unlike user accounts, smart contract accounts are not external to the respective networks. In other words, you can use your wallet with various networks like Kovan and Ropsten, but you can’t do this with a smart contract. Smart contracts are internal.

Each smart contract has a source, which is stored on an author’s device and instances, which are stored on the blockchain. In order to create an instance (account) of a smart contract, we need to deploy it to the network. It very much resembles the relationship between classes and instances in traditional object-oriented programming (OOP) and languages representing it (JS, Ruby). To give you a more visual representation, let’s create a class ‘Bike’ and add an instance of it.

Bike class & instance

Bike class & instance

Source: Image by U.Today

What we will be writing is a contract definition, which will then run through a compiler that will produce two files: bytecode and application binary interface (ABI). Bytecode is what will be actually fed to the EVM and ABI is a layer between bytecode and regular JavaScript code that allows building a user interface (UI).

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Choosing an IDE & version of Solidity

Before we start, we need a proper integrated development environment (IDE). In other terms, we need a convenient terminal with the necessary tools to write our code in. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will pick Remix, an IDE created by the Ethereum foundation that allows writing, testing, debugging, launching smart contracts and many more. You can use it either straight in the browser or download it locally if you would like.

Once you launch Remix, you will be presented with the code editor in the center, the file manager on the left, and a compiler on the right.

Initial Remix window

Initial Remix window

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There will be some pre-written code – we won’t need that. To create out first-ever smart contract let’s press on the little plus icon in the top-left corner of the terminal and give it a name.

Creating a new project in Remix

Creating a new project in Remix

Source: Image by U.Today

As we have the blank .sol document now, we should specify the version of Solidity that the compiler will run. At the time of this tutorial, the latest version is 0.5.7. If you are not sure which version to use, you can specify a range of versions.

2 types of specifying the version of Solidity

2 types of specifying the version of Solidity

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Lastly, let’s give our smart contract a name, followed by a parenthesis.

Smart contract naming

Smart contract naming

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Writing your first smart contract

Once we have our canvas ready, it’s time to define the basic building blocks – variables. While experienced software engineers will have no issues understanding this concept, we will briefly introduce it to beginners. Variables are placeholders for chunks of information that are later referenced by a program that runs them.

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Let’s create a couple of variables: a string (a sequence of symbols) and an integer (a number). In Ethereum’s case, variables are stored in the blockchain along with the rest of parts of contracts and can, therefore, be accessed and updated from anywhere. Another key characteristic of Solidity variables is that you can make them private by writing ‘private’ next to the variables. Finally, for the integers, Solidity has two types: signed (can be positive & negative) and unsigned (can only be positive). To specify an unsigned variable, we should just put ‘u’ before it.

A private string and an integer

A private string and an integer

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Once we have the ‘name’ variable, we need to write out the methods of setting and getting it. This looks like a JS function. Remember that Solidity is statically typed, so we have to define variable types. Now any value we put in the ‘setName’ will define the ‘name’ string. For the getter, we will use ‘getName’ and specify what variable we expect to see. Now, it’s time to do the same for the ‘age’ variable. The method is constructed similarly to the ‘getName’.

Name/age setters and getters

Name/age setters and getters

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Let’s test our little chunk of code. Go to the ‘Run’ tab of the compiler and press ‘Deploy’ under your contract’s name. At the very bottom of the compiler, you will now see the ‘Deployed Contracts’ section that has our methods available. In order to pass a name to the ‘newName’ value, we need to make sure that our string is written in JSON, otherwise, the ‘getName’ will return nothing. For the ‘setAge’ just put your age without quotes. As you see, we can now set and receive the ‘name’ and the ‘age’ variables through our smart contract.

Compiler, with a name and an age

Compiler, with a name and an age

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Defining Wei and Gas

One of the most remarkable features of smart contrasts is that to deploy them to the Ethereum network you will need to initiate a transaction, which costs some amount of money that is paid in Ether. It’s crucial to understand how the fees are utilized in the system, as they will be deducted each time you interact with EVM.

What’s Wei?

Let us assume that reading this far into our tutorial you have used Bitcoin at least once. You probably made a small transaction that was way less than 1 BTC. In that case, you used Satoshis, which are something like pennies for a dollar. Wei is like a Satoshi – it’s the smallest part of 1 Ether. If we think of it in programming terms, it’s the lowest unsigned integer in the network. While interacting with the network, you will mostly encounter Gwei, which refers to Gigawei and equals 1 billion Wei.

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What’s Gas?

Gas is an essential part of the mechanism of smart contract execution. It has two values for each transaction: Gas consumed and its price. It’s worth mentioning that a user initiating a transaction defines these values. However, if the set value of Gas won’t be enough to process a specific operation, then the Gas will be consumed, but the transaction will fail. Moreover, if the price for Gas will be set too low for the network at a given time, the transaction will not be processed by the nodes, eventually making it unsuccessful. There are several services to check optimal values for your transactions, one of them being ethgasstation.info. To get a better understanding of Gas and why it costs any money, let’s code some of it by ourselves.

Get back to your Remix window and initiate a new file. In our example, we will call it ‘Gas’ and create a contract with the same name. Bear in mind that the more data we will require to store on the blockchain, the more Gas we will need. That being said, for the purpose of this tutorial we will create a cheap contract; the more you will add to it, the higher the fee will be.

There will be a function that returns an integer that is a sum of two inputs. To make it as lightweight as possible, we will specify that our contract will store nothing on the blockchain, and for that we will put ‘pure’ next to the function.

Cheap contract

Cheap contract

Source: Image by U.Today

Now you can deploy it in the compiler and input any two numbers to get the integer ‘c’. To check the price of our transaction we should take a look at the terminal located beneath the code section. There is a transaction cost and an execution cost. The first one refers to how much data a transaction has. The second one refers to how much of EVM’s power was required by the transaction.

Cheap contract’s cost

Cheap contract’s cost

Source: Image by U.Today

This is an extremely basic transaction that costs almost nothing for the network. In writing meaningful smart contracts you will add more details, which will increase their weight and therefore transaction fees.  

Creating & deploying your own ERC20 token

Let’s face it, the majority of the blockchain developers that are just starting out are eager to play big and create their own blockchains and tokens. While this is an extremely difficult topic that attracted some of the best software engineers from other spheres, building a basic ERC20 token isn’t rocket science.

First, we need to create another file in Remix and uploading the ERC20 interface, which is the following:

ERC20 standard

ERC20 standard

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The ‘totalSupply’ function lets us see how many tokens we have in total. The ‘balanceOf’ function is used to get amounts of tokens on specific addresses. The ‘transfer’ function allows users performing transactions between each other. The ‘transferFrom’, ‘allowance’ and ‘approve’ functions are there to allow people to let some other users initiate transactions on their behalf. Events are the logging tools for the ledger.

In addition to the interface itself, we will need a separate .sol file for our new token. Here we will import the ERC20 interface and specify our token’s symbol, name, and decimals.

uToday token

uToday token

Source: Image by U.Today

Before we compile it, we need to specify constraints.

  • Let’s start with the total supply – it’s a constant integer variable that we will make private. The total supply of our tokens will be 1 million, we also write a function to return this value.

  • Second, we need to store our token somewhere. For this, we will need to outline the mapping that will return a balance for any address specified.

  • Third, there should be a function for token transfers, which will essentially have an address of a receiver and an amount of token transferred. This function should also be able to check whether or not a sender has enough tokens on their balance, which can be realized through a simple if/then statement. In addition, we will set conditionals for ‘_value’ in a way that blocks users from sending transactions with 0 tokens as this would only flood the network with junk.

  • Fourth, we should create the mapping for the remainder functions, which is a mapping of mapping to an integer.

  • Then we will specify a few checkers in the ‘approve’ and ‘allowance’ functions and put conditions for the ‘transferFrom’.

  • Finally, not all the tokens will be available on the market. Some of the tokens are usually left out for teams, foundations, advisors and other purposes. Hence, it’s essential that we make it clear how many tokens will be circulating. As we created the tokens, the circulating supply equals our balance.

uToday token constraints

uToday token constraints

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The code is ready, so let’s test it. Proceed to the ‘Run’ tab of the compiler and deploy our token contract. You will see that we have our token data along with the total supply, balances, and allowances. Congratulations, you deserve a pat on the back!

To make our token actually function on the network, we need to deploy the smart contract (note that this is different from deploying it for testing in Remix). For the sake of this tutorial, we will use Remix and Metamask, but there other ways of doing so. Metamask is a simple but efficient Ethereum wallet program with a nice UI that integrates as an extension to some of the most popular browsers. In our case, we will use Opera. Firstly, go to metamask.io and download the extension. Once it’s done, you will see a fox icon in the top right of your browser.

Downloading Metamask & location of the icon

Downloading Metamask & location of the icon

Source: Image by U.Today

Press on the icon and proceed through the offered instructions to create a wallet. Do not forget to store the secret phrase! When you have your wallet, press on the Metamask icon and change the network to ‘Ropsten’ because we don’t want to mess with Ethereum’s mainnet.

Changing Metamask to Ropsten

Changing Metamask to Ropsten

Source: Image by U.Today

The last step is to generate some Ether (unfortunately, you won’t be able to use these for any real purchases, but they are necessary for testing). Head over to faucet.metamask.io and request 1 Ether.

Now you are all set. Return to your Remix window and change the environment to ‘Injected Web3’ in the compiler. Take a look at the account tab too – your address should be the same as that of what you generated with Metamask. Select the smart contract you want to deploy, which is your token contract and not the ERC20 interface and press on the respective button. A Metamask window will pop up with a transaction, its details, and options to interact with it. Submit the transaction, and our token will come into life.

Metamask popup

Metamask popup

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You can now play around with all the functions we specified earlier. Let’s look at our contract from another side to verify that it works properly. Like any other blockchain, Ethereum has multiple block explorers which serve the essential purpose of monitoring what’s happening on the network. In our case, we will stick to etherscan, though there is a handful of other great alternatives. Note that if you just go to etherscan, you will see the Main network. As we need to see the Ropsten network, you will need to put ‘ropsten.’ before the website’s address. Search for your address and you will see two transactions – one is for free Ether you received, and another is for deploying the contract.

User’s address in Etherscan

User’s address in Etherscan

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To find the address of your contract, press on the TxHash and navigate to the ‘To’ field. Here you can check your smart contract’s transactions, code, and events. At this point, we need to verify and publish our contract. Go to the ‘Code’ section and click on the ‘Verify and Publish’ link. Here you will need to again specify the name of your token, the version of the compiler (in our case the latest version of Solidity we used was 0.5.7, so we will stick to the related compiler version). Now you should copy the token’s smart contract code along with the ERC20 interface code from your Remix window to etherscan and press ‘Verify and Publish’ at the bottom of the screen.

Verifying the smart contract

Verifying the smart contract

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It’s time to go back to your contract’s address. The code in the ‘Code’ tab will now be verified. In addition, you will now have two more tabs: ‘Read contract’ & ‘Write contract’. In the reading section, we can check the functionality of our token. Input your (not the contract’s) address into ‘balanceOf’ field to see how many tokens you have; it should show 1 million that we hard coded as the total supply and gave it circulating to our wallet. That means that our token is now correctly working on the testnet.

Receiving the balance

Receiving the balance

Source: Image by U.Today

Summary

If you are looking to start a career in the crypto industry, you need to understand that despite its relative simplicity in basics, blockchain has incredible deepness to it. Since 2017 blockchains have evolved significantly and their use cases went beyond just financial transactions. With the advent of Ethereum, a whole new layer of networks appeared that hosts various dApps and blockchain-based solutions. The tool behind this evolution was a smart contract, and if you want to make your experience more valuable and future-proof, you should know how one works.

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While you can code smart contracts using other languages, Solidity is a better fit for such a purpose. Moreover, if you want to become an Ethereum developer, or create an ICO/ERC20 token for your project, this is your go-to choice. If you had some experience with C++ or JavaScript, coding on Solidity should be relatively easy. You will have to understand some differences between the client-server and decentralized models of launching software, though. Thanks to Ethereum Foundation and some third-party organizations, developers are presented with a set of convenient tools like Remix and Etherscan to code and deploy smart contracts.

We hope that our tutorial helped you with getting around the majority of Solidity’s concepts to be able to start your blockchain journey. Remember that you can always check with the latest documentation on Solidity. We wish you good luck and will be happy to use some of your dApps someday!

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