Tag Archives: #cryptocurrency

Howto: Ethereum/Expanse Mining with Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS

First of all – install Ubuntu [1]. This should be actually straight forward. After running the installation I suggest to do a software update. Just drop the more or less “standard” lines:

sudo apt-get updatesudo apt-get upgrade

To be able to mine, I suggest to check the video card drivers. In my case for the Nvida GTX 780 I use the nvidia-384 proprietary drivers. The following guide might be useful [2] for the installation – either via graphical user interface or via command line.

Now let us install the ethminer. Fast and easy with the following commands as pointed out at [3]:

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ethereum/ethereum
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ethereum ethminer

And for the first test I run it on an Expanse Pool [4]:

ethminer -F http://exp.ethertrench.com:8890/0xe715c09762d8ad5edafa73c0bc5cc700d0a8e5a9/ardbeg -G

Starting it the first time, it takes some time to load the DAG, but once it’s loaded the miner performs better as expected showing a Hash Rate of approximately 17 MH/s – on the miner and on the pool.

For an autostart of the ethminer process, I will drop another blog entry within the next days/weeks.

[1] Ubuntu, Download Page

[2] Ubuntu Help, Nvidia Binary Driver Howto

[3] meebey.net, Ethereum GPU mining on Linux

[4] ethertrench.com, Expanse Mining Pool

Cryptocurrencies – Gamblers and Game Changers

There is currently a big hype around cryptocurrencies and a kind of battle between Bitcoin and all the Altcoins (alternative Coins). Bitcoin seems to have the first-mover advantage, as techologically, it is lacking behind a majority of other coins.

Bitcoin created a brand and this is rewarded with an explosive up-drift in their exchange rate. Based on Coinmarketcap [1] Bitcoin holds more that 50% of the cryptocurrency market, while more than 1000 alternative coins shares the rest. Still to be mentioned should be Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash. But within this article I will not go into details of their technology and the differences between them.

Having that said, you soon realize that certain cryptocurrencies are

  • the perfect wonderland for gamblers,
  • while others have the power to be a game changer.

For gamblers, for which I see the majority of the cryptocurrencies, the advantages are:

  • the market is never closed, you can buy/sell 24 hours, 7days a week
  • the volatility is rather high – changes of more than 20% a day are not unusual
  • there are plenty of market platforms with low rates
  • More than 1000 cryptocurrencies according to Coinmarketcap [1]
  • as there is no authority, platforms are located offshore, most people don’t pay taxes for their cryptotrading profits

While many of the cryptocurrencies seems to be created either for fun, for world domination – where the most fails, the minority are seeking for real-world applications and having a real vision behind.

Starting with my – just for fun – mining pool project [2] to set up mining pools with 0% fee, I came across Expanse [3]. Operating a pool for Expanse [4] I soon got into the community and the activities behind this project. And to be honest, Expanse is a project I would consider as a possible game-changer.

Beside the fact that Expanse is very community driven there is direct contact to the core team via a Discord Expanse channel [5] which makes the project quite family like. Aside to the chat, there is a bi-monthly newsletter [6] and a Twitter channel [7] keeping the community up to date.

Coming back to the real-world applications and visions, I would like to highlight some of the Expanse core ideas and applications that convinced me:

  • Tokenlab [8]: Its basically an integrated system to create tokens on the Expanse Blockchain. The platform helps to create ICOs with smart contracts, with time-locked distributions to protect investors from funds being dumped.
  • Votelock: a core idea for the integration of voting within a blockchain. This would be a real benificary for elections having a proper infrastructure and security mechanism.
  • exp.life [9]: not yet life, but I checked the whitepaper [10] and it looks promising to me. Putting experience and achievements in a blockchain sounds like an interesting idea, kind of a mixture of facebook with LinkedIn in a 2.0 version.
  • Charity: Expanse.tech and the people behind are into charity, making them human and caring about others. This gives them an extra point from my side.

Please note that those are just the highlights from my side, I think there are plenty of more features and applications.

Summing it up, I am curious and forward looking for the Expanse project.

[1] Coinmarketcap.com

[2] ehtertrench.com

[3] Expanse Homepage

[4] exp.ethertrench.com

[5] Discord, Expanse Channel

[6] Expanse Newsletter

[7] Expanse on Twitter

[8] tokenlab.io Homepage

[9] exp.life

[10] exp.life whitepaper


Ethereum, Ethereum Classic & Expanse: Basics about Mining and Mining Pools

In advance, I would like to highlight, that this article will focus on the mining of the following 3 Ethash (previously known as Dagger-Hashimoto) algorithm based  cryptocurrencies:

Basics about Mining

Basically each minable cryptocurrency can be mined solo (stand-alone), with GPU and/or CPU power. CPU mining is not to be considered efficient anymore – therefore most of the mining is done with modern graphic cards (GPU power). Dependent on the difficulty, the algorithm, and the GPU power, it takes certain time to get a reward for finding a new block within the blockchain.

The rewards for finding a new block is different based upon the cryptocurrency:

  • Ethereum (also known as ETH), 5 ETH
  • Ethereum Classic (also known as ETC), 5 ETC
  • Expanse (also known as EXP), 8 EXP

Each of the above noted cryptocurrency uses a certain difficulty required for the mining process. The difficulty is adopted frequently in relation with the network hash rate to the according block time. The block time provides the average time between finding new blocks. For Ethereum and Ethereum Classic the targeted blocktime is currently 15seconds, while for Expanse the block time is targeted with 60sec. Therefore, the more miners provide hashing power, the higher the network difficulty is set. This results that with higher network hash rate and a higher difficulty, the time until the first reward on solo mining is earned later.

Taking for example Ethereum, and a recent graphic card with a hashing power of 30MH/s, would currently take around 3,5 years to earn a reward of 5 Ether – statistically of course. To get an actual view of your mining power check out one of the mining profitability calculators [1].

To overcome this and to be rewarded earlier, you can join a mining pool. Depending on the distribution algorithm, you will be rewarded earlier – while of course, with lower rewards.

Choosing the mining pool

First of all you should get clear on what you would like to mine. Of course you can select the cryptocurrency based upon the best profitability  [1], but I would suggest to also investigate on the roadmap and on the projects of the cryptocurrency & their communities. At this point I would specially like to highlight Expanse as there are some interesting points in their roadmap, interesting projects (e.g. Tokenlab ) as well as a great supportive community.

What are the important points on selecting a mining pool:

  • The reward distribution algorithm
  • The fee
  • The minimum payout

The mining pool reward distribution algorithm defines how rewards are distributed among the miners. The most common ones are:

  • PPLNS – Pay Per Last N Shares: Reward is split based upon the proportion of shares on the last N shares.
  • Proportional: The reward is split proportional based upon all shares required to find the new block.

Of course there are far more algorithm available, which can be found under [2].

The fee is defined by the pool operator. Before splitting the reward across the miners, the fee is deducted from the reward. The fee usually varies between 0% and 2%.

The last variable to consider is basically the minimum payout. Once you start mining, rewards are accounted based upon the distribution algorithm. As transactions costs something, a minimum payout is set. The lower the value, the more often the rewards are payed.

Aside to the hard facts, certain other criteria’s should also be taken into account.

  • Security: Does the environment look safe? Has there been any issues before?
  • User Interface: Is the user interface handy? Do I get all information I would like to see?
  • Additional features: Does the pool provide any additional feature?

My personal favorite

Considering all the above mentioned hard- and soft facts I consider the following pools from the same provider, whereby I have to say that I focused on mining Expanse:

All of them have 0% mining fees and rather low minimum payout values.

The operator is very supportive in case of questions. Furthermore the underlying open source pool software [3] has been extended with new features over the time, whereby I love especially the twitter notification service [4], where messages are posted once a new block is found by the pool. Additional features to be noted there:

  • 24h pool hash rate
  • Support for iPhone Mining Pool Monitor App: Asi MPM [5]
  • Integration of Crypto Currency Market value

The pool process – from mining to payment

What I missed on my research was basically a short description of the process on the mining pool itself.

  • First of all you need to download a wallet and create an account – alternativley you can create an account online
  • Following the instruction of the pool you download a miner like etherminer or claymore, set the ports and your wallet address and then you start mining
  • Once a new block is found and shown under “New blocks” (e.g. on EXP.ethertrench), the overall mining process, with the count of shares starts from the beginning
  • After a certain time, the new block is set as “immature” (e.g. on EXP.ethertrench), for the miners the “immature balance” is calculated and assigned (done by the so called unlocker process).
  • Over the time more blocks are processed and after a certain time, the block is considered to be matured – shown finally under “Block” (e.g. EXP.ethertrench)
  • The payment processed is started once the block is matured. Usually the payment process runs on a predefined frequency – e.g. on an hourly basis.

I hope this article provides some information about the basics, about mining and about choosing the right pool.

Happy Mining!

[1] https://www.cryptocompare.com/mining/calculator/

[2] https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Comparison_of_mining_pools

[3] https://github.com/sammy007/open-ethereum-pool

[4] https://twitter.com/ethertrench

[5] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/asi-mining-pool-monitor/id1274075951?mt=8