Ethereum is a digital currency. It’s like Bitcoin, but different. You can buy it with dollars, and sell it for dollars. You can also earn it by having your graphics card download and solve cryptographic puzzles.
It has other useful properties. Some people think it’s going to become very important.
If you have a graphics card, you can mine for Ethereum when you are not using your PC for anything else. A single decent graphics card should be able to mine an Ethereum token in a few days. That’s about $15 right now. It would use about $2-5 of electricity. If you run 10 high powered graphics cards, you can get about 50 Ethereum tokens per month. $800 of Ethereum for $50-100 of electricity.
The price of Ethereum might go up. It might also go down.
If you build a high powered graphics PC, you can pay for it by mining Ethereum, then 6 months from now you will have gotten yourself a free gaming machine and Virtual Reality system.
First thing to do is get yourself an Ethereum address to mine to. Easiest thing to do is sign up at an Exchange like Poloniex or Kraken, then get an Ethereum deposit address. I usually send my Ethereum to Poloniex, convert it to Bitcoin, then send the Bitcoin to my account at Coinbase. From there I convert it to dollars and drop it in my bank account. It’s easier than it sounds.
Want to do this? You can get it done in 5 minutes if you are slightly familiar with using a Windows PC and have a halfway decent graphics card.
1. Set up Ethereum mining
Download the CPP-Ethereum .exe package for windows from here and install it:
2. Run Notepad as Administrator (find Notepad, right click on it, choose Run as Administrator)
Paste the following script into Notepad, substituting your Ethereum address for the one in the script:
setx GPU_FORCE_64BIT_PTR 0
setx GPU_MAX_HEAP_SIZE 100
setx GPU_USE_SYNC_OBJECTS 1
setx GPU_MAX_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
setx GPU_SINGLE_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
ethminer –cl-local-work 256 –farm-recheck 200 –cl-global-work 16384 -G -F mine.weipool.org:5555/0xac26955e90380dd1d366592ec01298a49c2a92de/25
Save the Notepad file in the same directory as the Ethereum programs with a suffix of .bat instead of .txt. Call it something fancy like ethereum_mining.bat. The last two lines above should be just one line.
The Ethereum application directory is probably at a location like C:\Program Files\Ethereum
Copy the file, and paste a shortcut to the desktop
3. Double click the shortcut and watch it run. It will download the DAG first, which takes 10-15 minutes, then it will start mining. It should look like this:
5. If it does not work, open a command prompt, navigate to the Ethereum application directory, run the script from the prompt, and see what happens. You might be missing some kind of application needed to run the Ethereum mining program.
6. When you need to use your PC for something else, close the window to stop the mining. If it seems to hang or get stuck, reboot.
There’s a lot more to Ethereum: