Build your own Litecoin Mining Rig, part 1: Hardware

Litecoin mining rig in plastic crates

One of my finished mining rigs. Using plastic crates instead of a standard PC case helps improve airflow and cooling.

So you’re interested in mining cryptocurrency, but you’re not sure where to start? No problem, this guide is all you need to set up your own headless litecoin mining rig—even if you have absolutely no experience with this sort of thing.

First, let’s get the obvious question out of the way: why litecoins? After all, bitcoins are worth more, right? The simple answer is that at the time of this writing, litecoins are currently the most profitable cryptocurrency to mine when you take into account how much each coin is worth, and the time required to mine one. Rest assured that if the situation changes, and another cryptocurrency suddenly surpasses litecoin as the best mining option, the rig outlined in the guide should have no problem switching over to a new coin.

This guide will be broken into several parts, each focusing on a different aspect of building your first mining rig. First, let’s take a look at what you’ll need in terms of hardware to put a respectable miner together.

Bitcoin on the Colbert Report

A hilarious piece on bitcoin appeared on the Colbert Report yesterday:
(video removed)
(Click here to go directly to the video if you can’t see it here.)

Steve Forbes: Bitcoins are not money

According to Steve Forbes, bitcoin does not qualify as a currency. The basic reason? Bitcoins do not have a fixed value, thanks to their outrageous volatility:

Money is most optimal when it is fixed in value just as commerce is facilitated when we have fixed weights and measures. When you buy a pound of hamburger you expect to get 16 ounces of meat. An hour has 60 minutes. A mile has 5280 feet. These measurements don’t “float.”

Forbes makes a valid point. Cryptocurrencies in general don’t stand a chance of widespread adoption until the massive swings in daily (hourly) value calm way down. Nobody wants to worry about their own personal version of the $2 million bitcoin pizza every time they spend cryptocurrency, after all.

Notroll.in mining pool operator trolls users; steals their litecoins

Troll FaceIf you’re currently using notroll.in as your litecoin mining pool, and you’re not aware of the extreme shadiness that went down there last week, you may want to read on. In fact, even if you don’t use notroll.in, it’s important to be aware of the fact that some of the mining pools out there are run by dishonest operators looking to scam you. Don’t treat mining pools like banks: cash out often, and scrutinize activity to make sure that you’re not being cheated.

Is cryptocurrency mining an environmental issue?

Mark Gimein, writing for Bloomberg News, commented that bitcoin mining uses quite a bit of power. Enough that he calls it a “real-world environmental disaster”:

About 982 megawatt hours a day, to be exact. That’s enough to power roughly 31,000 U.S. homes, or about half a Large Hadron Collider.

[…]

Real-world mining of precious metals for currency was a resource-hungry and value-destroying process. Bitcoin mining is too.

Others aren’t quite convinced that virtual mining causes the same level of environmental destruction that the real thing does.