It is pretty easy to mine Zcash because you don’t need to download the whole blockchain for that, or control the mining software in the command line mode. You are able to send the received coins directly to the exchange, or hardware wallets such as Trezor or Ledger Nano S. Of course, you need to be careful in all cases, and store your tokens only in safe places.
The process of installation and use of the popular Nvidia EWBF Miner is described in details in this manual. Those who prefer graphics cards from AMD should consider mining Ethereum.
Mining Zcash with EWBF Miner is a great way to earn with the help of your equipment. This software is optimized for Nvidia cuda cores and allows you to get the maximum performance.
The whole process of installation, set up and configuration takes not more than 20 minutes.
Arguments in favor of Zcash mining
- It is easy to convert Zcash to Bitcoin, that is why mining this coin may become a cheap way to gradually increase positions concerning the most famous and expensive cryptocurrency;
- Later on you can exchange Bitcoin to classic cryptocurrencies. Thus, ZEC mining can help you to replenish your bank account. In addition, some large exchanges allow you to exchange ZEC to dollars or euros directly;
- Mining can become the cheapest way to enter the crypto currency market with its high volatility. Experienced and/or successful players will be able to increase their capital;
- Since its inception, Zcash remains one of the most popular and desired coins on the market, competing against Ethereum for the second place in price. In June, the cost of ZEC exceeded the $400 mark.
Accumulation of ZEC with the help of the mining will allow you to benefit fully from its potential rise in the future without the need to risk your money (as in the case of a purchase).
Cryptocurrency mining and its storage reminds me of an old saying that one should buy something for the cheap price, and sell it better then. Although, most enthusiasts do not know anything about technical analysis, that is why they buy and sell at the most inopportune time. They invest money at the peak, and sell during the correction, which is a typical phenomenon for long-term trends.
When you buy equipment and mine cryptocurrency with it, you invest in an actual asset. Its value in the secondary market is at a high level, and sometimes even exceeds the purchase price. Graphics processors purchased for the mining rigs in 2015−2016 are often sold at a price higher than the original price in 2017 because of the market hype.
Selling mining equipment on secondary market after a while, you can not only get its initial cost back, but also earn a little. Some mined cryptocurrency will be a pleasant bonus.
What is the difference between Zcash blockchain and Bitcoin?
Zcash hashing algorithm differs from Bitcoin algorithm, which makes it incompatible with special mining equipment (ASIC).
The basic Zcash algorithm is called Equihash. Its main feature is high RAM requirements. Equihash was designed in such a way that it can complicate the creation of specialized ASIC. It is a great option for mining with graphics cards.
In addition, Zcash has a built-in confidentiality protocol zk-SNARKS. It is designed to make ZEC a leading cryptocurrency in the market, which focuses on protecting private data (Zcash competes with other similar cryptocurrencies, such as Dash and Monero).
It takes 2.5 minutes to calculate each block. Such a procedure takes up to 10 minutes when we talk about Bitcoin. When the block is calculated, you get 10 Zcash as a reward.
Hashing speed, complexity and price
Since its launch in the fourth quarter of 2016, the total speed of Zcash network hashing has been grpwing rapidly:
However, the block calculation speed is not reduced. Zcash blockchain automatically adjusts the block complexity, in order to save an average time spent on one block. The complexity is closely related to the hashing speed. It also increases exponentially this year:
But why the complexity and speed of hashing grow so fast? The answer is simple and obvious, and it is the price! Here is the cost chart of Zcash from WorldCoIndex:
The point is that the network calculating capacity repeats the explosive price growth that started in May 2017. In just a few months, ZEC quotes jumped from $50 to $400.
Zcash mining profitability calculation
Now that we have a better understanding of blockchain and Zcash features, it’s time for some economic calculations.
If you visit whattomine.com, you will be able to find the latest data on prices, block calculation time and the hashing speed (in millions of operations per second, or MH/s).
How to calculate the mining profitability?
Choose the model of your graphics card, and the page will show information about hashing and profitability (in case of Zcash for calculation click on “Equihash”).
Numbers will only change over time. Let’s suppose, that in our case the graphics processor brings profit of $1-2 daily, depending on its model and configuration.
Choosing GPU graphics card model
Experimenting in a calculator with different graphics cards, choose the model with the best price/performance/energy consumption ratio (expressed in MH/s per currency unit). AMD graphics cards as a rule tend to outperform Nvidia models during the Ethereum mining with the help of EthashAlgo client. When it comes to Equihash and EWBF Miner, the graphics cards from AMD lose ground.
A graphics processor should have not less than 1GB of RAM, otherwise it just won’t be able to mine Zcash (EWBF supports the cards with 1GB of RAM unlike Ethereum client, which requires 3GB of RAM to work). However, the energy efficiency of many old cards may be insufficient for profitable mining.
Check the following GPUs: the Nvidia GTX 1060−6GB/1070/1080 family, the AMD RX 470/480 family, the RX 570/580, R9 or HD 7990/7950 family. On the secondary market, try to buy the graphics cards from gamers and not from miners, and preferably those with valid warranty. Compare the performance, energy consumption, availability and price of different GPUs.
As a good budget option, we may recommend Nvidia 1060 with 6GB of memory. It is better for Zcash mining than AMD 480.
ZEC coin mining profitability calculators
To calculate the profitability of Zcash mining you can use these three calculators:
To get the most objective number, it is better to calculate the average value of all three services.
Zcash mining with a PC running ОS Windows
Let’s say you bought a suitable graphics card, and your PC is running OS Windows.
Install the latest drivers
AMD graphics card
Go to amd.com, choose “Drivers and Support” section, enter the graphics card type and start downloading
Also you can download the drivers of previous versions (“Download Previous Drivers & Software” button), which are most suitable for mining: R9 and earlier versions: version 15.12, RX 400 Family: 16.9.2 or 16.10.3, RX 500 Family: since these are the brand new graphics cards it is recommended to use the latest driver version.
Nvidia graphics cards
Drivers for GeForce graphics cards are available on the official website. Just enter the information about your model and click “Start Search”.
Choose the current version from the results, download it, install and restart your PC. If there are no warning signs in the device manager next to the graphics card sign, that means that the driver was installed correctly.
Some miners install several cards at once, and then they configure the drivers. Others prefer to mount only one card, then install the drivers and add the other GPUs (of course, after shutting down the computer).
If there is a problem with one of these methods, just delete the drivers and try another one. DDU software will help you delete the drivers from the system completely (Display Driver Uninstaller) from the website Guru3d.com.
Get the address of Zcash wallet
You need the address of a Zcash wallet to store the mined coins. To do this you need to go to the official website and download the client. In addition, you can use the hardware, such as Trezor, Ledger Nano S, or Jaxx, a popular web service. You can even send the mined coins directly to the exchanges, which offer the appropriate functionality.
Download EWBF Zcash Miner
The next step is to download the mining software. For downloading you have to choose only the links from the official branches on BitcoinTalk forum. There are several links at the bottom of the page. We use the one that is on mega.nz domain.
Choose the latest miner version and download zip-file. Unzip it on your computer. Pay attention that when downloading the miner files, Windows generates a warning alert sometimes. It can be ignored, if you used official EWBF links for downloading.
Change some Windows settings
Before you start mining, change some Windows settings. Disable the sleep mode first, since it will interrupt the program operation. Go to “Configure power management” section and set the switch “Sleep mode” to “Never”.
Then change the size of the system page file to 16384 Mb (16 GB). Right-click on the “This PC” icon and select “Properties”. Click on “Advanced system settings”. On the “Advanced” tab choose “Options” in the “Performance” section.
Click the “Change” button in the “Virtual memory” section. Uncheck the “Automatically manage paging file size”. Select “Specify size” and enter “16384” in the “Original size” and “Maximum size” fields. Confirm your choice.
To reduce the disruptions in the operation of a miner and also the intervention of a system in parameters, you can disable Windows Update. If you leave it active, it will download the updates automatically, install them and reboot, thus disrupting the work of the miner.
And finally, in your antivirus app add an exception by marking the folder with the mining software EWBF.
Join the mining pool and configure the startup file
The next step is to configure the mining pool parameters. Solo mining will hardly bring you a lot of coins (unless you have a warehouse full of graphics cards).
First of all you need to choose Zcash mining pool. There are a lot of options available, but Flypool is considered to be one of the best. On its homepage or in the “Help” section you will be able to find information on how to set up the popular EWBF miner.
There is a “Windows – Nvidia” tab on zcash.flypool. It provides information on configuring EWBF Miner. Copy the finished script line as shown below:
In the EWBF Miner folder, find the bat-file flypool. This file configures the mining software startup parameters.
Right-click the flypool.bat and choose “Edit”. The file will be opened in Notepad. Insert the copied line into it. Choose the server according to your location (usl or eul). Also you can delete the parameter “—cuda_devices” at the end of the line. It is used to select certain devices for mining (for example, if you decided to use one graphics card for games, and the rest of them want to be used for mining cryptocurrency). You can delete this parameter, if all cards are supposed to be loaded at once.
Then, copy the address of Zcash wallet. Insert it into the bat-file (in the example above, replace the line after the —user parameter, the one that starts with “t” and ends with “DX”). After that you can change the client’s name (in our case this is .rigl).
Save your file with .bat extension:
Choose “File” > “Save as” and add “.bat” after the name. Make sure that in the drop down list you chose “All files” and click “Save”.
Now you have a suitable bat-file, and everything is ready to run the miner. Create the shortcut for the new file and place it on the desktop (you can delete .txt).
Run the mining software
Double-click the bat-file to run the miner. The program will boot and initialize the graphics processors, and then it will start computing.
You can track the results on the zcash.flypool.org website. To do this you need to copy and paste your wallet address into the field at the very top of the page, and click “Check Status” button.
Alternative Zcash miners and their hashrate when using Equihash algorithm
- Claymore’s Zcash AMD GPU miner is the most productive miner for Windows for the graphics cards from AMD at the time of this writing. It is being constantly updated, and new versions are released every 2-3 days recently, and they increase the graphics cards performance by 15-30%. It should be noted that during the mining process you are charged a developer’s commission of 2.5%. Claymore’s miner has a closed source code, and it works using OpenCL library, as well as it is distributed only as executable files for Windows. Graphics cards hashrates: AMD Radeon Fury = 210 H/s, AMD Radeon R9 390X = 180 H/s, AMD Radeon RX 480 = 160 H/s, AMD Radeon RX 470 = 140 H/s, AMD Radeon R9 280X = 115 H/s.
- CUDA EquiHash miner is the fastest miner for the graphics cards from Nvidia to date. It can work both with Windows and Linux OS. As is the case with the Claymore’s miner, there is this developer’s commission of 2.5%. The miner source code is closed as with the Claymore’s. Miner uses the CUDA library to work. Graphics cards hashrates: Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 = 108 H/s, Nvidia Geforce GTX 850M = 24 H/s, Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050Ti = 37 H/s.
- Nicehash EQM miner is a faster miner for Nvidia graphics cards, but compared to CUDA EquiHash miner, it is tightly connected to the Nicehash pool. EQM miner supports the latest Nvidia GPU of Maxwell and Pascal generations, and also supports CPU mining (but your processor must support the set of AVX2/AVX instructions for that, and also there should be support of mining on the servers with more than 64 cores). Miner source code is closed, but unlike the miners above there are no additional developer fees. EQM miner now is able to work only with Windows OS. It is distributed as an executable file and it uses CUDA library to work. Graphics cards hashrates: Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 = 125 H/s, Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 = 85 H/s, Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050Ti = 53 H/s, Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 = 48 H/s, Nvidia Geforce GTX 980Ti = 125 H/s, Nvidia Geforce GTX 980 = 100 H/s, Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 = 125 H/s, Nvidia Geforce GTX 970 = 85 H/s, Nvidia Geforce GTX 950 = 50 H/s, Nvidia Geforce GTX 750Ti = 36 H/s, Nvidia Geforce GTX 750 = 34 H/s.
- Optiminer Zcash miner is the main competitor of the Claimore’s miner for graphics cards from AMD. Unlike the Claimore’s miner, Optiminer works only with Linux 64 bit now. A couple of days ago its developer tried to port this miner to Windows, but his first try wasn’t successful. After he fixed several errors in a row, he promised to come to grips with the porting this miner to Windows during the next week, and he removed the Alpha version of miner for Windows, which no one ever managed to launch. The miner also has a developer commission, but unlike other miners the commission is not deducted from the hashrate that the miner showed. You get all hashrate showed by the miner, but in the background mode miner concurrently works for the developer, and it proves that this version of the miner is able to give out a much higher hashrate, but the part of hashrate is blocked by the developer so far. Most likely after the new, faster version of their miner is released by Claymore, the Optiminer developer will completely unlock his miner, thus reducing his commission. Nowadays Optiminer supports only GCN graphics cards from AMD, and Nvidia GPU and CPU mining are not supported. Miner has a closed source code and works based on OpenCL. Graphics cards hashrates: AMD Radeon Nano = 185 H/s, AMD Radeon R9 290 = 140 H/s, AMD Radeon RX 470 = 130 H/s, AMD Radeon RX 480 = 140 H/s, AMD Radeon R9 290X = 160 H/s, AMD Radeon R9 380X = 90 H/s, AMD Radeon R9 390X = 166 H/s.
- Silent Army is one of the fastest and most universal miners with an open source code that is written in Python programming language and that works with the help of OpenCL. Claymore’s used the part of the SilentArmy miner source code in one of its first releases. To mine the coins using the EquiHash algorithm it is possible to use both AMD graphics cards, and also Nvidia GPU and different CPU (to mine with central CPUs it is recommended to have support for the set of AVX2 or AVX instructions). Although initially SilentArmy was developed for running with Linux, it is possible to launch it with Windows using Cygwin. Unlike most other miners, Silent Army doesn’t have any developer commissions. Graphics cards hashrates: AMD Radeon Fury = 115 H/s, AMD Radeon RX 480 = 75 H/s, Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 = 70 H/s.
- Genoil ZEC miner is the first fast miner for mining Zcash with GPU (It also supports CPU mining). Currently even the latest 0.6.2 version of this miner, which was released 8 days ago, has considerably fallen behind its competitors in terms of performance as well as stability and load on GPU and CPU. The first versions of Genoil ZEC miner constantly hanged up and crashed, and some users even came up with a launch of a special watcher script that tracked the mining process, and in case of a problem just rebooted the miner. Genoil was the fastest miner for GPU at that time, and also it was twice as better in terms of performance than the standard miner from the coin developers. Genoil miner supports only GCN graphics cards from AMD, and works with Windows OS. Genoil Zec Miner does not have any additional developer commission, and uses OpenCL library to work. Equipment hashrates: AMD Radeon R9 280X = 30 H/s, AMD FX 8350 8 cores = 11 H/s.
- nheqminer is the first miner for producing Zcash from NiceHash, which was released together with the coin launch. It was used to mine Zcash with CPU, however at the same time the graphics cards hashrates leave much to be desired. It supports CPU with instruction set AVX/AVX2, and the graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia (low hashrate). This miner has an open source code and works only with Windows 64-bit. Miner is connected to the Nicehash pool, but after the developers revealed an open source code, there appeared the miner forks and they can work on any pool. Equipment hashrates: AMD FX 8350 8 cores = 10 H/s, Intel Core i7 6700K = 40 H/s, Intel Core i5 4690K = 19 H/s.