Mining $ERG: The Complete Guide
It's no surprise at The Crypto Drip that we're big fans of Ergo: the better, more efficient, self-sustaining Proof-of-Work (PoW) blockchain that fundamentally outpaces both Bitcoin and Ethereum. But how does one start a mining operation on Ergo? How much $ERG can one expect to receive?
While rewards in PoW blockchains vary depending on several factors, we thought it would be helpful to write a guide on just how we would do it. So buckle up — this is going to be a step-by-step guide on getting started with Ergo mining, all the way from GPU selection to mining operation!
In order to mine $ERG, you'll need to have the following:
- A computer, preferably with a decent graphics card (GPU)
- A HiveOS account, which you can create for free here
- Basic familiarity with blockchain, Proof-of-Work, and crypto wallets
- A bootable drive, like a USB or external SSD
The second requirement is more of a convenience and operation-management component, which we will use to manage our mining operation. There are other ways to mine $ERG, including through a full node operation — but we honestly believe HiveOS is the best way to manage any serious mining operation.
If you'd like to look at more details on directly running an Ergo node and miner, you can check out their official tutorials here.
The Mining Rig
Ergo utilizes a unique and novel algorithm for miner GPU's to process called Autolykos. If you're unfamiliar with mining algorithms and PoW blockchains, read our in-depth article on blockchain and mining.
Without getting into the specifics on the inner workings of Autolykos (check out the revised whitepaper by Ergo if you are curious), you can count on a few benefits:
- Memory-hard computations that deter ASIC hardware. This basically means you can compete more easily against larger mining farms, as consumer-grade GPU's depend more on memory than their ASIC counterparts. Also, GPU's have more reusability (gaming anyone?). ASIC's are built for specific algorithms and have limited uses, and Autolykos is ASIC-resistant to level the playing field.
- More efficient mining. Autolykos V2 updated their solving algorithm to be much more efficient, essentially enabling the algorithm to be friendly to any GPU. That means you'll likely get rewards no matter the type of GPU you employ (even if it's small), allowing a more passive mining operation using traditional PC's.
What does this all mean? It means you can use any computer with a graphics card to mine Ergo, and you'll likely still be profitable even if passively earning. That being said, we wanted to demonstrate how mining $ERG can be both a profitable and lucrative business long-term.
Thankfully, we have a robust community of miners in our Premium Discord channels. In particular, a professional miner by the name of Jason Seibert was kind enough to let us use his professional rig for this tutorial!
Here's a picture of what we're working with:
This may look like an IT nightmare, but it's actually more simple than it looks. The hardware on this rack (which is exposed for the most efficient airflow) is as follows:
- Motherboard: H110 Pro BTC+ASRock(P1.10 06/20/2017)
- CPU: 2 × Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU G3930 @ 2.90GHz
- HD: ATA PNY CS900 120GB
- GPU (x4): Radeon RX 580
- GPU (x2): Radeon RX 5500 XT
- GPU: Radeon RX 5600 XT
- GPU: GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
Now, it's not a great idea to start mining Ergo without knowing if you'll be profitable. As we said, Autolykos does make mining more friendly to smaller GPUs. However, depending on your electrical bill and general computer hardware, profitability will vary.
Before you get started with any mining, it's good to look at what your expected hash rate will be. To do so, you can go to WhatToMine (WTM). The main screen is scary looking at first, so we'll show you exactly how to use it by inputting the specs from our rig above.
Since this guide is for mining $ERG, we will uncheck all the algorithms so that only Autolykos is selected:
From here, you can add in your GPU(s) in the boxes at the top. The one caveat I have with WTM, personally, is that they don't support calculations for lower-end GPUs and even some higher-end ones.
The reason is likely to cause profitability decreases along with hash-rate or popularity. They do support importing datasets — but for most people, this isn't going to be required.
In most cases, you'll want a dedicated GPU card from one of the models at the top of this page. For those looking to get started with mining, this is a good place to check GPU profitability against a specific algorithm like Autolykos before making a purchase.
TIP: if you do plan to purchase a GPU, just know that they are extremely limited and usually unavailable right now. Until manufacturing catches up with current demand and supply shortages, it may be cheaper to buy a pre-built PC with a GPU already installed.
Calculate Your Rig's Hash-Rate
Adding in your GPU's consists of selecting the corresponding model number, as well as the number of GPU's on your rig that match. For our setup, the GPU cards look like this once added to WTM:
You'll notice that the hash-rate per algorithm updates automatically as you enter your information. This is useful for quick comparisons between algorithm and GPU types.
You'll also notice that WTM does not have a spot for our Radeon 5500 XT. That's okay since we're just trying to gauge with some certainty what our average hash-rate will be. We know that it will be more than 453 MH/s, but not by how much.
The good news? HiveOS will give you actual hash-rate details for your GPU's with certainty once they are running. More on that later.
Calculating Your Profitability
After inputting your information, you can calculate your most profitable algorithm by inputting the estimated cost for operating your rig at $USD/kWh. This information is usually on your energy bill as an average cost and can help ensure that you won't be spending more on energy than you are making from mining.
For now, let's just put the average cost per kilowatt of energy for the US and select "Calculate":
During the time of this writing, $ERG is currently gaining a lot of momentum and has since moved to the top of the most profitable coins to mine, according to WTM.
At the bottom, you'll now see algorithm comparisons. Since we only selected Autolykos, we will only see that result. The estimated rewards and estimated profit in US dollars per day: $27/day x 31 days = $837/month. Not bad!
The great thing is that this profit is only if you plan to convert to USD on each payout immediately. You can, however, HODL your mining rewards if you expect the price-per-coin to appreciate in the future (as many do).
Another great tool besides WTM is the official Ergo calculator. It doesn't tell you profitability or your hash-rate for various GPUs, but it will tell you what you can expect rewards-wise by inputting your hash-rate:
The estimated USD payout is different in these two screenshots mainly because we wrote this tutorial during a market dip. Now that we know we'll be profitable, let's get up and running...
Setting Up HiveOS
Once you have a rig set up and you are sure that it will be profitable, it's time to start mining!
We use HiveOS because it is the most simple and streamlined way to manage your mining operation. With HiveOS, you can do several things like partition out rigs as workers, rent hardware to other users, get real-time analytics, set rules for your computer (i.e. restart if the GPU overheats, and continue working once running again), and more.
The benefit of using a service like this is that you can set-it-and-forget-it. For this part of the tutorial, we've broken it down into 3 main steps:
- Create an Account
- Create a Bootable HiveOS SSD
- Connect Your Rig + Account
Let's get started:
1. Create an Account
To start, you'll first want to sign up here. Yes, that's an affiliate link because we actually believe in this service. HiveOS does offer a free tier that will allow you to get started with the most basic setup (and it's what we are using for this tutorial):
- 4 workers maximum
- Limited features
- Up to 3 days of stats
- Community support
If you want more, HiveOS adds more useful features and security that allow you to operate a true mining farm that is profitable.
Once you create an account, you'll see a dashboard that looks like this:
We have an extra one, called The Crypto Drip, since our community member gave us full access to his mining rig for this tutorial. This is pretty cool to see, actually, and shows the power of HiveOS as a mining operation platform.
Now that we have an account, we need to create a bootable HiveOS drive.
2. Create a Bootable HiveOS SSD
Since HiveOS is an operating system, we need to install it on a bootable disk.
You can do this directly if you have a dedicated rig, but many people only want to part-time mine (i.e. you may have GPU power for gaming, but want to switch it to mining at night).
The instructions are mainly the same (since you still need a bootable disk, even if you're installing it on a rig permanently), but for those looking for more details, you can find the official instructions from HiveOS here.
To get started, go to the download page, and download the ZIP file for GPU:
Next, you'll want to download an image burner to your computer so that you can properly install the operating system. There are a few out there, such as:
For this tutorial, we will use Etcher to install HiveOS on our portable 2TB SSD. Once your HiveOS download completes, open Etcher and plug in your SSD drive.
Next, you'll select "Flash from file" in Etcher and select your downloaded file from above:
Next, you'll select your target (in our case a, Seagate 2TB SSD). The warning icon next to the drive name simply means that it's a large drive. Once you've selected your drive, select "Flash" to write your SSD with HiveOS:
Once the SSD is done flashing, you'll now be able to boot your device from your SSD! There are a few things you'll need to do first, however, in order for your new mining rig to talk to HiveOS.
3. Create Your Worker
Back in our HiveOS dashboard, let's create a Worker. From the dashboard, select your farm. In our case, it's the pre-made farm rented out to us called The Crypto Drip. For most new accounts, you'll have a default farm. If you want to create a new one, choose the plus icon at the top:
And set your settings:
Once your farm is created, navigate to it by clicking on it. You'll see a blank farm with the ability to add a new Worker. You can add a new one by clicking "Add Worker" in the top menu dropdown:
From here, you'll want to add your settings on your own. Here's what I used as a dummy farm, just to give you an idea. The main thing you'll want to keep the same is the GPU selection (do not choose ASIC):
Once you create your worker, you'll see something like the following:
The easiest way to connect your Worker to your mining rig is to use the
RIG_PASSWORD values to connect when booting up from the SSD.
Sound good? Okay, let's do it.
4. Booting from HiveOS
Booting from an external device is different depending on which OS you use, so I'll leave this part up to you. Some quick and easy links:
Once you have booted HiveOS from your SSD drive, you'll see a screen like this:
This is the first time we're booting, so we'll need to connect our computer to a worker. Press Enter to continue (the normal API URL is fine).
HiveOS will ask you for both your
RIG_ID and your
RIG_PASSWORD. These are the same values we got above from our Worker dashboard when we first created it.
Enter these in as requested, and press Enter on your keyboard:
Next, you'll be asked to update your password. We did not change it here for simplicity, but it's recommended that you do. Type "Y" for Yes and "n" for no, and press Enter.
Once finished, you should get a success message if you entered your ID and Password correctly:
Wallet and Mining Setup
Finally, we are ready to start mining! With our rig booted up with HiveOS, and accounts synced, we can begin mining. There are two steps to this section:
- Add a Wallet (for payouts)
- Create a Flight Sheet in HiveOS (mining settings)
- Start Mining!
1. Setup a Wallet
To set up a wallet for Ergo, we'll download a lightweight client wallet called Yoroi.
Go to the homepage, click Download, and choose your browser:
Once installed, click on your new extension. Click "Create Wallet":
Next, choose Ergo as your wallet type:
Go through the creation process. You'll set a name, spending password (for whenever you want to send money), and you'll also get a recovery phrase. The recovery phrase is for restoring your wallet if you ever remove it from your computer. The spending password is for security.
Once set up, you'll see a brand-new wallet. Click the Receive button in the top right, like this:
Next, you'll see your wallet address. Select copy to save your wallet address:
Now that you have your wallet address, go to your HiveOS Dashboard. Select your farm, then select Wallets.
Next, select "Add Wallet":
Enter your details, pasting in the Wallet address that we copied from the Yoroi extension. The only required fields are the Coin type (ERG), and the address.
You should see your wallet show up now, like this:
2. Setup Your Flight Sheet
The only thing left at this point is to tell HiveOS what you want to mine and which rig to use! Thankfully, HiveOS makes choosing a miner super simple.
From the same page, select "Flight Sheets":
There are a few options on this page, but they are fairly straightforward:
- Coin Ticker: ERG
- Wallet: The one you just created.
- Pool: Type in "herominers" and choose a server location (we chose USA West)
- Miner: Type in "NanoMiner"
- Name: Whatever you want!
- Click "Create Flight Sheet"
After this, you'll see your new Flight Sheet created, along with all the required fields and settings for running your mining rig:
Pools and miner types are a bit nuanced, but they are important, so let's just briefly break down what these are for:
Mining pools allow groups of individuals to contribute hashing power to a single-solving algorithm, thereby increasing the chances of finding a solution. Originally Autolykos did not support pool mining, hoping that it would support further decentralization by forcing solo mining.
Unfortunately, this worked well in theory but not in practice. To increase incentive, Autolykos V2 turned on pool mining support, and has since found increased participation among smaller miners.
Some additional pools exist that you can participate in. A word of warning concerning nanopool, however: they have a very high hash-rate contribution to Ergo. In order to help decentralize the network, we suggest HeroMiners as a first option, woolypooly as a second option, and nanopool as a last resort.
Miners are more like software applications that run the blockchain algorithms. They are made specifically for different GPU types, and some are more stable than others.
NBMiner, for example, is made by Chinese developers and mainly targeted at the Chinese market. Their software supports graphic cards made by NVIDIA and AMD, and usually provides a high hash-rate in their tests.
The stability of NBMiner isn't great at times, however, so we sacrifice 1-2 MH/s in speed for more stability, which nanominer provides. It's also made by the same people who operate the nanopool, so it's been thoroughly tested. Stability can be a profitable choice since an overheated or inefficient miner can crash your rig and require a reboot, wasting time.
3. Start Mining!
We are now ready to start mining! To apply your Flight Sheet to your Worker, follow these steps:
- Go back to the Workers tab
- Click the checkbox next to your Worker
- Click the Rocket Ship icon
- Select your Flight Sheet:
Next, HiveOS will ask you to confirm. Select "Apply":
This will send the command to your Worker (which is connected to your mining rig), and it will start mining! Just like that, we're off to the races.
Go ahead and click on your Worker now to view its details. You should begin to see something like this:
You can control your Worker completely from here! Furthermore, you can monitor settings, hash-rates, GPU temperature, and overall hash-rate. HiveOS also has an app (Apple & Android) for people to manage their rigs on the go, including alerts and more.
You can see at the top that we are running Autolykos V2 for our mining algorithm at a hash-rate of 558.5 MH/s. Pretty awesome.
Payouts on HeroMiner are pretty quick. You can look at your current balance at any time by going to the HeroMiners' website, scrolling to the "Your Stats & Payment History" section, and inputting your wallet address:
Here you can see your current balance and how close you are to a payout (the calculated hash-rate here is higher because our community member has multiple farms running the algorithm on the same pool).
That's it! There are many ways to mine, but hopefully, this tutorial has helped you. If you need more help or run into issues, our Discord channel for premium members is full of helpful people (including the person who donated the rig in this tutorial).
If you'd like to be a part, you can subscribe for $10/month and get full access, including the Mining channel, or just join for free!