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Bitcoin Mining Software: How to Choose the Right One

By Brian Nibley · June 25, 2021 · 5 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Bitcoin Mining Software: How to Choose the Right One

To mine Bitcoin, a number of things are required. Miners need:

•  Mining hardware: Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) or Graphic Processing Units (GPUs)

•  Bitcoin mining software

•  A bitcoin mining pool

•  Electricity: Bitcoin mining typically consumes a large amount of energy

•  A place to set up a mining rig

•  In some cases, a way to cool down ASICs/GPUs (the machines tend to generate a lot of heat)

Of all these needed elements, crypto mining software is one of the most vital. Mining rigs can’t mine without the proper software. This program will tell the machines which currency to mine, what pool to participate in, and how fast to run the fans.

Selecting the best software to mine Bitcoin may be confusing to newcomers, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Perhaps even better, it also doesn’t have to be expensive. While mining Bitcoin can be costly in terms of hardware and electricity, the software to mine Bitcoin usually isn’t. Most Bitcoin mining software is free and open-source, so anyone can download it and see what went into creating it.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Bitcoin Mining Software

Before settling on a specific mining software program, it’s worth considering some key variables.

1. What operating system will you be running the software in?

Make sure the OS is compatible with the software whether it’s Windows, Linux, or Mac OSX. In addition, some software only works with ASIC miners, while others might only work with GPU miners.

2. Are the software and hardware Bitcoin-compatible?

Bitcoin requires ASICs that can run the SHA-256 algorithm. Some altcoins, like Dogecoin and Litecoin, run on the Scrypt algorithm, and need special ASICs designed for that specific purpose.

3. Which wallet and exchange will you be using?

First, you need your own Bitcoin wallet to deposit mined coins into. A desktop hot wallet like Amory, Breadwallet, or Electrum may be a good option since it allows users to hold their own private keys. From there, you will need to move the coins to a crypto exchange to trade the mined coins for fiat currency or a stablecoin. Users who want to hold all of their profits in Bitcoin can skip this last step and instead put their coins into a more secure long-term storage method like cold storage.

Once the above factors have been taken care of, users can move forward with finding the best Bitcoin mining software for their needs.

Top Bitcoin Mining Software in 2021

Here are a few of the top crypto mining software programs on the market in 2021. Depending on a user’s experience with crypto specifically and with tech in general, some software might be more appealing than others.

CGMiner

CGMiner has been one of the most popular mining programs for many years. For those who already know a thing or two about how Bitcoin mining works, this might be their preferred program.

Pros:

•  This software comes with features like fan speed control, the ability to access the program remotely, and use with multiple miners.

•  It can even be used for CPU mining (although this is not feasible for most coins today, as mentioned earlier).

•  The software works with most operating systems.

Cons:

•  The user interface is very basic: grey text on a black background.

•  The program is run using a command line, meaning users type in commands to tell it what to do. This may not be appealing to new users.

EasyMiner

EasyMiner provides a graphic user interface (GUI) for the CGMiner software. While CGMiner shows little more than lines of text, EasyMiner provides graphs displaying mining activity along with other visual features.

Pros:

•  It’s good for new users who prefer a user-friendly GUI.

Cons:

•  It’s not compatible with Mac OS X.

BitMinter

This software is also more user-friendly than some of its competitors. BitMinter supports all major operating systems, is easy to use, and automatically points to its own mining pool (also called BitMinter).

Pros:

•  It’s easy to set up, including its own mining pool.

•  It’s compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux operating systems.

Cons:

•  It has to be used with the BitMinter mining pool, which charges a 1% fee.

MultiMiner

This software simplifies a lot of the set up involved with Bitcoin software and comes with a GUI. Things are displayed and explained in a simple-to-understand way for beginners. Users are even instructed on how to link their miners to the mining pool of their choice. This software is designed for Windows, although additional software add-ons can be used to make things work on other operating systems.

Pros:

•  It’s good for beginners.

Cons:

•  It needs additional software to be able to run on Mac OS X or Linux.

Bitcoin Mining Software: Commonly Asked Questions

Wondering what to know before investing in crypto through the mining process? These are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to crypto mining software.

Can I Mine Bitcoin On My PC?

No, you can’t mine Bitcoin using your PC’s CPU or GPU power. There was a time when that was possible, but today, mining Bitcoin requires more powerful machines known as ASICs. You can, however, use a PC to run the mining software that controls your ASICs and points them toward a specific mining pool.

Can I Mine Bitcoin With My Phone?

Smartphones do not have the processing power necessary to mine Bitcoin. There have been reports of some types of sophisticated mining malware that harvest processing power from many smartphones and combine it to mine an altcoin with lower difficulty. But other than that, phones simply cannot mine crypto.

Can You Mine Bitcoin for Free?

No. This is like asking if you can mine gold for free. There will always be costs associated with Bitcoin mining, including the hardware and electricity required to do so. This is one reason people believe Bitcoin has value—it can’t be created out of thin air.

How much does it cost to mine 1 Bitcoin?

This varies depending on the rate miners pay for electricity, the power of their machines, and the current mining difficulty (which adjusts upward or downward every two weeks or so).

How Do I Start Mining Bitcoins?

The best place to start is by doing research to determine whether or not mining Bitcoin is right for you. An individual who decides to try their hand at Bitcoin mining would then have to go about securing the necessary hardware, software, and electricity before finally selecting a mining pool to point their rig towards.

What is the Best Way to Mine Bitcoin?

From an energy perspective, the best way to mine Bitcoin might be using some kind of renewable energy source like solar, wind, hydro, or geothermal. There’s a growing trend in the industry toward these types of energy sources because they both increase miner revenues and reduce the carbon footprint of Bitcoin.

The Takeaway

Overall, Bitcoin mining requires a lot of research, knowledge, effort, and investment. Bitcoin mining software is a crucial piece of the prep, since miners can’t run their machines without the right software. Choosing the right software depends on both an array of technical factors for the mining machines, the chosen coin to mine, and the operating system of the computer running the software in question, as well as factors regarding the user experience itself. Once the technical details have been determined, users can make a decision based on what they think might work best for them.

For investors thinking that Bitcoin mining may not be for them, there are other ways to start investing in Bitcoin. With SoFi Invest®, members can trade a range of crypto, from Bitcoin and Litecoin to Ethereum and more. Plus, you can manage your trades right from the SoFi app.

Find out how to get started trading crypto with SoFi Invest.

Photo credit: iStock/Eva-Katalin


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