First and foremost, thing you need to do is get a “Bitcoin Wallet”. Because Bitcoin is
an internet based currency, you need a place to keep your Bitcoins. Go
to http://www.bitcoin.org and
download the Bitcoin client for your Operating System. Install it the
client will begin to download the blockchain. Downloading the blockchain
can take a long time and will be over 6GB of data. If you have data
caps, I would recommend ordering a copy of the blockchain on DVD to keep
from going over as it is growing exponentially. Once the client is up to date, click “New” to get your wallet address.
It will be a long sequence of letters and numbers. One of most important
things you can do is make sure you have a copy of the wallet.dat file
on a thumb drive and print a copy out and keep it in a safe location.
You can view a tutorial on how to create a secure wallet by clicking the
link on the top of the page. The reason is that if you computer crashes
and you do not have a copy of your wallet.dat file, you will lose all
of your Bitcoins. They won’t go to someone else, they will disappear
forever. It is like burning cash.
Now that you have a wallet and the client, you are probably roaring to
go, but if you actually want to make Bitcoin (money), you probably need
to join a pool. A pool is a group that combines their computing power to
make more Bitcoins. The reason you shouldn’t go it alone is that
Bitcoins are awarded in blocks, usually 50 at a time, and unless you get
extremely lucky, you will not be getting any of those coins. In a pool,
you are given smaller and easier algorithms to solve and all of your
combined work will make you more likely to solve the bigger algorithm
and earn Bitcoins that are spread out throughout the pool based on your
contribution. Basically, you will make a more consistent amount of
Bitcoins and will be more likely to receive a good return on your
The pool that I’m involved in is called Slush's Pool
so I will be giving instructions on how to join there but feel free to
look at other options. Follow the link to go to their site and click the
“Sign up here” link at the top of their site and follow their step by
step instructions. After you have your account set up, you will need to
add a “Worker”. Basically, for every miner that you have running, you
will need to have a worker ID so the pool can keep track of your
If you are mining with an ASIC, please go to our Mining with ASICs page. The following will only pertain to GPU miners.
Most of the mining programs out there are pretty complicated to setup
and will frustrate your average user. Recently a great program has come
out to get the most basic of users started. The program is called GUIMiner.
Click the link and download the program (Be careful, some of the ads
are set up to look like the file download). Install and run the program
and add in your information from Slush’s Pool. Remember that the user
name is actually the worker name. The worker name will be your user
name, dot, worker ID (username.worker ID) and the password from that
Mac users should look into using Astroid.
Now that you are set up, you can start mining. If you feel like you
want to make more Bitcoins, you might want to invest in mining hardware.
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