Zcash Mining Hardware and Software

Zcash Mining Hardware and software
Zcash Mining Hardware and Software
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The majority of miners tend to focus their efforts on mining bitcoins, without getting distracted towards other cryptocurrencies. Though, a fairly decent number of miners have switched their attention to mining Ethereum. A large number of promising coins, however, may offer a far greater return on investments than bitcoins and Ethereum are capable of nowadays. One of such coins is Zcash, and our article will focus on Zcash mining hardware and software – the two key things needed to get started in mining Zcash.

What Is Known About Zcash?

Zcash was created in the late 2016 as a cryptocurrency that aimed to provide a better privacy to the users. Then, the Zerocoin protocol became the basis of the Zcash cryptocurrency. The development of the protocol and cryptocurrency was carried out by Zerocoin Electric Coin Company, which is often referred to as Zcash Company.

As it was mentioned, a particular feature of Zcash is that this cryptocurrency allows transactions with an enhanced privacy. This blockchain allows you to hide the recipient, sender, and the amount of cryptocurrencies that was sent. Moreover, Zcash, similar to bitcoin, has a total cap of 21 million coins in total. During the first four years, 20% of all mined coins will be allocated to developers, investors, and a non-profit organization.

There are two types of transactions that can be carried out in this blockchain: bitcoin-like transactions that are transparent and shielded transactions that are controlled and protected by a t-addr. Even though Zcash coins can be either in a shielded pool or in a transparent pool, there are no more than 4% of Zcash coins that are allocated in shielded pools at the present time. Moreover, the majority of wallets (and no web wallets) support t-addrs.

At the time of writing this article, the price of Zcash almost equaled $500 per coin. From the late November 2017 up to the mid January 2018 the cryptocurrency experienced a noticeable spike in the price. At the present time, this coin tends to be one of the most promising cryptocurrencies in the market.

What’s the Difference Between Mining Zcash and Mining Bitcoin/Ethereum

So, why would one buy Zcash mining hardware and software in order to mine Zcash coins, if there is a proven formula of mining bitcoins and Ethereum? Well, there are several reasons, and they make mining Zcash especially lucrative.

First of all, the technology that stands behind bitcoin is quite inflexible and doesn’t allow to utilize it elsewhere except of digital payments. Indeed, the same stands for Zcash, but this technology is far more advanced, as it allows anonymous transactions. Secondly, Zcash (same as bitcoin) has a cap of all coins that may be mined – that means that there can exist only 21 million coins. That, in turn, implies that this cryptocurrency is a deflationary one and is presumably going to grow in value and price.

After all, mining bitcoins have become quite tough, as almost every miner has joined the hardware race. In order to enter bitcoin mining, you need to invest a pretty large sum. The Zcash mining entry barrier is far lower than bitcoin’s and Ethereum’s, as you can mine Zcash even with videocards of 1 GB VRAM (the minimum requirement for Ethereum is 3 GB, which is likely to grow to 4 GB this year). Considering that the competition in mining Zcash is pretty low yet, you can take advantage of it and mine a good deal of Zcash coins.

After all, if you have previously mined other cryptocurrencies (like bitcoins or Ethereum) but your hardware tends to be outdated for mining those cryptos, you can apply it for mining Zcash. As you will learn in this article, requirements for Zcash mining hardware are not as high as for other, more “advanced” cryptos.

Why One Should Consider Mining Zcash

Prior to choosing Zcash mining hardware and software, one should understand the basics of Zcash mining and why this enterprise is worth it at all. At this point of our article, we will review the key reasons that make Zcash mining worthwhile and appealing. So, the following are the reasons why you should consider mining Zcash:

  • Mining Zcash with low-end videocards can be a way of financing the purchase of more powerful hardware for mining Zcash or other cryptocurrencies.
  • Considering that Zcash is traded against bitcoin, mining Zcash is a way to open a position in bitcoins.
  • Mining can be quite an easy and cheap way to enter the Zcash market.
  • During the last year, Zcash has been one of the most promising altcoin markets.

Zcash Mining Hardware: CPU or GPU

Zcash is one of those cryptocurrencies that can be mined with CPU yet. At the very beginning of Zcash in the early 2016, you could easily and very effectively mine Zcash coins with CPU (central processing units). Similar as with other cryptocurrencies, however, Zcash mining has advanced and is far more profitable when you mine with GPU (graphic processing units).

It is still possible to mine Zcash with CPUs, though, but it will be a low-return mining. Therefore, it would be far better to mine Zcash with GPUs. There are two key players in this market: AMD and NVidia. Our article about Ethereum mining hardware and software contains a review of a handful of latest videocards from NVidia and AMD. Down in this article, however, we will review budget videocards that will allow you to mine Zcash conveniently.

You should also keep in mind that the Zcash blockchain utilizes a hashing algorithm known as Equihash. This algorithm makes it impossible to mine Zcash with ASICs that have been developed for mining bitcoins. On the other hand, this algorithm makes mining coins with GPU the best way of mining, while it also ensures a far greater privacy (similar to the one of Monero and Dash).

Key Criteria for Choosing Zcash Mining Hardware

In order to choose the proper Zcash mining hardware and estimate profitability and ROI, you should define key criteria that will determine the efficiency of each videocard. Similar as in the case with Ethereum mining, there can be the following basic criteria:

Price. The upfront price you pay for a videocard is a one-time payment, which will have to be paid back. Yet, the higher is the price of a videocard, the more efficient and productive it is going to be. Therefore, don’t necessarily fall for cheap Zcash mining hardware, which will burn tons of electricity but will leave you with few Zcash coins (but also don’t be hooked by the merchants who sell overpriced hardware).

Hash rate. This indicator displays how many hashes can be carried out by a videocard within a second. It can be improved, though, if you overclock your videocard. Hashing power is calculated in H/s, Kh/s, Mh/s, Gh/s, and Th/s (from the lowest to the highest).

Power draw. This indicator shows how much electricity a videocard consumes during the mining process. Obviously, the lower this indicator will be, the lower will be your regular costs.

Efficiency. Efficiency is calculated by dividing the hash rate by the power draw indicator. It shows how much hashes are made during a certain expenditure of electricity.

This way, you should find a balance between the price, power draw, and efficiency. Our article will also contain other additional indicators (such as the average payback period and an expected return percentage), which will help you to make your choice better. Also, once you have made a choice regarding the videocard, don’t forget to calculate your future revenues and the payback period by using Zcash mining calculator.

Minimal Requirements for Zcash Mining Hardware

Even though Zcash doesn’t require as powerful Zcash mining hardware as it would be needed for mining bitcoins or Ethereum, there are still minimal requirements that your PC has to match. The videocard of your PC must be at least of 1 GB – that is a substantially lower number than the one needed for mining Ethereum or bitcoin. Yet, you should also make sure that your videocard is efficient enough and doesn’t just waste energy.

Zcash Mining Hardware: Videocards

In this section of our article about Zcash mining hardware you will get to know about the best videocards for mining Zcash. As it was mentioned above, the requirements for mining Zcash are quite lower than the ones for mining Ethereum. So, you can even apply old videocards that you used for mining Ethereum, yet that got outdated for mining Ethereum (the minimum requirement for videocards is going to be 4 GB in 2018). But, indeed, more sophisticated videocards (the ones that you can find here) will also be suitable for mining Zcash, yet it may be less profitable – there tends to be a shortage of such videocards, which causes a spike in the prices.

Radeon Rx 480

zcash mining hardware

The AMD R9 RX-480 videocard is a perfect choice for gamers, but will also be enough suitable for mining Zcash. While this videocard consumes much less electricity than such serious competitors R9 390X, it tends to be easily capable of taking it on. And even though this card tends to be a couple of generations older than the majority in the market, its productiveness makes this card to be a perfect Zcash mining hardware.

While the card tends to be outdated for mining Ethereum and other more famed coins, it nicely suits for mining Zcash. The price of around $199 is a guarantee that you will not overpay for a card, as this card is not in a high demand anymore. All in all, this is a good choice if you are hunting for a low-end videocards for Zcash mining.

Price: $199

Hashrate: 220 H/s

Power Draw: 150 W

VRAM: 8 GB (GDDR5)

Average Payback Period: 250 days

Annual Return Percentage: 145%.

NVidia GeForce GTX 1080 TI

zcash mining software

While this videocard from NVidia may be far more expensive than the previous one from AMD, it may be a fairly good choice for selecting it for your Zcash mining hardware. There are several reasons to do so. Even though the initial investments are far higher than with AMD Rx 480, the videocard is far more powerful than that version from AMD. That makes the payback period of these two cards pretty same, which makes investing in this videocard from NVidia worthwhile.

Once you have returned your initial investments from this card, using it for your Zcash mining hardware will be far more profitable over the next periods. This draws attention of many miners exactly to this card. Yet, one should be aware that NVidia cards tend to draw more electricity than the competitors from AMD, and this videocard is not an exception. All in all, if you have funds for such an initial investment, it tends to be pretty worthwhile in the long run.

Price: $700

Hashrate: 680 H/s

Power Draw: 250 W

VRAM: 11 GB (GDDR5X)

Average Payback Period: 252 days

Annual Return Percentage: 144%.

NVidia MSI P106-100 6GB

zcash mining instructions

If you are still looking for a low-end Zcash mining hardware, this card from NVidia may definitely attract your attention. NVidia MSI P106-100 combines low price with a pretty strong hash rate (far better than in the AMD’s card), and an extremely low power draw – the latter is, indeed, very surprising as for an NVidia card.

Even though this card tends to be quite outdated (as its VRAM is just 6 GB), this also ensures that there is no high demand for this type of videocards, which, in turns, allows to benefit from quite a low price. Also, it is worth pointing out that the power draw is even lower than in the AMD cards, which is really great for the miners in the countries with expensive electricity. After all, the average payback period of this card tends to be higher than of the cards that were mentioned above, and this is another reason to consider applying this card for your Zcash mining hardware. Extra cooling features allow it to function 24/7 without problems.

Price: $224

Hashrate: 290 H/s

Power Draw: 100 W

VRAM: 6 GB (GDDR5)

Average Payback Period: 186 days

Annual Return Percentage: 195%.

Zcash Mining Software

Once you are done with selecting, purchasing, and installing Zcash mining hardware, you also need to install and configure Zcash mining software. This section of our guide will show you what Zcash mining software you need for mining this coin step by step.

  1. Get drivers for your Zcash mining hardware. Depending on what kind of hardware you have installed, you will need drivers for it. If you have Zcash mining hardware from NVidia, you can find the drivers on this page. If you have AMD cards, then the drivers (which tend to be a part of Zcash mining software) for AMD can be found here.
  2. Get Zcash wallet and address. When it comes to such an issue as Zcash mining software, you also definitely need a Zcash wallet where you will receive your Zcash coins. Once you have got a wallet, you will also get a Zcash address, which is needed for receiving coins. You can find links and descriptions of the best wallets for Zcash on this page of our website.
  3. You need to install the actual Zcash mining software. In order to mine Zcash coins, you need such a Zcash mining software like the EWBF miner. You can download that program here.
  4. Specify the settings of your Windows OS. The first thing you should do in order not to let your mining be failed is to disable the Sleep Mode – if your computer gets in the Sleep Mode, the mining will be suspended. Then, you should also set the system page file to 16 GB (16384 MB), After all, exclude the EWBF miner from the program that must be checked by your antivirus software.
  5. Choose a pool, join it, and start mining. The first and the last thing about the Zcash mining software is joining a pool. There are pretty many pools for mining Zcash on the web, but one that is recommended by many miners is Flypool. On the website of a pool, you will find the instructions that you will have to stick to in order to configure your Zcash mining software properly. Once you have configured your software to start mining in a pool, give a double-click to the bat file of the mining software in order to run the miner!

Zcash Wallet: Choosing the Most Secure and Convenient Wallets

how to find a good zcash wallet
Zcash Wallet: Choosing the Most Secure and Convenient Wallets
5 (100%) 2 votes

Investing in cryptocurrencies (or in any other asset either) is always a serious matter, and you should approach this issue responsibly. One of the key issues of investing in Zcash coins is choosing the appropriate Zcash wallet. There is always a dilemma present in this matter: either you should choose a well-protected wallet, or you should think about the convenience. So, one way or another, you will have to utilize a combination of at least two wallets, and our article will help you make up your mind regarding which types of Zcash wallets you need.

Zcash Web Wallets

Web wallets for cryptocurrencies are known as the least safest ones, but they are also the most convenient ones. When holding your Zcash coins in web wallets, you can actually send and receive funds with ease and within seconds. This has caused the popularity of web wallets among many users. Besides, many exchanges provide free web wallets where you can store your digital coins.

On the other hand, storing your funds in web wallets tends to be fairly risky. Web wallets are also known as hot wallets, which means that they require internet connected and, thus, tend to be extremely vulnerable to hack attacks. Moreover, many such services (and especially exchanges that provide free web wallets) retain control over your private keys, which is not recommended as well. After all, keep in mind that exchanges frequently become the objects of hack attacks.

In view of all written above, we recommend you to store only small amounts of coins on your Zcash wallet on the web. When you store small amounts of coins in web wallets, it grants you a pretty good deal of flexibility, while the possible losses (in case if you or an exchange gets hacked) appear to be limited.

If you want to get a Zcash wallet on the web, here is a list of worthy options to consider:

ZCash Cockpit GUI Wallet. Even though this Zcash wallet may seem a bit complicated for beginners, it allows you, along with the typical features of cryptocurrency wallets, to retain the complete control over your private keys. With this Zcash wallet, you can access it remotely anytime you need with ease. A nice option to try out.

Cryptonator Zcash Wallet. Cryptonator is an online web wallet, which allows you to store a large variety of coins, including Zcash, Dash, Litecoin, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Besides, it also features an embedded altcoin exchange and 2-step authentication. The service is available worldwide and can be accessed on mobile devices, desktops, or laptops. There are also drawbacks you should be aware of: the private keys are stored by a third party, while the anonymity tends to be low. Multi-sig wallets are not supported.

Zcash Mobile Wallets

Mobile wallets are considered to be among the least safe, along with web wallets. The reason is same – Zcash mobile wallets are hot wallets, which gives hackers plenty of room to hack your account. Yet, mobile wallets tend to be even more comfortable than web wallets, as you carry your smartphone (and your coins as well then in your pocket.

which zcash wallet is the best one

Actually, you can make a “warm” Zcash wallet out of your mobile phone, but it will be more expensive than buying a usual hardware wallet. You need just to buy a new phone, download an app where you will store your Zcash coins (don’t use it for any other purposes), deposit your coins there, turn off the internet connection, and leave the phone until you will need to spend or send your Zcash coins.

Very few people do it, however. The majority of users tend to store small amounts of coins on their smartphones, so they can send them anytime they need. If you wish to find a worthy Zcash wallet for your smartphone, here you have got a couple of options to consider:

Freewallet.org. This Estonia-based provides cryptocurrency wallets for Android and iOS devices. At the present time, the company offers more than 20 wallets for storing various cryptocurrencies, including Zcash. Keep in mind, however, that private keys are stored on third-party servers.

Jaxx. This is another trusted and known mobile crypto wallet, which supports more than a dozen of cryptocurrencies. The private keys are always stored on your gadget, while this wallet requires no registration or your personal information. Besides, the interface is quite user-friendly.

Blockchains.my. This service is a decentralized mobile Zcash wallet, which allows you to trade on the platform, obtain digital currency, monitor changes of the prices online, and, of course, make payments with ease. Apart from Zcash, it also supports GSC, Ethereum, Bitcoin, and DinarCoin.

 Zcash Desktop Wallets

Desktop wallets are the ones that are downloaded onto your PC. This method is regarded as a relatively safe one in comparison to the wallets listed above. However, it also tends to be not that easy to install and configure the wallets. Besides, you will (most likely) have to download the entire blockchain, which requires a lot of memory and operational power from your PC.

Desktop wallets tend to be warm wallets, i.e. the wallets that need internet connection only when you need to carry out a transaction. There are two types of desktop wallets available: those that need you to install only software and those that need you to download and install both the software and blockchain. In the first case, your protection will be compromised, as you will depend on the blockchain that is stored elsewhere. In the second case, your PC will need a lot of memory and space.

If you want to find good Zcash desktop wallets, take a note of these ones:

Zcash Desktop GUI Wallet. This desktop Zcash wallet tends to be, perhaps, the most secure and offers you such features like:

  • Sending Zcash;
  • Management of Zcash Z-addresses;
  • Blockchain synchronization status;
  • History of transactions;
  • Monetary amounts and balance.

All the keys are owned by the end users, which makes this wallet to be, indeed, quite safe. Here you can download and learn how to install it, while this page allows you to find out how to use it.

Bitsquare. This open-source desktop Zcash wallet allows you to store not only this cryptocurrency, but also a number of others. This wallet was developed by the exchange of the same name, which focuses on trading altcoins. This desktop wallet is decentralized one, and there is a strong and solid community behind it. All the keys are owned and controlled by the user.

Zcash Hardware Wallets

If you want to find a secure and pretty easy-to-use Zcash wallet, you should think about purchasing a hardware wallet. Zcash hardware wallet tends to be something similar to flash USB device, but featuring a small display. Hardware wallets are considered very secure because they appear to be cold wallets and don’t require an internet connection.

There are, indeed, drawbacks. First of all, you will have to buy the device itself. Secondly, it tends to be not as convenient to move your funds each time when you need it. But, at least, you will be sure that your funds are always safe.

best wallets for storing zcash

At the present time, the majority of users use Ledger Nano S with MyEtherWallet OS for storing their Zcash coins. There are several reasons for that. First of all, it appears to be quite secure, solid (can’t be easily broken), and among the cheapest versions. Secondly, it is not so difficult to install MyEtherWallet on this device. Thirdly, there are version in different colors available.

Zcash Paper Wallets

Paper wallets are also considered to be cold wallets, but you should keep them safe. Such wallets are very prone to damage by flood, fire, etc. Yet, they are highly secure, but highly inconvenient to use. At the present time, however, there are, unfortunately, no paper Zcash wallet. Unfortunately, the network is too young and hasn’t developed enough yet.

Zcash Multi-Sig Wallets

Multi-sig wallets are the ones that need the authorization from every party who share a wallet in order to carry out a transaction. It’s highly secure, yet you have to trust the person with whom you own a wallet. Similar as in the case with paper wallets, however, there area no Zcash multi-sig wallets available at the present time.

Zcash Wallet: Hot or Cold?

As you could understand from the above written text, cold wallets are the ones that don’t require an internet connection. At the same time, hot wallets require an internet connection in order to allow you access the funds and carry out transactions. There are also warm wallets, which don’t require an internet connection generally, but need it in order to process the transaction.

Obviously, cold wallets (hardware and paper wallets) tend to be the safest, yet not very flexible. Therefore, you can keep small amounts of coins on your mobile or web wallets (hot wallets, i.e. flexible but highly vulnerable), losing which wouldn’t be critical for you. Desktop wallets (warm wallets) are a good compromise between flexibility and security.