Thursday, February 7, 2013

How To Join A Mining Pool (CPU Edition)

Update 1, 09/11/2013: Download this Bitcoin Mining Package I prepared, read the README.txt inside and then read this tutorial. (Note: browsers and antivirus software consider miner programs are malware, so you might get a warning. Ignore it!)

Have you got your digital wallet set up? Nice! Have you collected your first bitcoins from some of these websites? Great! Then I guess your next logical step is to get a first taste of Bitcoin Mining!

Become a happy Bitcoin Miner!

What Is This All About?

  • Conventional money is made out of thin air. Bitcoins are created by computers running a special program called a "Bitcoin Miner". 
  • Without getting too much into details, let's say that this program solves computationally difficult problems, and if it succeeds, you get rewarded by a certain amount of bitcoins (25฿ at this moment). Read more about this here.
  • As you can expect, there's a huge competition between miners to be the ones who solve this problem and get the full 25฿. Nowadays it's pretty difficult to invest on bitcoin mining hardware (and electricity!) and turn a profit. Read more here.
  • Here's where Mining Pools come in handy. A mining pool is a group of computers running the bitcoin miner program. When one of them solves the computationally difficult problem and gets the 25฿, the bitcoins are shared between all the computers of the pool; this way, each participant gets a share of the bounty, even if it wasn't the one which solved the problem. More information here.

Arrrrrrr! I got this bounty of Bitcoins with my friends!

That Sounds Cool. How Do I Join One Of These Pools?

This was really difficult to figure out on my own when I got into the Bitcoin world, even with all the tutorials you can find around. I'll tell you the exact steps you must take in order to join a especific pool. After this, you'll be able to join any mining pool you wish:

  1. Update 1, 09/11/2013: Download this Bitcoin Mining Package I prepared, read the README.txt inside and forget about points 2 and 7. Joining a pool works almost the same for every mining pool. (Note: browsers and antivirus software consider miner programs are malware, so you might get a warning. Ignore it!)
  2. Download the Ufasoft Coin program and install it. It's one of the most used bitcoin miners in the world.
  3. Go to this website and create an account (click on "Register Account" and complete your details).
  4. Once you are logged in on this website with your newly created account, go to the "Account" section and change your payout address (enter your bitcoin address so as they know where they must send the bitcoins you mine).
  5. Now go to the "Workers" section. Add a new worker with its name (which could simply be "Worker") and its password (for example, "P").
  6. You'll see now that at the bottom of the page your worker has been created. Its name will have the format "YourAccount_WorkerName".
  7. Now download this file and place it in the Ufasoft Coin installation folder (which will surely be C:/Program Files/Ufasoft/Coin/).
  8. Select the file and open it with a text editor.
  9. Substitute the field "[WorkerName]" with the name of the worker you just created and "[Password]" with the password associated to your worker (it should be something like "...http://YourAccount_Worker:P@..." after the edition). Save the file (its name should be "StartMining.bat").
  10. Double-click the file. If you did everything correctly, a command prompt window will open and your computer will start mining bitcoins. Let this window open and wait until you get some shares. It could take minutes... Or hours. Don't despair. Bitcoin mining is a bit like fishing. You've got to wait.
  11. Explore the website where you made your account to learn more about how this mining pool works.

This Is Too Difficult!

Really? Hmmm... May I help you with an image of the whole process? Update 1, 09/11/2013: Download this Bitcoin Mining Package instead of the two files shown on this image:

(Click to expand)

If you still have any problems to make it work, don't hesitate to ask in the comments.

Happy mining!

Next step: Site Review: SatoshiDice

Get Free Bitcoins From These Websites

This list is checked daily to ensure that all of these websites actually send free bitcoins!:

Daily Bitcoins (read our review here)
CoinAd (read our review here) (and read this too)
BitVisitor (read our review here)
Earn Free Bitcoins (read our review here)
CoinVisitor (read our review here) (and read this too) (and this!)
BitCoin4YOU (read our review here)
Bunny Run (read our review here)
Bitcoiner (read our review here)
Bitcoin Faucet (read our review here)
CoinTicket (read our review here)
Coin Reaper (read our review here)
BTC For Me (read our review here)
Free BTC PT (read our review here)
BitSprinkle (read our review here)
Bit Hits
Omnicoins (read this post first!)

Do you know of any other website that gives bitcoins for free? Tell us on the comments!

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