Pros and Cons of Mining Cryptocurrency
Crypto mining is widely frowned upon in PC gaming and hardware communities. This is mainly due to the fact that large-scale mining operations like the one shown below are largely to blame for the current graphics card shortage.
The widespread “mining is bad” attitude is a massive oversimplification of the problem, though. Mining itself is not problematic, it only becomes an issue when you buy GPUs for the purpose of mining, thus reducing the supply available to others. If you already have a gaming PC equipped with a high-powered graphics card, you may find it beneficial to mine.
Benefits of Mining
Obviously the main benefit reaped from mining is in the form of financial gain. If you mine Ethereum, for example, you’re rewarded in the Ethereum token which you can sell for fiat (traditional money) or hold in the hopes of price appreciation. If you’ve already purchased the graphics card for the purpose of gaming, all profit from GPU mining can be considered an added bonus.
Downsides of Mining
On the other hand, there are a few negative aspects of mining to consider. First and foremost, mining can certainly add wear and tear to your graphics card. More specifically, mining increases GPU and VRAM temperatures which causes your graphics card fans to spin at high speeds in an attempt to cool down. Having your fans running at full throttle 24/7 will decrease the lifespan of your graphics card.
To work around this we recommend optimizing your GPU settings for mining. This typically involves reducing the core clock speed, increasing your memory clock, decreasing your power limit, and setting your fan to a constant speed somewhere between 70 and 85%. This will diminish the negative impacts of mining while still allowing you to earn substantial profits.
Graphics cards also put off a significant amount of heat when mining. In the winter this is rarely an issue but in warmer seasons you may find that the room where your PC is housed becomes uncomfortably hot due to mining. If this is problematic for you it may be best to avoid mining during the summer or spring.
Lastly, mining cryptocurrency does require power. Unless your electricity is extremely expensive you’ll still be turning a profit as long as you choose the right crypto, but it’s important to understand and factor in the cost.
The 6 Best Cryptocurrencies to GPU Mine
Ergo runs on the Autolykos algorithm and is one of the more speculative cryptocurrencies on this list. In other words, if you choose to mine Ergo you’re best off holding for the long-term since it’s currently less profitable than several other projects.
With a current market cap of $158 million, ERG has plenty of room to grow and is unique in that it uses less electricity than most projects on different algorithms. It also charges no gas fees, offering a large advantage over Ethereum’s extremely expensive cost per transaction. You can read more about Ergo here.
Formerly known as Zcoin, Firo is a privacy-focused cryptocurrency that’s still relatively tiny. It’s currently the fifth most profitable cryptocurrency to mine, and its current market cap of $63 million leaves a lot of upside for long-term holders. FIRO uses its unique FiroPOW algorithm, and more can be earned by staking to Masternodes once your balance reaches 1000 FIRO.
Flux presents a fascinating concept, as it aims to be what’s essentially a decentralized AWS or Google Cloud-type service. They provide cloud infrastructure for deploying dApps, with rewards split between nodes and miners. FLUX has a current market cap of $330 million so it’s still a small-to-medium-scale project with a lot of appreciation upside, should it gain popularity.
Even if the price and network difficulty were to remain constant FLUX isn’t a bad expenditure of resources, as it’s currently the fourth-most profitable crypto to GPU-mine.
Toncoin actually isn’t a proof-of-work cryptocurrency. Rather, the developers have allocated a set amount to “giver” smart contracts that can be GPU-mined. Once this supply is gone, Toncoin can no longer be mined.
This mineable Toncoin is likely to last until June or July of 2022 at the earliest, so there’s still time to accumulate a decent balance. What’s more, this crypto is even more profitable than Ethereum on most LHR graphics cards, since Nvidia’s hashrate limiter doesn’t affect Toncoin’s algorithm.
Toncoin is integrated with both the Binance Smart Chain and Ethereum network, as it’s bridged to both, so withdrawals to either of these chains are easy and require minimal gas fees. For this reason, we believe Toncoin is a top-three mineable cryptocurrency. Read our guide to mining Toncoin to learn how.
2. Super Zero
Super Zero is yet another privacy-focused project, and it allows complete transactional anonymity through the use of Super-ZK encryption. At the time of writing it’s second to only Ethereum in terms of profitability, and with a market cap of less than $30 million it’s an incredible 1/15,200 the size of Ethereum.
If you don’t need the money immediately and want to increase potential gains, SERO is by far the best option to mine at the moment. Privacy above and beyond the standard blockchain is a growing niche in crypto and appears to be here to stay. If it continues to grow SERO and its miners would be beneficiaries. Feel free to check out our guide to mining SERO for more information.
The second-largest cryptocurrency behind only Bitcoin, Ethereum is the most profitable cryptocurrency to mine and your best bet for reliable cashflow. If you want to keep speculation to a minimum ETH is the way to go, as it’s well-established and will be a staple of blockchain users for years to come. This comes at a slight cost, as there’s little to no potential for Ethereum to increase by large multiples in the short-term due to its already-massive size. Even so, Ethereum will be the most reliable mining option for the foreseeable future.
Read more about how to mine Ethereum in our guide on the topic.