With the recent RVN price gain, RVN has once again become one of the most profitable coins to mine. This has led to lots of questions about how to mine. Jump to the bottom if you just want the HOW.
Why mine? Because you get RVN, and because it helps the Ravencoin network. It should appeal to the mercenary mindset (what’s in it for me?), and the altruistic mindset (how can I help the Ravencoin network?), and everyone in-between.
What does mining do? It has multiple roles. It distributes the RVN in a fair manner which is important as we’ve seen some token projects that sold their coins and raised money are now in trouble with the SEC. It also secures the network, by identifying hard-to-find hashes that are included in the chain at one-minute intervals. So to re-create a similar chain, it would take just as much effort (hardware and electricity) as everyone working together for RVN. This helps secure the network from attack. It also sets a cadence for the network as every minute all the individual RVN and asset transactions are bundled up into blocks, secured with a hash (found by one miner or pool) that meets the “difficulty” threshold, and transmits it around the world for everyone else to verify and add to the end of the blockchain.
Want to peek beneath the covers? Mining is really just a technical lottery. The mining software is just seeking a hash of a block header that meets the right criteria (“difficulty”).
You might be thinking, what is a hash. It is an algorithm that takes some data and gives you back a number between 0 and 1.1579277. That’s a BIG number — roughly the number of atoms in the known universe. Change the data even a tiny bit and you get a completely different number. Give the algorithm the same data as before and you get exactly the same number back.
Ok, now that you know what a hash is. Mining is just hashing the block header which is only 80 bytes, and then changing the nonce and doing it again.
Wait, what?! What’s a “nonce”? Nonce stands for Number used ONCE. There is space in the block header to change this number used once (nonce), and then the mining software hashes the block header again and gets a completely different hash. Then it repeats the process over and over.
Well, that probably sounds like a whole lot of useless work. And you’re right. But now think about each attempt as a lottery ticket. The winning lottery ticket is someone that finds a low enough number. Remember you can’t predict in advance which nonce will give a low hash, so you just keep trying lots of them. Eventually, someone will find one low enough (below the difficulty level), and win the once-per-minute contest and get 5000 RVN plus all the transaction fees for the transactions in that block. It is a very fair way to get RVN distributed to the world.
Ok, but what is the difficulty, and why every minute? The difficulty and the time are related. The software adjusts the difficulty every block to make it so blocks are found ABOUT every minute. If the blocks are being found too fast then the difficulty is made harder. It just means the miners have to find a nonce that hashes to an even lower number. Or, conversely, if blocks are found too slowly, then the difficulty is adjusted the other way to make it easier.
Ok, that was a lot of explanation, but you don’t need to worry about all that. Mining is easy to do. It may take a few minutes to set up. It may even take a few hours if it is your first time, but then you just sip tea or vodka (depending on your location) and watch your RVN balance build.
How to mine
- Choose a pool
- Download mining software for your operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux) — usually Windows or Linux.
- Configure and run the software with your information on the command-line
- Accumulate RVN
Choosing a Pool
A pool is a way for everyone to work together to solve blocks. The pool will give the mining software information about a block to work on, and the mining software will try to find a nonce that works. All mining pools have websites, and can be found here:
Once you’ve found your pool, find the help page for RVN on their website. Here’s an example:
Download Mining Software
The mining pool help page will point you in the right direction. Some mining software takes a small fee (as does the pool). This is normal, and the mining software that takes fees is highly optimized and often runs faster than ones that don’t take a fee.
Here are some software examples:
- NVIDIA: kawpowminer — open source.
- NVIDIA: t-rex 0.15.3+ — proprietary with 1% dev fee.
- NVIDIA: gminer > 2.04 — proprietary with 2% dev fee.
- NVIDIA: TT-Miner 4.0.0 or better — proprietary with 1% dev fee: Windows or Linux.
- AMD or NVIDIA: NBMiner — proprietary with 2% dev fee.
Configuration and Running your Miner
Most pools have you sign up and choose a worker name. This is how they track how much work you’ve done so that when a block is found, they can share the spoils with you. To pay you in RVN, you’ll need to give them a Ravencoin address. I recommend providing one from Ravencoin core, or an API-based wallet like Exodus, Trust Wallet, or Edge. (https://ravencoin.org/wallets).
Some pools don’t need you to log in. Just use a Ravencoin address as your user and start mining. They don’t care who you are, they’ll just pay the Ravencoin address. So if you run into one of these pools, don’t worry that you’re not logging in, just make sure your command-line has the right Ravencoin address for the pool to pay.
You’ll also need to configure the site and port. Sometimes you’ll see different ports for different speed mining. This is so that if you have a big rig you’re not submitting partial mining solutions too often. Pick one on the low side, if you’re not sure.
Here is an example command-line to run the t-rex miner:
t-rex -a kawpow -o stratum+tcp://us.rvn.minermore.com:4501 -u username.worker -p x
Let’s break it down:
t-rex — The name of the program to run-a kawpow — Use the kawpow algorithm which is the mining algo for Ravencoin-o stratum+tcp://us.rvn.minermore.com:4501 — Tells the software to use stratum which is a method for communicating information on how to build a block to the mining software. The us.rvn.minermore.com is the domain name of the mining pool server, and port 4501 is where that server communicates with the mining software.-u username.worker — This is the username and worker name. It could be Bob.myworker where Bob is the login name, and myworker is the name of your worker. You can have multiple workers for different mining cards or mining rigs.-p x — Sets the password to x. No need for a super secure password. It isn’t the password to your account. It is the password to mine, and you probably aren’t going to get lots of people trying to mine for you.
Some mining software has slightly different parameters, but they will be similar.
Mining pools will have a dashboard for your account that shows how many RVN you have. Some pools will pay out every block found and others will pay out when you hit a threshold that you set, like 100 RVN. Keep an eye on the dashboard to make sure you are still mining.
I hope this helps, and happy mining!!!