Presently, Zcash (ZEC) sits at 49th place by total market cap with a market cap of around $3 billion. Zcash coin continues to be one of the most popular crypto mining options despite the recent drop in mining reward, and increase in mining difficulty as the market price has increased exponentially over the past months. It is still popular among blockchain developers, with the Zcash repository updated frequently.
This step-by-step guide on how to mine Zcash will introduce you to the fundamentals of mining and explain how Zcash mining rig is built and why Zcash mining hardware mostly consists of ASIC miner farms.
Zcash mining basics
Zcash uses a proof of work algorithm just like with Bitcoin mining, on top of it, ZEC mining implements the “Equihash” algorithm, that runs on ewbf miner. The Equihash algorithm was chosen because it reduces the difficulty in mining that is associated with GPU or CPU hardware.
Therefore, the Zcash network is perfect for new miners to join without huge upfront investments, just like with mining Ethereum in its first years. A simple GPU miner, Zcash mining pool and a Zcash mining software like ewbf’s cuda zcash miner or the multi-purpose Nicehash miner is all you need to get started.
Further, several mining farms offer to buy a cloud mining contract, that offer a predefined Zcash cloud mining hashrate to be at your disposal for a specific amount of time.
What is Zcash?
Initially called the Zerocash Protocol, this altcoin began as a Bitcoin fork. With time, the blockchain community changed the name to Zerocash and later on, in 2016, to Zcash. The coin falls among the three original privacy coins alongside Monero and Dash. This is the place that it differs from Bitcoin – privacy and transparency.
The blockchain securely encrypts all transactional information such as payment destination, the existence of the transaction, or even the amount of money involved.
How to mine Zcash
Pool Mining combines individual GPU and CPU miner effort with other miners. The rewards of successful block verification are awarded to all miners within a pool depending on the amount of computing power that each miner contributed to the network.
While the reward is easily diminished depending on the number of miners in a pool, the chances of successful block verification are high. However, on most occasions, participants have to pay a fee to join a mining pool. One of the most popular and easy-to-use solutions on the market is the NiceHash EQM.
Solo mining is almost becoming obsolete in the era of profitable mining since advanced GPU technology has skyrocketed the network hash rate. This makes it almost impossible for low processing power equipment to get any profits. This is because the aggregated processing power among all participants ensures that rewards are distributed at an even rate based on the hashing power provided.
The Zcash blockchain issues a reward of 3,125 ZEC after the verification of every block. A block verification will take place after every 75 seconds. In case you are part of a mining pool, the block reward is divided among the members of the pool based on the amount of computing power that each member used to mine the block.
What you need to start mining Zcash
Hardware and software are essential prerequisites of any mining venture. The software should run on top of the right hardware, both of which directly influence what a miner running mining algorithm can yield. However, to understand the actual requirements to get started, it is worth distinguishing among the three types of computation power used to mine crypto.
Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) as the name suggests are built to process computer graphics faster. Most GPU users are individuals that prefer flexibility, unlike the rigidity of CPUs and ASIC processors.
Unlike Bitcoin miner, Zcash uses the Equihash algorithm to exclude ASIC-mining hardware. ASIC was mainly developed for mining bitcoin. Therefore, its hashing method is different to accommodate CPU or GPU mining.
ASIC chips are built to perform at the highest processing speed possible. An important feature to note about ASIC chips is they are built and customized for a specific coin. While you are not going to need them while mining Zcash, it is worth differentiating them from GPU and CPU mining hardware.
Choosing the right hardware for Zcash Mining
Hardware is an important factor to consider given it directly affects the number of profits you make. The Equihash heavily relies on massive amounts of Random Access Memory (RAM). A factor that leaves you with only two choices – either GPUs or CPUs.
When you decide to use CPU for Zcash mining, ensure you have in place an adequate cooling mechanism. This will prevent the equipment from getting extremely hot. CPU mining is one of the benefits of mining Zcash. Unlike bitcoin, you won’t have to deal with high initial investment.
In case GPUs are your thing, you will have to pat with a little more investment to purchase the mining units. Remember your investment will depend on the amount of hash rate you require. And this hashing power will determine your profits. GPUs usually get hot and therefore require proper cooling units as well.
What software to use when mining Zcash?
There is an overwhelming range of software to use when mining. Most of the software is also free and easy to download, with tutorials easily found on the internet.
Moreover, Zcash provides a community software called Zcash Miner which allows anyone to run a full node, use the CPU to mine and withdraw to an inbuilt wallet. The wallet can send or receive cash. Unfortunately, this official Zcash chip is limited to mine with CPU chips. Therefore, if your mining rig is optimized with GPU chips, consider getting some other mining software options.
Step-by-step guide for mining Zcash on your PC
1. Install drivers
For AMD GPU Miners
Login to www.AMD.com and hit a tab marked ‘Support & Drivers.’ Key in the details of your GPU and hit ‘Display Results.’ To download the latest drivers, hit the resulting ‘Download Button.’ But if you want to download an older version, hit the tab marked ‘Previous Drivers & Software.’ We, however, recommend the latest miner drivers for the latest cards.
For Nvidia GPU Mining
Go to the NVIDIA website to download the latest version of drivers that support Nvidia GPU. Key in the details of your GPU rig in the highlighted search bar and hit the search button. The button is highlighted in green. Click the top results to download the latest drivers.
Note: After installing either of the drivers, just normal as the installation of any computer driver; Reboot your PC and move on to the Device Manager. Double-check from here whether each driver installed correctly and that your windows system recognizes it.
2. Get a Zcash wallet
You need safe storage of your coins once you earn them. A secure place to start from is to use a hardware wallet. However, there are three types of wallets; Internet Wallets, Exchange Wallets, and Hardware Wallets. Go to the official Zcash Website and there you will find the Zcash client wallet. The safest option, however, is a hardware wallet such as Trezor or Ledger Nano S.
3. Download mining software
Go to Bitcointalk.com and download the EWFB Zcash Mining Program for Zcash. To avoid downloading malware, make sure the download is from an official Bitcointalk thread. You will have to locate the latest version, with the file zipped.
4. Adjust Windows settings
Turn off windows Sleep Mode. The PC should never sleep during mining. Modify the system setting page to 16GB/16384MB. Turn off all Windows updates as they could interfere with Zcash mining software. Additionally, make sure Windows Defender does not flag the EWFB program as malware.
5. Join a pool
Most solo miners enroll in mining pools to ensure stable profits. There are several Zcash mining pools to choose from but in our guide, we will sample out Flypool. Go to the website and click on any help section that guides you on how to mine with them using EWFB.
6. Configure BAT File to start your miner
Next, create a BAT file by clicking the Windows – Nvidia Tab, depending on the PC and GPU type you are using. The resulting page below the tab is a miner script. Paste this into a folder on the EWFB miner program marked, ‘ Flypool bat file’.
A bat file gives the commands to run/execute the mining software. Afterward, include your Zcash wallet address on the bat file and finally save the bat file with a .bat extension.
How much can you earn?
There are various factors that the Zcash mining reward is dependent on.
First, the equipment and electricity supply in an area will hugely influence the amount of reward. Another important factor is whether you are affiliated with any mining pool or going solo. Cryptocompare.com provides a calculator where you can input the amount of power consumption, hash rate, and the cost of electricity per hour.
The mining calculator determines a definite profit ratio both per month and per day. We recommend you determine this calculation to influence your buying decision for the starting hardware and software. The calculator will come in handy in determining whether your capital investment is worth the potential profit.
Mining Zcash has been popular for several years as a great alternative to Bitcoin or Ethereum mining. As with all cryptocurrencies, mining has increasingly become more difficult in terms of hardware power required. However, the basic setup still remains the same. Therefore, we hope this guide helped you.