Skip to main content

Cryptocurrency mining: full tutorial for beginners

15 Nov, 2023 12 min read
Cryptocurrency mining: full tutorial for beginners

Cryptocurrency mining is one of the most important concepts in the crypto industry. Although it's not the only existing method for generating crypto coins, crypto mining is used in many popular cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

What is cryptocurrency mining?

With e-currency based on cryptographic proof, without the need to trust a third party middleman, money can be secure and transactions effortless. - Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin's developer

Let's start our mining crypto tutorial with a definition. What does cryptocurrency mining mean? 

Mining is the process of generating the new structures necessary for the cryptocurrency to function. Most often, these are new blocks in a blockchain. It is usually a process of coming up with a solution to a specific mathematical problem to find a hash that matches certain criteria. After the solution is found, it can be easily and quickly verified. The first miner to complete all the necessary calculations receives a reward from the blockchain network. The reward for solving this problem is a "block reward" in the form of issuing new coins to the miner and, in many cases, a commission for the transactions included in the block. Miners compete for the opportunity to solve the problem first and get the reward. The difficulty of finding the block adjusts to the miners' collective processing power.

The purpose of cryptocurrency mining

Now that we have determined "What does cryptocurrency mining mean?", let's proceed to the next part of our mining crypto tutorial and discuss the purposes of crypto mining. 

Crypto mining is the process of verifying cryptocurrency transactions and adding them to the blockchain. As such, it serves to keep the cryptocurrency network running and enable transactions. Miners' work also protects the cryptocurrency network from fake transactions and various kinds of attacks while also supporting its decentralisation. Without it, the cryptocurrency simply wouldn't function. Producing new coins and receiving transaction fees are a form of payment for this work.

Is crypto mining still worth it?

Many people interested in cryptocurrencies wonder: "Is cryptocurrency mining legal? and "Is cryptocurrency mining profitable?" That question doesn't have a simple answer since many variables have to be considered:

  • The price of the chosen cryptocurrency and the chances that it will change
  • The difficulty of the chosen cryptocurrency mining
  • The price of electricity used for mining
  • The price of mining equipment
  • The possibility of further reducing the cost of mining
  • The ability to switch mining equipment to another coin

Whatmining calculator

With increasing competition among miners, the amount of investments needed to mine at a profit grows. At the same time, the average amount of time it takes to recoup the cost of mining equipment increases.

Bitcoin hasrate chart

Cryptocurrency mining in 2019

Crypto miners had a decent year in 2019. The long decline in cryptocurrency prices in 2018 forced many miners to leave the business. This, in turn, led to a decrease in mining difficulty, on the one hand. On the other hand, used mining equipment at reduced prices began to appear on the market. The cryptocurrency market's recovery since then has enabled those who started the mining business at the beginning of the year to make decent profits.

Cryptocurrency mining in 2020

While crypto mining is no longer a way to get rich quick, it can still be profitable. If you aren't ready to make the significant investments required for mining on ASICs, you should consider the cryptocurrencies for which only GPU mining is available. At the same time, establishing mining farms in 2020 is much cheaper than it was in 2017-2018 since the market is flush with much less expensive video cards. Depending on the price of electricity, the time it takes to recoup investments in GPU rigs is currently anywhere from 11 to 36 months or more. On top of that, the cryptocurrency market's high volatility must be taken into account. Future fluctuations in cryptocurrencies' prices can either significantly reduce or increase the recoup time.

Cryptocurrency market capitalation 20192020,

Cryptocurrency mining in 2023

Now, let's find out, "Is cryptocurrency mining profitable in 2023?" The profitability of crypto mining in 2023 largely depends on the state of the cryptocurrency market. In recent years, the market has been relatively stable, with prices fluctuating within a narrow range. This has made mining less profitable than it was in the past. However, with the increasing adoption of cryptocurrencies and the emergence of new coins, there is still money to be made in mining.

How to mine cryptocurrency

Several profitable crypto-mining solutions differ in terms of the money and effort required to invest. Let's find out how to do mining of cryptocurrency on PC and smartphone.

Solo mining

Solo mining cryptocurrency means only one person mines the asset. At one time, it was entirely possible to mine cryptocurrencies alone on a personal computer. But those days are long gone. Given the current competition and mining difficulty, successful solo mining requires enormous investments. This has given rise to mining pools.



You don't have to pay a pool commission fee or purchase a cloud mining contract

If you can't afford the massive investment in equipment, the chance of receiving a reward will be minimal

You own the equipment


Mining pools

A mining pool is a server that splits the task of calculating the block signature into smaller tasks and distributes them between devices connected to that pool. By doing so, the pool combines miners' computing power to reduce the randomness factor and provide more predictable rewards. When pool members manage to find a block through their collective efforts, the reward is divided among all pool members per the pool's rules.

There are currently many mining pools. Some of them are designed to mine a particular cryptocurrency. Others are more flexible and offer a choice between several cryptocurrencies. When choosing a pool for mining, one should take into account the pool size, hashrate, specific terms of working with that particular pool (commission rate and minimum payout), and the pool's reputation. After choosing a pool, you need to configure your mining hardware and software, connect to the pool and start mining.

Bitcoin mining pools



Predictable and steady reward

Hardware investment required

You own the equipment

Cheap electricity required


Specialised knowledge is required to select and configure equipment properly


Mining equipment generates heat and noise

Cloud mining

Cloud mining is mining on leased remote equipment. A company that provides cloud mining services buys and sets up the equipment and takes care of its housing, maintenance and repair. It then leases the equipment's processing power to users. All the user needs to start cloud mining is to purchase a contract for a certain amount of processing power. After that, the cryptocurrency mined with this share of the capacity within the contract term will be transferred to the user's wallet.

Although this mining method has many advantages over traditional mining, it doesn't come without downsides. The main disadvantage is the risk of fraud. So, when choosing this mining option, it's essential to pick a reputable service provider.

It's also possible to earn through mining without investing money. Some companies provide registered users with a free hashrate. Free mining won't make you rich, but this option offers real experience working with cryptocurrencies. Most services providing free crypto mining closed in 2019 or earlier, but StormGain has recently launched its new Cloud Miner tool that enables its users to mine crypto for free.



Predictable and steady reward

You don't own the equipment

Low entry threshold. You can start with small investments

Risk of fraud

No specialised knowledge or skills required


No need to maintain equipment


What I need to become a crypto miner

Let's start our discussion of cryptocurrency mining for beginners with the fundamentals. To begin mining crypto, you need several things:

  1. A wallet for the cryptocurrency you've chosen to mine
  2. Hardware designed for crypto mining
  3. Specialised mining software
  4. A fast and reliable internet connection
  5. A cheap and steady source of electricity

If you want to try cloud mining, you only need to choose a trustworthy company, register on their website and purchase a contract.

How much does it cost to start mining cryptocurrency?

The cost of entering the crypto mining business depends entirely on the mining option you select. To set up your own farm, you need at least 1000 EUR (for instance, the popular ASIC Antminer Z15 for mining cryptocurrencies based on the Equihash algorithm costs about 3200 EUR). On the other hand, you can spend as little as several dozen euros to purchase a cloud mining contract for a simpler start.

Best crypto mining hardware

There are two types of efficient modern equipment for crypto mining: ASICs and GPUs.

ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) is a chip designed to serve a specific purpose. Unlike general-purpose microchips, ASICs are used in specialised devices and perform only a limited set of functions. Their use in mining stems from their higher processing power and energy efficiency thanks to their narrow specialisation.

Currently, the best ASICs are:

  • Hummer Miner Mars H1 for the Handshake algorithm
  • Bitmain Antminer Z15 for the Equihash algorithm
  • Todek Toddminer C1 Pro for the Eaglesong algorithm
  • Innosilicon A10 ETHMaster 500Mh for the Ethash algorithm

Hummer Miner Mars H1

GPU mining is based on the use of processing power of video cards (which are also known as graphic processors or GPUs). Powerful video cards in a personal computer or a special device (called a rig) containing several video cards for mining. Presently, due to the widespread use of ASICs, GPU mining is only justified for mining those cryptocurrencies that use algorithms protected from ASIC mining.

The most profitable GPUs right now are:

  • Nvidia 2060 and 2070
  • AMD 5700 XT

Nvidia 2070

The best computer for mining crypto also needs a good power supply unit, at least 4GB RAM and HDD with a minimum capacity of 100 GB for the operating system, as well as mining software. The motherboard must have at least 4 PCI-E slots.

Cryptocurrency mining software

When choosing the best OS for crypto mining, take a look at the Windows family of operating systems. They are easy to configure, provide high speed for mining farms and allow the mined coin to be easily changed if necessary. The operating system versions commonly used for mining are 64-bit versions with a minimum of installed utilities and running services.

Windows 7 is the fastest system with minimum add-ons. When setting up a rig with 12 AMD cards, use the latest version of Windows 10. Otherwise, the rig won't work. When using AMD and Nvidia cards together, it is better to use the LTSB version of Windows 10.

As for mining programmes, the following are the most popular right now:

  • CGMiner, designed for Bitcoin mining. It doesn't have a graphical interface. Instead, it works via a command-line interface.
  • Claymore, designed for GPU mining. It allows you to mine many different cryptocurrencies and works via a command-line interface.
  • MultiMiner is a programme for Bitcoin and Litecoin mining with a graphical interface.
  • PhoenixMiner is similar to Claymore but is faster for the Ethash algorithm.
  • Dstm's ZCash Cuda miner is for the Equihash algorithm on Nvidia cards.
  • MinerGate is a miner with a graphical user interface. It supports many cryptocurrencies and is user-friendly for beginners.

Crypto mining vs trading

Let's move to the next part of our mining crypto tutorial, which is identifying the difference between two widely-used terms: mining vs trading.

Mining and trading are the two main ways to earn profit with crypto. Each has its pros and cons that should be weighed when deciding which is best: mining or trading cryptocurrency.



Less risky. Despite all the risks of mining, trading is much riskier.

More profit potential. With the same investment, trading can potentially earn you much more profit than mining.

Doesn't require trading skills.

Does not require technical skills.

Requires less time. Trading is a profession. Mining, in comparison, is more like a form of passive income.

Requires less financial investment to be profitable.

Given that, the choice between mining and trading depends on the knowledge and skills you have, the amount of time and money you're willing to invest, and, of course, your personal preferences.

StormGain trading lessons

Exchange BTC

Mining icon
Want Bitcoin for free?

Try our Bitcoin Cloud Miner and get additional crypto rewards based on your trading volume. It's immediately available upon registration.

Start mining

Mining icon
Want Bitcoin for free?

Try our Bitcoin Cloud Miner and get additional crypto rewards based on your trading volume. It's immediately available upon registration.

Start mining


Is cryptocurrency mining legal?

The legality of cryptocurrency mining varies based on your location. Bitcoin, specifically, poses a potential threat to traditional currencies and government control over financial markets. 

Consequently, some countries, including Tunisia, Algeria, Nepal, Morocco, Bangladesh, and China, consider Bitcoin to be completely illegal. However, in the majority of countries, Bitcoin ownership and mining are legal.

What does cryptocurrency mining mean?

Cryptocurrency mining refers to the act of generating new digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, through the solving of complex mathematical equations that validate transactions within the currency. Miners who successfully complete this process are rewarded with a predetermined amount of the respective cryptocurrency.

Is cryptocurrency mining profitable?

Cryptocurrency mining can still be profitable as long as you have a capable system, participate in a mining pool, and can cover your fixed expenses within a reasonable timeframe. However, it's important to approach the idea of making digital riches with a realistic mindset.

How to do mining of cryptocurrency on PC or phone?

To start mining cryptocurrency on your PC or phone:

  • Pick a cryptocurrency that suits your mining setup. Bitcoin needs special hardware, so beginners may prefer one that can be mined using regular CPUs or GPUs.
  • You'll need a digital wallet to store your mined coins. Choose from online, hardware, or desktop wallets based on your security and convenience preferences.
  • Select mining software compatible with your system and the chosen cryptocurrency. Options include CGMiner, EasyMiner, and Minergate.
  • Boost your chances of rewards by joining a mining pool. Look for reputable pools with good records and low fees.
  • After joining a pool, set up your mining software by entering necessary details like the pool's address and your wallet address.
  • Once configured, start mining. Ensure your PC or phone has proper cooling, and monitor the operation regularly.
  • Keep an eye on your earnings using the tools provided by the mining software. Blockchain explorers can verify your transactions and credited coins.

What are the risks of mining cryptocurrency?

The risks associated with mining cryptocurrency include high energy consumption. This is because the process requires a substantial amount of computational power to solve complex mathematical puzzles. Consequently, mining operations consume large quantities of electricity, which raises environmental concerns and contributes to carbon emissions.

Join StormGain

the most comprehensive platform for investing in crypto. Buy, store, trade, exchange, earn and learn about crypto in a single tap.

Register Now
Change (24h)

Сайт та всі послуги StormGain доступні також українською мовою.