How Does One Mine Litecoins?
I'm assuming that if you're here, on this site, reading this article then you know what Litecoin is and what is meant by the term mining for Litecoins. If not, Google is your friend.
I receintly took a look into mining for Litecoins and what it would take to convert by Linux file server into a mining machine. This is the first part of my story and an outline of the basic steps that I followed while experimenting with Litecoins.
Step 0: Create a Wallet
Even before you start mining for Litecoins you should download the offical Litecoin application from the official Litecoin.org website. Download, install, and launch this application. Doing so will create your first Litecoin Address and enable you to create many more. It also takes a while to synchronize so put this app in the background and continue on.
Step 1: CPU Mining
The first step, and technically this is optional, is to try get a system setup that can mine using your CPUs. This is not a long-term solution and you'll lose money doing it (due to high power consumption and low hash rates of CPUs), but it's a good way to get your feet wet. You'll learn how to create a Wallet (check!), compile the mining program, and actually start generating hashes.
The application you'll use to mine for Litecoins is called cpuminer and can be downloaded here.
These are the basic instructions for installing cpuminer:
sudo apt-get install build-essential libcurl4-openssl-dev git clone https://github.com/pooler/cpuminer.git cd cpuminer ./autogen.sh ./configure CFLAGS="-O3" make
This will leave an executable file in the current directory called minerd.
More help and info can be found on this thread including other installation instructions and a few technical details.
Step 2: Sign Up For A Pool
The probability that you'll find the correct Litecoin hash on your own is pretty slim. The general recommendation is to join a pool and contribute your computing power to a collective in hopes that the group will be able to find the hash faster and more often. A list of pools can be found here along with descriptions for the different reward types and fee structures. The pool I joined was a recognized name: Elitist Jerks. A web site I frequented during my World of Warcraft days.
Step 3: Put Your Worker To Work
Once you have an account with your pool you can create a worker. To use as an example, I created one called "mr_linux" with a password of "zippy". The worker password should be different than the password you use to access your pool's website.
Somewhere your pool should provide you with the URL to use when submitting hashes. Use this URL along with the worker name and password to fire up the minerd tool.
./minerd --url stratum+tcp://pool.ejpool.info:9333 --userpass pool_user.mr_linux:zippy
I have an Ubuntu Linux box that I use as a home file server. It has a dual-core Intel E6500 CPU and 2 Gigs of system memory. My little powerhouse can pump out about 8.3 kilohashes per second (Kh/s) using the CPUs. This is pretty slow and really shouldn't be maintained unless you have really cheap electricity and a well ventilated case.
Step 4. What's Next?
CPU mining is obviously not the way to go, but it does provide a good and somewhat simple experiment to get everything setup. Part 2 will cover the next step: GPU mining using a video card. Stay tuned!