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1st BTC/Altcoin Mining Guide, Feedback Welcome!

When I decided to write this guide, I was throwing cryptocurrencies around like they were nothing. I was foolish in the fact that I disregarded the exchange fees that are attached with the services that those exchanges provided. I'm in by no means a cryptocurrency genius, and I'm still not extremely seasoned at it, but I've learned enough about cryptocurrencies in the past month that I feel confident to pass on the knowledge I have learned and to help those who are overwhelmed on where to start.
So what exactly is a cryptocurrency? According to technopedia (n.d.) a Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency that is based on cryptography. Cryptocurrency uses cryptography for security, making it difficult to counterfeit. Public and private keys are often used to transfer the currency from one person to another.
When mining cryptocurrencies, one important concept needs to be established, and that's hash rate. Hash rate is simply a unit of measurement of processing power. The more your hash rate is, the more profitable mining becomes.
This guide uses specific sites and software, chosen by myself, as a great springboard into the cryptocurrency world. These sites and software are extremely flexible, easy to use, and integrate very well together. The mining pools I've chosen are multiple currency pools, designed to consolidate a major of the cryptocurrencies together, and instead of using several mining pools, you use three.
These are the things you'll need to get started: MultiMiner
Accounts at Coinotron, The Mining Pool Co., and BitMinter
Accounts at Cryptsy and Coinbase
There are a few different ways to mine for cryptocurrencies, the common of which are using your Central Processing Unit (CPU), Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), and Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) devices. CPU based mining is not profitable any longer, and will cost you money in the end by increasing electricity costs. GPU based mining is still popular, but losing steam against ASIC based mining. If you choose to use your GPU for mining, AMD/ATI based graphics cards (especially the Radeon HD 79xx series of cards), are the most efficient. If you have an nVidia based graphics card, I'm sorry. You can still mine on nVidia cards, but your hash rates are going to be much slower when compared to their AMD/ATI counterparts. If you chose to use GPU mining, Black Friday or Cyber Monday are you best bets for upgrading your equipment. ASIC based mining is quickly losing value with the changing difficulty on all networks, but it's the most cost effective way to increase your hash rate, and see a positive return on any equipment purchases. If my math is correct, using the methods in this guide, in order for any ASIC device to yield a positive cash flow, you've got to get a device that has at least a 5Gh/s rate (such as the Butterfly Labs Jalapeno).
Now for the fun part, explaining how everything in this well greased machine is going to work. Patience plays a big part in the cryptocurrency world, and when I first started, I had none. I was so eager to see the amount of Bitcoin go up, regardless of how much I was getting penalized in fees from trading. So, that's the first step on your journey. PATIENCE. I CANNOT emphasize this enough. Sometimes, you've just got to hurry up and wait, the effects of waiting things out on the cryptocurrency market WILL PAY OFF.
Step one of this machine is signing up for all three pools (BitMinter, Coinotron, and Mining Pool Co.). This is so that you can actually get server addresses to plug into MultiMiner, after signing up for these services though, you've still got a ways to go.
Step two is sign up for Cryptsy. I chose Cryptsy because of the features they're going to offer at a later time, as well as support for 60 cryptocurrencies (which covers all but one of which we can mine). When your Cryptsy account is setup, you will need to go into the Balances portion of Cryptsy, and find all of the currencies in which you will be mining from the pools. Once Balances are loaded up, you will need to click on the Actions button next to the currency, and click Deposit / Autosell, and then Generate Address. There's a small clipboard near the address it generated, and that will copy the address for pasting in the mining pool websites. You will want to copy, and paste all of them to a text document, along with which currency it belongs to. Not only does this keep you from juggling back and forth trying to figure out things, but it helps for reference and setting up MultiMiner.
Once you have those accounts setup, you'll want to sign up for Coinbase. A WORD OF WARNING FOR THOSE WHO ARE PARANOID... Coinbase will want to link to a bank account, this is mandatory if you want to trade your currencies for cash. If you want to trade currencies, just for the sake of trading, then you can skip Coinbase altogether. You can transfer your Bitcoins from Cryptsy straight into Coinbase, and then sell the Bitcoins from Coinbase, and straight into your designated bank account.
MultiMiner, oh how amazing you are. For every cryptocurrency available in all pools, you will need to add these coins, along with server addresses, log-ins and passwords. To do so, click on the drop down next to the Settings button, and click Coins. From there, click on Add Coin, and choose each coin from a pool. This will list it in the box to the left, and give you the ability to add information on the right. You can add multiple servers as well, in case the current server you're mining on goes down. After all your coins are setup, you'll need to setup your Strategies. Click the drop down next to Settings, and chose Strategies. Check the Enable Strategies check box, choosing Straight Profitability from the drop down, and checking the Strategy every five minutes (that way you're not losing money by mining something that has dropped in price). This aggressive price checking makes it to where you're always on top with whatever you're mining. Also make sure you have Mine the Single Most Profitable Coin selected. Stick with CoinChoose as your price source (under Settings), as CoinWarz charges for there services beyond a certain point. Click Start, and take a vacation.
Reading the charts on Cryptsy can be a little tricky, and scary if you've never saw those types of graphs before. Those graphs are called Candlestick Charts, and are used primarily in the stock market. I won't go in to great detail on this, however, you can find a nice cheat sheet on the subject here.
I hope everyone enjoyed the guide, sorry for being punctual and brief, but there isn't anything too elaborate of complicated about searching for cryptocurrencies. I love mining as a hobby, mining's fun, and if there is any money to be made off of mining from my end, great, if not, I had fun mining.
While compiling a spreadsheet of the minable currencies in this guide, if everything is set up correctly (and assuming servers aren't down), you should be able to mine the following:
And while Mining Pool Co. offers ASICcoin and Unobtainium, ASICcoin isn't supported in MultiMiner, and Unobtanium isn't supported in Cryptsy. I still mine for Unobtanium in hopes that Cryptsy will include it one day.
References
Cryptocurrency. (n.d.). In technopedia. Retrieved from http://www.technopedia.com/
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