Bitcoin is not going anywhere. And Bitcoin mining is not going anywhere either. The digital asset is the largest by market cap and takes the lion’s share of investors’ crypto interest. It is also being rapidly adopted by institutional firms, with financial services behemoths such as Goldman Sachs starting Bitcoin offerings. Several merchants also allow customers to use it for payments.
Against this backdrop, there might also be in parallel an increased interest in Bitcoin mining. But not all Bitcoin mining software fare equally, and each offers specific attributes, depending on what you want to achieve.
What Is Bitcoin Mining?
It involves decentralized networks of computers around the world that verify and secure blockchains — the virtual ledgers that document cryptocurrency transactions. In return for contributing their processing power, computers on the network are rewarded with new coins. It’s a virtuous circle: the miners maintain and secure the blockchain, the blockchain awards the coins and the coins provide an incentive for the miners to maintain the blockchain.
For this all to work, this global web of computers must agree on a common state of the network. That means that all computers must agree on which users, identified publicly by addresses, own which Bitcoin balances, according to NYDIG.
And now, off to the actual mining software.
Best Overall Bitcoin Miner: CGMiner
Its ease of use includes the fact that the software can run on all computers, including Windows, Mac and Linux and is open-sourced.
CGMiner is a multi-threaded multi-pool field-programmable gate array and application-specific integrated circuits miner for Bitcoin. This code is provided entirely free of charge by the programmer in his spare time. The software was developed by Con Kolivas, a computer programmer on the Linux kernel. It is also a miner for other cryptos including Dogecoin and Litecoin.
- Ease of use
- Numerous features
- Difficulty of use for beginners
- Software reportedly difficult to install on Windows 10
Easiest To Use: MultiMiner
MultiMiner is a very simple way to get started mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It can be set up to start mining automatically when you power on your computer, making it ideal for users who just want to set-and-forget.
MultiMiner supports mining with graphical processing units, ASICs and FPGA circuits. It is available for Windows, macOS and Linux and makes it possible to mine Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, Litecoin, Zcash and many more.
One positive is that users can access configurable strategies to automatically switch to mining the most profitable crypto. The application updates itself automatically, meaning you should always have the most up to date version of MultiMiner and BFGMiner — the underlying mining engine that powers MultiMiner. There are also helpful tips that define some of the terms that will be unfamiliar to new miners.
- Simple interface
- Easy to choose which cryptocurrency to mine by detecting the hardware you have available on your device
- Less suited for advanced users as it has fewer customization options
A Simple Option: Easyminer.net
The software is free and open source, so you can customize and adjust it to suit your needs. It allows users to mine Bitcoin, Litecoin and other cryptos.
One of the appeals for novices is that its website is slick, clear and explanatory. According to Easyminer, the software is hassle-free and enables users to set it up in just a few minutes.
Additional features include its “one of a kind” security, analytics and real-time statistics, which displays hash rate, accepted/invalid and total shares in the past hour, earnings and many other features and a personal wallet management.
- Its ease of use has it claiming that it makes “mining easy like a Sunday morning”
- Extra security protocol
- It is incompatible with macOS software
Most Customizable: BFGMiner
This is a multi-threaded, multi-blockchain, multi-pool ASIC, FPGA, GPU and CPU miner with dynamic clocking, monitoring and fan-speed support for Bitcoin.
Like MultiMiner, with BFGMiner you can monitor your mining rigs remotely, and you can even monitor your hardware’s temperature to make sure it is not overheating. Another feature offered by BFGMiner is the ability to mine multiple coins with different hashing algorithms at the same time, giving users the opportunity to mine regularly, hedge or take additional risks by mining different cryptocurrencies.
- Higher customization
- Can mine remotely
- Installing it on anything other than Windows can be difficult
- Suited for more advanced miners
Most Flexible: Awesome Miner
Awesome Miner provides centralized management for up to 200,000 miners from a single user interface. All popular ASIC miners are supported and all popular GPU and central processing unit mining software are also supported. It also has several features to serve high demanding operations, as well as a dashboard, which gives an overview of all running miners and their total performance, revenue, profit and power consumption.
Awesome Miner is also well-known in the mining industry and has a large and active user community, making it possible to discuss and share ideas with many experienced users.
- Installs on Windows seamlessly
- Users can manage and monitor the mining of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and other cryptocurrency
- Incompatible with macOS software
Most Transparent: ECOS
ECOS, launched in 2017, is a crypto investment platform with tools including cloud Bitcoin mining, buying equipment with high hash power, crypto wallet, exchanger and cryptocurrency portfolios. It boasts itself as a meta-universe of crypto investments available to everyone.
- Provides a free cloud mining contract for 1 month for new users
- Variety of tools available
- Cloud mining contracts are only for Bitcoin mining
Best Cloud Mining: NiceHash
NiceHash has an easy to use set up that allows users to start mining almost instantly, as well as a profitability calculator to estimate how much you will make mining Bitcoin based on your initial costs.
NiceHash was founded in 2014 and is used daily by cryptocurrency miners, buyers of hash power and crypto traders.
- Allows users from all over the world to sell, buy and rent their computing power to interested users
- Easy to set up
- Remote mining is not suitable for long-term crypto investments
Additional Option: Kryptex Miner
Kryptex Miner combines the processing power of thousands of computers to run complex distributed cryptocurrency computations. Kryptex is meant to work in the background and will pay users for the work their computer does. Basically, you can keep Kryptex running and use browsers and other apps.
How much you can earn depends on your PC’s processing power and luck, Kryptex says. For example, users with gaming PCs can earn about $95 per month, and users with more expensive — and hence more powerful — mining rigs or farms, can earn between $615 and $13570 a month.
- Capability of running on Windows
- App that pays you for the computing power of you
- Comparatively low profitability
Bitcoin — and other cryptos — mining can be accessible if you have the time and the means to get started. Make sure you pick the software most adapted to your needs and understanding of the process.
Additional considerations users should take into account include the platform’s reputation and the ease of withdrawal.
Information is accurate as of June 24, 2022.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.