Zcash (ZEC) is a digital currency that gives priority to user privacy. As a result, the coin aims to ensure thoroughly anonymous transactions even though it possesses the attributes of a public blockchain. Zcash was first released in October 2016 to offer more privacy to bitcoin users, who at the time lacked much of it. While Zcash is a fork of the Bitcoin protocol, it, however, maintains a separate blockchain.
The coin relies on Zero-knowledge cryptography to strengthen user privacy. Bitcoin uses private keys to establish the identity of users. Bitcoin’s blockchain holds on to a record of all transactions carried out on the network, plus the address of the people involved in the operation as well as the amount transacted. Anyone can access this information.
For users who value privacy, this is great cause for concern. As a result, Zcash was developed to plug the privacy gap. Unlike Bitcoin, Zcash’s blockchain only shows that a transaction has taken place. It does not disclose the amount involved or any information that concerns the parties to the transaction. This is because Zcash’s zk-SNARKs technology is focused on ensuring privacy.
More so, the Zcash hashing algorithm, Equihash, conflicts with the Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), Bitcoin’s hashing algorithm. Equihash is rather ideally suited to GPU mining. To mine ZEC, you will need to contribute to the network by dedicating computing power to authenticating transactions on the blockchain. It takes about 2.5 minutes to mine a Zcash block. Miners who successfully solve a puzzle get rewarded with ten ZEC coins for each block decrypted.
Why You Should Mine Zcash
Zcash is in high demand and can easily be traded for Bitcoin due to the relationship that exists between the two. As such, it offers a cost-effective way for you to build up a holding position in today’s most in-demand cryptocurrency. Furthermore, mining Zcash is a subsidized means of obtaining a functional GPU.
Also, since ZEC can easily be exchanged for Bitcoin, which in turn, is easily convertible into fiat money, mining Zcash offers a profitable way for you to stack up your bank account.
Another advantage is that ZEC is traded on several exchange platforms and miners can easily get ready buyers for their coins.
Therefore, Zcash is one of the highest-priced altcoins today. As a result, it offers an excellent profit potential. Thus, you can maximize your profits depending on how familiar you are with the market.
With Zcash the possibilities are limitless. This mining guide will help you to learn everything you need to know about Zcash mining.
Mining Zcash: What GPU Hardware Should You Choose?
Mining is the primary method of acquiring ZCash. This is like printing your own Zcash money.
The experience you will have mining ZEC depends on the GPU hardware you settle for. When it comes down to choosing what GPU to go for, the battle often narrows down to one between AMD and Nvidia. It is essential to always bear in mind that the card you will use depends on the hashing algorithm as well as the currency you are mining for. There are instances where AMD performs better than Nvidia. However, it does not top Nvidia regarding Zcash mining. Nvidia is best suited for Zcash’s Equihash algorithm, especially if you intend to utilize the EWBF miner.
Whichever graphics card you decide to settle for, it should have a minimum of 1 gig of RAM, so long as you are using the EWBF miner. However, it is recommended that you avoid using older cards since they tend to be less energy-efficient. To maximize the mining experience, you will be better off going with the Nvidia 1060 with at least six gigs of RAM. It is one of the most efficient GPUs for mining Zcash.
Step One: Install Your Video Card Drivers
For Users of Nvidia GPU Drivers
You can download the most recent offering of the Nvidia GeForce drivers by visiting https://www.geforce.com/drivers. Select the details of your card in the fields provided and hit the “Start Search” button highlighted in green. The search results are listed in order from the most recent to the oldest versions. Click on the top result to download the latest driver for your device.
Install the downloaded drivers the usual way and reboot your PC. After the reboot, go to your system’s device manager to confirm whether the drivers installed correctly and have been recognized. There should not be any warning marks on the GPUs if the drivers installed appropriately. Otherwise, you may need to uninstall all GPUs and install one card first.
After that, install the drivers, then turn off your PC. Start the system again, then install the remaining GPUs. You might want to use the Display Driver Uninstaller for this purpose. You can even use the program to clean your system after uninstalling the GPUs. This will give you a cleaner platform to do over.
For Users of AMD GPU Drivers
To install AMD GPU drivers on your computer, go to AMD.com and select the “Support & Drivers” option. Enter your GPU-related details and hit the “Display Results” button. To download the most recent drivers, press the Download option right away. If on the other hand, you wish to use an older driver, you can select the “Previous Drivers & Software” option to your right.
If you are using the most recent card such as the RX 500 series, then you should move with the times and get the latest drivers for your device. Users with the RX 400 series can go with the more recent 16.10.3 version or the older 16.9.2 one. If your card is R9 or older, you should get version 15.12.
Step Two: Get A Wallet Where You Can Store Your Zcash
To get started with Zcash mining, you need to set up a wallet address where you can store your coins. We‘ll suggest getting the official Zcash client from https://z.cash/download.html. If you are not comfortable with this option, then you could simply get a secure hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S, Trezor, or even Jaxx.
If you prefer to mine your ZEC directly to exchange platforms, you can do that too. Remember that the exchange you’re sending your rewards to should support the currency. The goal here is to have a place where you can store your coins.
Step Three: Download a Mining Software
When it comes to Zcash mining, the EWBF miner offers improved performance over other options. To get the application, head over to https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1707546.0 to download it to your PC.
Remember to download the latest version. You can use the program to mine any Equihash-based cryptocurrency. After the download, extract the file to your desktop.
Step Four: Make Changes to Your PC Settings
Configuring your system for mining is essential. One of the changes you should make to your Windows is to prevent it from turning off the display, as this can get in the way of the mining process. To do this, click the “Start” button, then select Control Panel. Next, go to System and Security, then click Power Options. Set the “Turn Off/Sleep” option to “Never.”
After that, you should increase the virtual memory. Type “This PC” in the Search option, right click on it, and select “Properties.” After that, select the “Advanced System Settings“ option. On the “Advanced” tab, you will see a place that reads “Performance.” Select the “Settings” option, then hit “Advanced.”
You should see an option that says “Virtual memory’ at the bottom. Select the “Change” option. Untick the “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives“ option, then tick “Custom size.“ Enter 16,384 (16GB) for “Initial size” and “Maximum size.” Hit “Set,” “OK,” then “Apply. “
It is also recommended that you stop Windows Update to reduce interruptions during mining. Further, ensure to add the EWBF folder as an exclusion so that Windows Defender won’t scan it.
Step Five: Choose a Zcash Mining Pool and Set Up Your Bat File for Mining
The cost of running a solo mining activity is so high that it forces most miners to resort to joining a pool. With your system ready to begin operations, the next step is for you to choose a profitable mining pool. There are many pools that you can go with, but Flypool (zcash.flypool.org) is often the most recommended pool for Zcash mining. It charges a low commission and controls more than 50% of the network hash rate.
On the Flypool website mentioned above, click on the “Windows-Nvidia” section, you should see the EWBF miner there. Copy the miner script from there and paste it into the Flypool bat file you previously extracted. Right click on the bat file named “flypool,” then select the Edit option.