Compare Ethereum Mining

The best Ethereum mining options.

You can earn ether and have a lot of fun with crypto mining. We've compared all the options to show you how.

The best Ethereum mining options.


Whichever method you want to use to mine Ethereum, you'll find the right site in our comparisons below.

1
Low
BTC
ETH
  • Instantly connect
  • Fixed fees
  • Pool allocation
2
Mid
BTC
ETH
LTC
  • Altcoins are available
  • Easy to start
  • Large number of users
3
Low
BTC
ETH
LTC
BCH
  • High quality products
  • ANTMINER available
  • Full featured app
4
Low
BTC
ETH
LTC
XRP
  • Get started from £7.50 ($10)
  • Over 2 million users
  • Faucet tools available
These are highly volatile investment products. Your capital is at risk.

How to Mine Ethereum in 2018


What is Ethereum mining?

Ethereum mining is the process by which transactions are verified on the Ethereum blockchain. This is made possible by miners who contribute their computer power to create new blocks to add to the chain, and in return are rewarded with a reward in ether (the cryptocurrency used on the Ethereum network).

Why is it called mining?

The term ‘mining’ emerged in relation to Bitcoin and is now used to refer to the verification process across most blockchains. The term originated as a reference to physical mining, as Bitcoin is a finite resource (capped at 21 million coins) and miners expend energy in order to extract coins from the system – except with cryptocurrency this energy is computer power rather than the physical labour associated with regular mining.

Unlike Bitcoin, though, Ethereum has no overall cap, so can continue to be mined indefinitely. Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin hinted that if the community votes the proposal, they would consider capping the supply, but this is still hypothetical at this point. The Ethereum governance model was designed to allow for such democratic modifications to be made.

How does Ethereum mining work?

The energy required for mining Ethereum comes from computers solving complex mathematical problems, a process known as ‘hashing’. These computational problems are solved by miners, verifying several transactions at a time bundled into a ‘block’, which is then added to the chain of previous blocks (the ‘blockchain’).

The miners who do this job are rewarded with transaction fees (which everyone pays whenever they transfer ether), and then one at random is rewarded additionally with some newly created Ethereum for solving a block (around 3 ether currently).

A possible future change in the Ethereum mining process may happen if the community decide to switch from a proof-of-work (the system described here which is currently used by both Bitcoin and Ethereum) to a proof-of-stake algorithm. This new development in Ethereum is referred to as the ‘Caspar protocol’.

If this were to happen, then people would be chosen to verify blocks through how much they have invested in the network, and relying on powerful hardware would be a thing of the past. Nothing is yet set in stone, and if Ethereum were to make this change we’d be the first to let you know about it, so bookmark this page to be kept up to date.

What do I need in order to start?

The two main options you have are buying hardware and setting up a mining rig, or buying an Ethereum cloud mining contract. Let’s take a look at what each one of them entails:

  • Mining using your own rig. To use this option, you’ll need to buy the right hardware and software. Mining Ethereum doesn’t usually require (and in fact discourages) you to use the advanced ASIC rigs used in Bitcoin mining; GPUs (graphics cards) are the most common piece of hardware.

    In order to increase your chances of getting the mining reward, it’s always a good idea to join a mining pool, where you pool resources together with other miners and get a high hashrate (speed of mining). We have a page to guide you through hardware mining Ethereum that will take you through all the details and how to get started.

  • Cloud Mining. If you don’t want to go through the process of buying and setting up your own mining rig, you can opt to buy a mining contract and earn ether through mining with hardware you don’t own or run. You just need to pay to lease some hashing power and get a percentage of the Ethereum income. If you want to find out more, head over to our Ethereum cloud mining page.

What is a mining pool?

A mining pool is a group of Ethereum miners working together to solve blocks, increasing their chances of one receiving the block reward, and then sharing profits between them. Because of the numbers of people now mining Ethereum, miners band together in pools to increase their computer power and try to guarantee a steady income from their mining operation.

When ether are generated and earned by the miners, each is paid according to the percentage of hashing power they are contributing. It’s a bit like if a large group of people playing a lottery together and agree to split the winnings (although with a much higher chance for winning and lower amounts of money being paid out).

Is Ethereum mining profitable?

This is a tricky question because there are a lot of factors that determine if you make decent profits or not.

For starters, it’s certainly not a get-rich-quick scheme. During the early days of Ethereum mining, you could just use your regular laptop to mine ether, but these days you have to invest in proper GPUs to start mining, and any investment in the hardware will take a while to regain. But in the long run, yes, if you consider all factors, Ethereum mining could be profitable. Issues you need to consider are:

  • Cost of mining hardware. As cryptocurrency mining has become more popular, the hardware used for the process has risen in price. Most of the GPUs usually range from around £400 – £700, but you can find others such as Nvidia GTX 1080ti going as much as £900.
  • Electricity costs. Ethereum mining rigs consume a large amount of electricity because of the huge energy required for mining. This means that your electricity bills will be higher than normal.
  • Cooling costs. Considering that mining rigs use a lot of energy, they release a lot of heat, which needs to be cooled down. This means that you will need to set it up in a cold area or get more equipment such as additional fans to help with the cooling.
  • Cloud mining fees. To help maintain the hardware of cloud mines, transaction fees are charged at various rates according to the number of hashes carried out by the system. For instance, a popular platform such as HashFlare usually charges $1.80 per 100 KW/s of hashing power.
  • Mining pool fees. Mining pools usually charge around 1-4% to all the users who are part of them. This means that there will be a small impact on the profits you make.
  • Popularity of mining. As more miners join the network, the difficulty of mining tends to increase, and hence the amount of Ethereum that you receive for each unit of energy your GPU expends.
  • Ether released per block. Currently the reward a miner receives for verifying a block on the Ethereum blockchain is 3 ETH, but this is likely to drop in the future as more miners join the network, which will affect profits.
  • Fluctuations in the value of ether. The fluctuation of Ethereum prices makes it hard to determine the mining will be profitable. If the price of ether falls, then mining might not be as profitable as expected (however, if it rises, your profits will increase).

That’s a lot of factors, how do I figure out if it will be right for me?

You can figure this out using one of the plenty of Ethereum mining calculators on the internet. You will be asked to enter some information, which include hashing power, power consumption (w), cost per KWh, and pool fees (if you are using a mining pool), and the system will give you some estimate on how much ether you’ll make.

Should I get involved in Ethereum mining?

Well, it depends on what you want to achieve. Ethereum mining is no longer a path to making a huge amount of Ethereum in a short space of time because of the increasing difficulty and price fluctuations, but if you are looking to do it for long-term investment, you can make some decent profits in the long run. If you love the technology behind mining, it can be a lot of fun as well.

How do I get started?

It all starts with finding the right hardware or cloud mining service. Luckily for you, we have reviewed the most common hardware to enable you mine Ethereum, as well as the best cloud mining services that you can use. Go ahead and check out our reviews and comparisons for the best options for you.

Should I mine ether?


Advantages

  • You can earn more ether
  • Mining can be lots of fun if you're into running the hardware
  • It makes you an active part of maintaining the Ethereum network
  • You can use hardware to mine many different cryptocurrencies

Drawbacks

  • Mining uses a lot of electricity, and is bad for the environment
  • Mining hardware and software is expensive
  • There's increasing competition as more people get involved in mining
  • You'll need hardware or to invest in cloud mining, or the process will damage your computer

Frequent questions.


What is Ethereum cloud mining?

Ethereum cloud mining is when many people use the same hardware remotely to mine Ethereum with shared processing power. What happens is that you take out a ‘cloud mining contract’ (which simply means a subscription agreement) with a company offering the services and get profits as the mine generates ether. The best thing about cloud mining is that you don’t have to buy and set up the hardware or worry about the high cost of electricity.

Can I set up an Ethereum mining rig in my house?

Technically yes. But if you are looking to set up a large rig then it’s likely to cause some major heat and noise concerns in your house. If you have space away from your main house, for instance a garage, that’s usually a good place to use.

What are the main mining hardware companies?

The biggest companies that make Ethereum mining hardware include names such as Bitmain, GMO, and RMC. If you are looking to buy the hardware, we have in-depth reviews of each, so make sure to check them out.

Why should I mine rather than buy Ethereum?

Mining can be a more sustainable investment in the long run. It’s also much more fun for those who love the thrill of setting up their own mining rigs. Also if the price of ether skyrockets, your mining rig will become more profitable as Ethereum becomes more expensive to buy.

Is there a limit to the amount of ether that can be mined?

No, unlike with Bitcoin there’s no set limit of Ethereum that can be mined - as of now. Over time block rewards will decrease however, and Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin has previously hinted that if the community votes the proposal of capping the supply, they would consider it.

Is Ethereum mining an environmental concern?

At the moment, this is one of the primary concerns with cryptocurrency and is one of the reasons why Ethereum’s developers are considering a move from proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake algorithm (which is much more energy efficient). Ethereum mining rigs tend to consume large amounts of power, which is why it’s constantly racing against electricity costs to remain profitable. But there have been increased interest in using green technology, something that gives miners hopes of increasing their profits by cutting the electricity costs.

Is Ethereum mining an environmental concern?

At the moment, this is one of the primary concerns with cryptocurrency and is one of the reasons why Ethereum’s developers are considering a move from proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake algorithm (which is much more energy efficient). Ethereum mining rigs tend to consume large amounts of power, which is why it’s constantly racing against electricity costs to remain profitable. But there have been increased interest in using green technology, something that gives miners hopes of increasing their profits by cutting the electricity costs.

Is Ethereum mining legal?

In the UK yes, and also in the vast majority of countries, including Australia and the US. Ethereum mining is only illegal in countries in which owning Ethereum is illegal. Make sure that you check the law in your country before you start mining.

What is a hash rate?

This is the rate at which a miner works, measured in Mh/s (megahash per second) and Gh/s (gigahash per second). The higher the hash rate, the more profitable a miner is. When determining the efficiency of a miner, W/Gh (watts per gigahash) and W/Th (watts per terahash) are the measurements used. A good miner is one that has more processing power without consuming a lot of energy/electricity.

What are ‘uncles’ in Ethereum mining?

The term ‘uncles’ in terms of Ethereum mining refers to blocks that never become part of the blockchain because they were solved just after the correct block header was found (in relation to Bitcoin, such blocks are referred to as ‘orphaned’). Think of it like a real family tree: your uncle is genetically similar to your dad, but he is not your dad.

Ethereum offers a percentage of block rewards to people who just miss out on the block reward: to the people who create ‘uncles’. This encourages more people to mine Ethereum and stops mining becoming overly centralised in large pools - something the Ethereum network has always been committed to combatting.

What do GPU and ASIC stand for?

GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit, whereas ASIC stands for Application-Specific Integrated Circuit. Ethereum mining predominantly uses GPUs for mining, and many people involved in the network try and limit the efficiency of ASICs on the Ethereum blockchain to stop mining power becoming too concentrated.

How does mining make Ethereum secure?

Mining keeps Ethereum secure in effect by democracy among its miners and is what enables the network to be decentralised. When mining, everyone is working from the same leger (the blockchain) and so if any one miner tries to change a past transaction or make up one that hasn’t happened, the other miners will all notice the change and reject that block from being added to the chain. Also, the fact that transactions are included in a block and attached to the previous one, makes it impossible to alter any of them, as this would mean changing all blocks after it.

How do I set up a mining rig?

Ethereum is predominantly mined using GPUs, so you will need a number of them to get started. You will also need a computer motherboard, a CPU, cooling fan, hard drive, RAM, power supply unit, dual power supply adapter, M2 to PCI adapters, watchdog, and PCI-E risers.

Once you have the hardware, start by attaching the CPU to the motherboard, and then connect the cooling fan, RAM, and hard drive (using a SATA cable). Connect the power supply unit to the motherboard and attach the power cables to the CPU power and hard drive. Plug in the PCI-E risers and plug in power from the power supply. Attach the GPU to the PCI-E power riser card, a keyboard to the motherboard, and a HDMI monitor to the GPU card. Plug the power cord to your power supply and turn it on. It’s recommended that you start with one GPU until it starts working before adding another one.

Once you’ve launched your rig, go to BIOS and update it (currently at 0812). You can use Windows, or Linux to run the mining rig, but the EthosDistro mining operating system is the most commonly used because it boots to a screen that’s more user-friendly. Once the screen is up, you will see the IP address and all details of your mining rig. Once your GPU starts working, you can now add more, adding one at a time and rebooting each time.

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