Cryptocurrency mining has evolved considerably in a relatively short space of time. In the beginning, currencies such as Bitcoin could be mined using just a PC or GPU.
However, in recent years, increased difficulty levels and a substantial upturn in Bitcoin’s popularity, means that mining with anything other than specialised hardware is just not financially viable anymore. Nevertheless, Bitcoin isn’t the only digital asset out there.
The constant unveiling of new cryptocurrencies has opened up fresh opportunities for low to medium budget miners. This is because ‘altcoins’, as they are known, tend to have lower difficulty levels so they can be mined with a graphics card or even a CPU.
In addition, many hashing algorithms are now being developed to be ASIC-resistant in an effort to maintain decentralization and discourage their widespread use in larger corporate mining operations.
While this levels the playing field to a small degree, ASICs remain the hardware of choice for miners with large bankrolls. With this in mind, we’ll now take a look at some of the cryptocurrencies worth mining in 2018.
Monero was launched in the spring of 2014. With a strong emphasis on privacy, it relies on the proof-of-work algorithm for the verification of transactions. It’s also specifically designed to be GPU and CPU-friendly which makes it a great option for miners with smaller budgets.
Litecoin was unveiled in 2011 and is closely based on the Bitcoin core, but with a decreased block generation time and different hashing algorithm. Although CPUs and GPU’s were initially effective at generating profits, added difficulty and increased competition means that ASICs are now essential. And while it’s not the most profitable cryptocurrency to mine with a low budget, profits can still be made through mining services such as cloud mining.
Etherium was introduced in 2015 and is the second most valuable cryptocurrency after Bitcoin. Currently using a proof of work framework, plans are afoot for a move to a proof of stake format in the near future. For now though, Etherium can still be mined through power-friendly GPUs – indeed they’re the only viable hardware solution, given that the currency is specifically designed to be ASIC resistant.
Vertcoin was released in 2015 and is making significant strides in the cryptocurrency industry. Based on the proof-of-work function, it was developed to be ASIC resistant in order to guard against centralized mining. So, mining Vertcoin with multiple GPUs can still prove profitable, despite an increase in difficulty.
Bytecoin is based on the Cryptonote protocol which encourages anonymous, peer-to-peer transactions. Its value has appreciated markedly since 2017 with a 5,600% price surge recorded in 2017 – so as far as cryptocurrencies go its hot property. And because it’s ASIC resistant, mining can still be performed with a CPU or GPU.
Electroneum was launched in September of 2017 and is a relatively new digital asset. Using the latest technology, it is considered to be one of the most promising new cryptocurrencies on the market. Electroneum is based on an advanced iteration of the Cryptonote algorithm which means that it’s ASIC-resistant. This levels the playing field considerably, allowing for CPU, GPU and even smartphone mining.
Zencash is based on Zcash’s zero-knowledge encryption protocol which encourages fully anonymous transactions. Its price has increased substantially since launch, thanks largely to its underlying technology. And as is the case with many new cryptocurrencies, Zencash is ASIC-resistant but can be mined with both CPUs and GPUs.
Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
Bitcoin Gold is a modification (hard fork) of renowned cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Launched in late 2017, it uses the ASIC-resistant algorithm, Equihash, in order to decentralize the mining process. Consequently, Bitcoin Gold can actually be mined with GPUs.
World Coin (WDC)
Worldcoin is a second-generation cryptocurrency that’s based heavily on Bitcoin. Offering faster transaction times than its illustrious predecessor, Worldcoin uses the SCRYPT algorithm which means that it can be mined with an ASIC.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Cash is a hard fork of Bitcoin and was launched in 2017 in response to concerns about scalability. Its ledger can process more transactions thanks to an increase in the block size from 1mb to 8mb. However, like Bitcoin, it can only be mined effectively with the use of specialized hardware such as an ASIC.
eMark is a decentralized cryptocurrency which was forked from Litecoin back in 2013. It was developed to celebrate the old German Deutschmark while re-creating it as a digital currency to be used internationally. Using the SHA-256 proof of work and proof of stake schemes, eMark can be mined with the use of an ASIC.
Peercoin is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that uses a hybrid proof-of-work and proof-of-stake system. Using the same SHA-256 algorithm as Bitcoin and sharing similar source code, it can be mined with the same ASIC hardware. Cloud and pool mining are also viable options.
Dash is a PoW cryptocurrency that was initially released as XCoin in 2014. Heavily based on Bitcoin architecture, it has increased in value significantly in recent years and is considered one of the most popular altcoins on the market. Despite teething troubles at launch, DASH has also become a favorite among miners – such is its popularity that cost-effective solo mining can only be performed with an ASIC.
ZCash is an open-source, proof-of-work cryptocurrency that uses the Equihash algorithm. As a result, it cannot be mined with ASIC hardware. However, GPUs and even CPUs can be used quite effectively to mine for a tidy profit.