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ZCash is a privacy-oriented open-source cryptocurrency. This makes it different than other popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, which often fail to provide substantial privacy protections to users.ZCash is a privacy-oriented open-source cryptocurrency. This makes it different than other popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, which often fail to provide substantial privacy protections to users.

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Like bitcoin, any user can learn how to mine ZCash. If you invest in the appropriate hardware, program it to operate on the Zcash network, and begin running the software, you will start creating Zcash in your own wallet.

Unlike bitcoin, ZCash is an equihash currency. This makes it easier for new miners to make gains without losing out to large-scale mining operations with purpose-built equipment and infrastructure.

What Does Equihash Mean?

As an equihash currency, ZCash uses a memory-oriented proof-of-work algorithm to protect against centralization and keep its miners on relatively equal footing. The equihash algorithm uses a computer’s random-access memory (RAM) to solve a useful scientific algorithm in a way that is very easy to verify.

By comparison, bitcoin mining uses CPU-processing power to solve arbitrary cryptographic problems. The issue here is that while it is easy, though expensive, to create a purpose-built custom computer for mining bitcoin, it is not cost-effective to do the same thing with an equihash currency.

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Essentially, the equihash algorithm eliminates the ability to mine ZCash with highly customized mining rigs that outperform other users on the network. Everyone who mines is on roughly equal ground, so long as they have sufficient RAM to perform the calculations required.

ZCash isn’t the only cryptocurrency to use this algorithm, but it is the most successful. The algorithm itself is portable enough to become the basis on any blockchain programming initiative.

Why Should You Mine ZCash?

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However, unlike similarly mature cryptocurrencies, it is nowhere close to its maximum trade volume. Since cryptocurrencies generally lose value as supply increases, yet gain value as demand increases, there is a lot of room for growth in the world of ZCash.

This means that people who learn how to mine ZCash now can start the process while it is still profitable, and make significant gains down the line when supply and demand serve to increase both the value and volume of the currency itself.

It is a general truth that the earlier you begin mining, the greater gains you can earn in the long run. In 2016, right after the ZCash genesis block was mined, there were only ZCash coins in existence and each one cost around 3000 bitcoins! This is no longer the case, but beginning miners who start now can still make significant profits by choosing to mine a coin that is not yet fully mature.

How to Mine ZCash: Step-by-Step

The first thing you’ll need to start mining ZCash is software. There are three main options for mining ZCash that new miners should consider. The one you choose will be based on what kind of processor your computer uses:

  • CPU. MinerGate or NiceHash
  • AMD GPU. Claymore’s Miner
  • nVidia GPU. dstm’s CUDA ZCash Miner

If you are eager to begin mining as quickly and as easily as possible using a regular computer, NiceHash is a good pick for CPU users. However, it will not provide you with a great deal of ZCash in the end because the mining platform is not optimized for the equihash algorithm. NiceHash users can expect a hash rate of around 30% less than Claymore’s or CUDA users.

As a result, this guide will focus more on the more beneficial AMD and nVidia GPU options. Anyone who is interested in mining should already own one of these two processors – they are fundamental to the mining algorithms of most popular cryptocurrencies.

How to Mine ZCash with CPU

If you want to get started mining and don’t mind losing 30% of your hash rate to more powerful miners, all you need to do is to establish a cryptocurrency wallet to store your funds and to sign on with a mining pool. NiceHash is an excellent choice because it combines both the mining software and the mining pool in one package, which makes life easy for beginners.

First, download the Nicehash miner, making sure to select the latest release. Once you have it, extract the files in the downloaded .zip folder. There are two versions of the NiceHash mining software. They differ only in the currency used to pay out mining rewards:

  • nheqminer. This miner pays you in Bitcoin.
  • nheqminer_zcash. This miner pays you in ZCash.

This article will assume you want to be paid in ZCash. You will need to open up the appropriate mining application and replace a few pieces of information. Open up Command Prompt and type the following code:

nheqminer_zcash.exe -l us -u YOUR_WALLET_ADDRESS -t 8

If you are using the Nicehash mining pool, “-l us” tells command prompt that you are located in the United States. The “-u” command points to your wallet address, and the “-t 8” tells the mining software to use 8 CPU threads to perform mining calculations. If you have a more powerful computer, you can increase this number to match the number of cores your CPU has.

Once you hit enter, the program will begin mining. You can check your progress by logging into your mining pool.

How to Mine ZCash with an AMD GPU

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Once you extract Claymore’s Miner, you must edit the configuration file to point to your ZCash address, and then set your mining pool. Your mining pool is the location where your mined ZCash will go once the network creates it, and each pool will generally charge a 1% fee for their services maintaining the network.

United States-based ZCash miners can use Flypool, which assesses a 1% fee and requires a minimum payout of 0.001 ZCash.

You’ll need to set your server address to target Flypool’s United States server. To do this, open config.txt and insert “-zpool us1-zcash.flypool.org.333”. Add your ZCash wallet address to the configuration file by adding “-zwal YOUR_WALLET_ADDRESS”

Now, you will need to add a few more lines of code to your configuration file in order to ensure your AMD GPU is optimized for performance. This is particularly important for GPUs that feature between 1-2 GB of memory.

GPU_FORCE_64BIT_PTR 1

GPU_MAX_HEAP_SIZE 100

GPU_USE_SYNC_OBJECTS 1

GPU_MAX_ALLOC_PERCENT 100

GPU_SINGLE_ALLOC_PERCENT 100

Once you’ve finished editing your configuration file, you have to make sure you have enough virtual memory to handle the mining process. To do this, you’ll have to search for your computer’s system configuration in Windows.

  • Open up System Properties.
  • Click on Performance Settings.
  • In the Virtual Memory tab, click on Change.
  • Uncheck the box next to Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.
  • Input the maximum size possible (up to 16 GB) in the Initial and Maximum custom fields.

Now, all you need to do is open up your mining software and click on the Start.bat file and you will begin mining ZCash with an AMD GPU. You can check on your statistics on the Flypool website by entering your public address.

How to Mine Zcash with a nVidia GPU

If your computer has a Nvidia GPU, you will have to use a different mining application. Download dstm’s CUDA ZCash Miner to get started.

The first thing you’ll have to do is configure the mining software. This means entering your ZCash address and setting your preferred mining pool.

United States-based ZCash miners can use Flypool. This pool assesses a 1% fee and requires a minimum payout of 0.001 ZCash. Set your server to a close location to the pool’s United States server for optimal performance.

The file that you will need to configure is called start.bat. Right-click on the file and open it in a simple text editor. Input your flypool address where you see “miner –”, like so:

miner –server us1-zcash.flypool.org

Do the same for your wallet address right after. This should make the file look something like this:

miner –server us1-zcash.flypool.org –user YOUR_WALLET_ADDRESS — pass z — port 3333

In order to mine ZCash efficiently, you will need to make sure your system has virtual memory enabled and its able to take advantage of it optimally. To do this, you will need to open your system settings:

  • Open up System Properties.
  • Select the Advanced tab and open Performance Settings.
  • Select the Advanced tab again and click on Change.
  • Uncheck the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives box.
  • Input the maximum allowable custom range up to 16 GB into the Initial and Maximum fields.

At this point you are ready to start mining ZCash. Simply click on Start.bat and the process will begin. You can log into Flypool to check your status and measure your progress against other miners.

Start Mining with ZCash

Beginners interested in learning how to mind ZCash have an easy time setting up the necessary software with no knowledge of code or blockchain programming. The ZCash team designed the process to be as easy as possible while still providing optimal privacy to ZCash users.

So get mining!

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