A virtual currency relies on a specific cryptographic hash as part of the mining process. There are many algorithms in use, and no two algorithms are compatible. The two most popular are SHA256 and Scrypt; BitCoin and many other cryptocurrencies use SHA256, whereas CandyCoin uses Scrypt which is a newer and more complex hash algorithm. The main advantage of Scrypt is because of it’s complexity it is in theory more resistant to attacks; however, other than that there are very few other differences.
Solo vs Pooled Mining
In simple terms, mining a virtual currency is to be the first to find a solution to a cryptographic problem. This cryptographic problem self-adjusts to be easier or more difficult depending on how quickly solutions are being found on the network – this represents an approximation of how much effort is being dedicated to mining. As miners leave or more come online, the network difficulty adjusts to try and meet a goal of solving the problem for a set timeframe.
Because some people can afford very powerful mining hardware, they would naturally solve the problem more frequently that those with very low performance mining hardware, thus earning more block rewards. Since those that don’t solve the problem within the allotted timeframe earn nothing, eventually mining becomes unprofitable for lower-performance miners. To work around this problem somewhat, the concept of pooled mining was devised to permit a large number of low-performance miners to work together as a single larger miner, and share the profits proportionally.
In the early days of CandyCoin, it was possible to use your computer’s CPU to mine. However, because of the availability of high performance video cards and ASIC miners, it’s generally considered impractical and highly inefficient to mine using a CPU now, and not recommended.
Video Card (GPU) Mining
Before the widespread availability of dedicated mining hardware, video card (GPU) mining offered exponentially higher efficiency and performance over CPU mining. Even today, GPU mining is still considered viable for some currencies like CandyCoin.
To mine using your GPU, you will need a supported nVidia or AMD video card and you will need to run mining software on your computer. Generally it should be pointed out that the computer will have degraded usability during mining, and depending on your settings, may not even be usable at all.
The latest and most common approach now to mining is using dedicated hardware to perform the mining operation. There are several advantages to this approach: because these miners use custom-built chips (ASICs, or Application Specific IC’s) they are many times more efficient than GPUs (although they still generate significant heat and consume a large amount of power). ASICs are generally much simpler to configure and operate – because they perform a singular, highly repetitive task, there are no complicated configuration parameters involved in their setup as there is with GPUs. GPUs also require a large and often powerful host computer to operate, but most ASIC miners are able to be controlled with only a tiny, inexpensive low-power embedded computer (typically a Raspberry Pi or a Beaglebone). And finally, in terms of cost vs performance, they are significantly cheaper as well – not to mention the cost savings gained by not needing a separate computer to host the video cards, as well as the typical operating costs (eg electricity).
Scrypt ASIC miners didn’t arrive on the market until late 2013 and became widely available throughout 2014. For someone wanting to get started with CandyCoin mining, unless you already have several high-performance video cards, buying an ASIC miner is probably the best choice cost-wise. When selecting hardware to purchase, the performance of the CandyCoin network must be taken into account. As of December 2014 it makes little sense to contribute anything less than 1 MH/s (million hashes per second), although even the lowest performing ASIC on the market at the time of this writing is well in excess of that and ASICs performing at 10MH/s or greater are widely available.
Recommended Scrypt Mining Hardware
There is probably no better ASIC for the beginner than the tried and true Zeus Blizzard. Several of these ASICs have been powering the CandyCoin network throughout it’s infancy and have proven to be extremely efficient and reliable. Unlike higher-powered hardware, they are cool and quiet enough to be run on a shelf in an office and their power consumption is very modest. One major selling point for these miners is that unlike higher-powered hardware, they include a power supply. Several of these can be plugged into your home computer or connected to a small controller such as a Raspberry Pi for a completely self-contained solution.
This performs the same as three of the Blizzards and is slightly more energy efficient. However, it requires a power supply to be purchased separately; like the Blizzard, the X6 uses a barrel connector for power but as the miner draws at least 100W you will need a fairly high-end power supply. Unfortunately, compatible power supplies are not offered for sale on the Zeus website, but if you dig through mining forums or eBay you’ll probably be able to find a power supply for sale that meets the requirements.
Although extremely loud, the Hurricane is a very fast Scrypt ASIC that uses the same chips as the Blizzards, but just more (64 of them) mining at up to 10MH/s at a respectable 230W. As a plus, it uses a standard computer power supply – just be sure that your power supply can produce enough power and has two GPU power connectors.
Although the cost may be a bit prohibitive for the beginner, in the long-term more is always better and this is a great solution considering that many people may even have a spare compatible computer power supply in their homes.
Whether you’re solo-mining or pool-mining, using a CPU, GPU or an ASIC, you will need to run software. Fortunately, there have been quite a few software packages written for this purpose. You will find them outlined below:
This guide assumes that you are running a recent version of Windows.
The first thing you should do is download and install the CandyCoin wallet, if you haven’t already.
Next, you will need to download and install the appropriate software that supports your GPU or ASIC. You can refer to the above list, note that for ASICs you should follow the advice from the manufacturer or forum users as to what software is the best choice for your hardware.
You will now need to select a mining pool to participate in. Although there are several, we recommend the official CandyCoin mining pool, located here.
Although this step is optional, it is recommended that you create a batch file for launching your miner. There are many options that can be configured and it’s impractical to type them in each time. Launch notepad, and enter your miner configuration. Some examples are listed below for cgminer, although it’s recommended that you fully understand the implications of setting each option.
AMD/ATI GPU (tested with Radeon R290X)
@cgminer.exe -o stratum+tcp://pool.candyco.in:3333 -u YXXHzFMYWszethkEruSXNxD1NzhyvoaNL3 -p x –scrypt -I 12 –auto-fan
@cgminer.exe -o stratum+tcp://pool.candyco.in:3333 -u YXXHzFMYWszethkEruSXNxD1NzhyvoaNL3 -p x –scrypt -I 20 -g 2 -w 256 –shaders 2048 –auto-fan
ASIC (tested with Zeus Blizzard on COM7)
@cgminer.exe -o stratum+tcp://pool.candyco.in:3333 -u YXXHzFMYWszethkEruSXNxD1NzhyvoaNL3 -p x –scrypt –nocheck-golden –chips-count 6 –ltc-clk 315 -S //./COM7