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Antminer: how to use it


en.cryptonomist.ch 2020-06-23 18:50
Reading time: ~4 m

How to use the Antminer? This is Bitmain’s ASIC for bitcoin mining. 

In reality, there are also some versions of it that are used to mine other cryptocurrencies, i.e. they use algorithms different from SHA256, such as EquiHash. 

But the basic operation is always the same, whether you use SHA256 to mine bitcoin or EquiHash to mine, for example, ZCash. 

A so-called ASIC, an Application Specific Integrated Circuit, is nothing more than an integrated circuit created specifically to perform a single type of processing or calculation. In this way it is optimized solely and exclusively to perform that operation, resulting faster and less energy-intensive compared to more generic solutions. 

In the case of the Antminer, the operation performed by the ASIC is precisely the hash calculation using algorithms such as SHA256. 

It is no coincidence that the Antminer’s power is measured in TH/s, i.e. TeraHash per second. 

Tera means 10^12, which is a thousand billion, therefore 1TH/s means a thousand billion hashes calculated in a second. 

To put it bluntly, a modern Antminer can exceed 100 TH/s, while overall Bitcoin’s global hashrate is about 100 EH/s, or one hundred million TH/s. 

These numbers make it clear that today mining requires dedicated hardware, such as ASICs, to mine bitcoin. Mining is essentially a competition in which those with the most computing power win. 

In reality, the individual Antminers are in turn composed of several ASICs working in parallel, and in this way, they are able to reach the extraordinary numbers mentioned above. 

However, they do consume a lot of electricity, with no guarantee of any kind of revenue. As mining is a competition, if the other competitors perform better, chances are that nothing will be collected. 

This is why mining pools were created, which allow individual users to share their computing power with other users and then distribute any revenue to maximize the chances to collect something. 

The Antminers do nothing on their own: they have to be connected to a network with an Ethernet cable so that they can be configured and managed with a computer or mobile device connected to the same network. 

The network must obviously be connected to the Internet to allow the Antminer to connect to the Bitcoin network. 

The first necessary configuration to do is to connect the Antminer to a pool

In fact, despite its high computing power, it is almost impossible for a single Antminer to mine a new Bitcoin block by itself. Hence it is necessary to connect it to a pool. 

Once the Antminer is connected to the pool, it is possible to start calculating hashes. It may take a few minutes before seeing the percentage of the calculated hash by the Antminer in the pool. 

This percentage is crucial for calculating how much of the pool’s revenue is shared with the other members of the pool. The higher it is, the more BTC will be collected if the pool succeeds in mining a block. 

However, it is necessary to study the performance, requirements, and costs of the various pools before choosing the one to use. Each pool has different parameters, even though they basically work very similarly to each other. It is always possible to change pools if the desired results are not achieved. 

In addition, it is necessary to be registered on the pool’s website in order to use it. 

In theory, this might be enough, but as mentioned above, it does not guarantee any revenue at all. 

Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind the energy consumption costs of the Antminer, so before starting, it is advisable to use an online tool such as WhatToMine.com to carry out some estimates of the probable profitability of a mining operation. 

In the event that a minimally significant hash calculation percentage is obtained within the pool, if it succeeds in mining a block, the relevant percentage of the BTC collected from the pool will be sent to the BTC address indicated during the creation of the account on the pool’s website.


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