Bitcoin Mining – Getting Started

Bitcoin mining can be an amazing opportunity for profit and investment. The only problem is, there are not a whole lot of resources available on line for the beginner, to learn what it is they need to know before getting started. Many of the websites that do offer guides on Bitcoin mining are written for the advanced users, who are already well versed in coding and have plenty of experience with Ubuntu, Linux, and Mac operating systems. This simplified guide was created for those who are just getting into Bitcoin mining.

The very first thing you need to do before you can get started is to create a “Bitcoin Wallet”.  In the Internet world, Bitcoin is a form of currency, and this is where you will be storing yours as it accumulates. You can get yours by visiting  http://www.bitcoin.org  Here you will find a link to download and install the Bitcoin client for whatever operating system your PC is running. Downloading the blockchain part may take a while, considering that it will be larger than 6 GB worth of data. Install it the client will begin to download the blockchain. Since the download size of the blockchain is so large, it is a good idea to order it on DVD. After all, it is going to continue growing as time goes on. To get your own DVD, you can click here to  order the bitcoin blockchain by mail.

Once the client is finished downloading, you must click the “New” option, after which a long line of numbers and letters will be displayed. This is your wallet’s address, and it is very important to keep it in a safe place so that you will always have access to it. It is also a good idea to store more than one copy of the wallet.dat file, each in a different location. Perhaps, one on a thumb drive, and then another printed out.

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This is a major step in creating a secure wallet, for, if in the unfortunate event that you no longer have access to your computer and you don’t have a copy of your wallet file, your bitcoins will be lost. It is much like losing your wallet in real life. The only difference is that if you lost your real wallet, there is a chance that someone would find it, and maybe even keep the money in it for themselves. When you lose the file for your Bitcoin wallet, no one gets it. It’s like money gone in to thin air. Gone.

So, you know what it takes to get your wallet and client, but don’t think your ready to just jump right in yet; For your Bitcoin wallet to have any chance of filling up, the idea is to join in on a pool.

A pool is what a group is called that combines there powers to make more of a profit. Bitcoins are not awarded one by one, but in blocks of at least 50. It would take a streak of extreme luckiness for you to get in on any of that Bitcoin without being a part of the pool. Why?

In a pool, the Bitcoins earned are distributed amongst the pool based on each individual’s contribution in solving the algorithms. These algorithms are smaller and easier to solve as part of a group than on your own. This, in turn, leads to a more consistent Bitcoin flow and much higher return from your investment.

There are numerous options when it comes to joining a Bitcoin mining pool. Slush’s Pool is the one I joined, and a pretty good place to get started. You can check it out for yourself by clicking the link. Sign up is easy, you just have to follow their step by step instructions. Once you have completed doing this, at is time to “add a Worker”. This is so that you can obtain a Worker ID. For each miner you start running, you will need another Worker ID. This is how your contributions can be monitored withing the pool so that the Bitcoin can be distributed accordingly.

If you are a GPU miner, the following information will be of use to you. ASIC miners will find the Mining with ASICs page more helpful.

Most of the Bitcoin mining programs out there are fairly complicated and often times frustrating to set up. One recently developed program, GUIMiner, is extremely helpful in helping new users to get started. It is simple enough for even the most basic users. You can download it by clicking on the link. After you install the program, just enter in the information you got from Slush’s Pool. You’ll be asked for your user name (which is the name of the worker you created). The worker name is in the format of username.worker ID. You will also enter the worker ID password.

Once you have done all of these things, you have setup the foundation to begin mining. If you really start seeing the Bitcoins roll in, you may want to consider springing for some specialized mining hardware. This is an investment that I ‘be found is really worth making.