Bitcoin is one of the most popular and well-known types of cryptocurrency. But how do you get bitcoin? You can either purchase bitcoin or you can "mine" it.
The mining process involves using dedicated hardware (e.g., application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs)) that use processing power, as well as software applications, to manage these rigs. If you've decided to get into cryptocurrency mining, here is some of the best bitcoin mining software to start with.
Best Overall : Cgminer
Cgminer has been around for a while and is still going strong. With a plethora of features and active community support, it's easily the best bitcoin mining software out there.
Written in C, cgminer is a cross-platform bitcoin miner that supports Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and many other platforms. Compatible with both FPGA and ASIC hardware, cgminer is a command-line application that has full monitoring, fan speed control, and remote interface capabilities.
It comes with a scalable networking scheduler that can scale to hash rate of any size without network delays. Cgminer prevents stale work submission on new blocks and supports multiple pools with intelligent failover mechanisms. There's a menu for on-the-fly management of most settings and self-detection of new blocks with a mini database for slow/failing longpoll scenarios. Submissions can also be cached during transient network outages.
From HexFury and Black Arrow to CoinTerra and Minion, cgminer supports a wide variety of ASIC mining hardware.
Best for Customization : BFGMiner
If you have a thing for tinkering and are looking for a customizable bitcoin mining software, look no further than BFGMiner. Written in C, it's a modular FPGA/ASIC miner that has dynamic clocking, monitoring, and remote interface capabilities.
BFGMiner features built-in stratum and getwork proxy server, and its heavily threaded code hands out work retrieval and work submission to separate threads, so that working services are not hindered. The program supports "getblocktemplate" decentralized mining protocol (without proxy), and can preemptively generate work prior to the completion of existing work.
BFGMiner comes with a watchog thread that can restart idle threads but doesn't crash the machine if they fail to respond. It displays summarized and discrete data statistics of requests, accepts, rejects, hardware errors, and efficiency and utility. If there is hardware support, the program can monitor device temperature.
BFGMiner has numerous device drivers for bitcoin, including Drillbit Thumb and Eight, Twinfury USB stick miner, and ZTEX's FPGA boards. There are also device drivers for scrypt, such as GAW War Machine and ZeusMiner units.
Best GUI Front-End for Multiple Tools : EasyMiner
Different cryptocurrencies have different command line mining tools, and this makes managing them a chore. This is where EasyMiner comes into the picture, making things easier.
EasyMiner is a graphical, open-source mining software that lets you mine bitcoin, litecoin, and other cryptocurrencies. It supports minerd, CUDAminer, ccminer, cgminer, and ASIC mining for bitcoin. EasyMiner comes with a dedicated "Moneymaker" mode, which is dedicated to the mining of litecoin on its own stratum pool. There's also a "Solo" mode, which allows users to choose a pool of their own, as well as a custom hash algorithm corresponding to the coin they want to mine. EasyMiner uses the Network Hardware ID Layer (NHIL) protocol to provide an extra layer of security for the pool stratum and wallet architecture.
It's worth mentioning that EasyMiner only works on Windows.
Best for Centralized Mining Management : Awesome Miner
The above-discussed software works great if you just have one mining rig to work with. But if you want to manage multiple mining rigs, and of different types (e.g., ASICs, FPGAs), you need something a bit more robust. Enter Awesome Miner.
Having powerful centralized mining management features, Awesome Miner supports more than 50 mining engines, such as ccminer, Bminer, XMRig AMD Miner, SRBMiner, and SgMiner. It's also compatible with all popular mining algorithms, such as SHA-256, Scrypt, X11, Ethereum, and Zcash. You can add, switch, and manage pools for multiple miners in a single operation. Awesome Miner's comprehensive dashboard lets you monitor the status and temperature of all ASIC and FPGA devices from one location. There's also a built-in C# script engine, which can be used to create customized triggers and actions. You can use the program to set up privileged application programming interface (API) access and configure default pools for all Bitmain Antminer ASICs in a single operation.
Awesome Miner works on Windows and Linux, but also offers a web front-end that can be accessed from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.
What Is Bitcoin Mining Software?
Bitcoin mining software is used to keep the decentralized digital cryptocurrency secure. Miners are rewarded with bitcoin for tracking and securing transactions known as blockchains. Mining is a way to earn bitcoin without paying for it, making a trade for it, or putting any money up front—and software helps you do this.
The bitcoin mining software works in conjunction with bitcoin mining hardware, which are specialized computers built to mine cryptocurrency. The software is how you connect your hardware with your mining pool. The mining pool is essentially mining together to find the bitcoin and then splitting the payout with everyone in the pool.
How Does Bitcoin Mining Software Work?
Bitcoin mining software is quite complex and is typically used by those who are tech-savvy, have experience mining cryptocurrency, and have the time and interest to do so. The software’s goal is to help you receive bitcoin as a payout. The bitcoin mining software is usually a desktop app, and there are many different versions, some for beginners and the rest for more advanced users.
It guides you through the mining process, helps you set up a wallet where you store your bitcoin rewards, and helps you choose a pool where you mine the bitcoin. The software is typically compatible with other mining devices. Some software can be completely customized, and some can also mine other types of cryptocurrency.
How Much Does Bitcoin Mining Software Cost?
Bitcoin mining software costs vary. Typically, they can range anywhere from having a free version to just a few dollars per month per ASIC to the software charging 1% to 2% of your hashing power, which is created using an algorithm. Keep in mind that you may also need to purchase Bitcoin hardware and a special wallet.
How Do You Make Money Mining Bitcoin?
You can make money mining bitcoin by completing blocks of verified transactions added to the blockchain, which secures the bitcoin transactions. In exchange for mining, you receive bitcoin as a reward. Overall, hash rates are high, which means that it isn’t easy to profit from mining bitcoin. It can be a fun hobby, but it can also be difficult to make any substantial profit.
How We Chose the Best Bitcoin Mining Software
We chose the four best bitcoin mining software options by first reviewing and researching multiple bitcoin mining software options and then selecting the top contenders. We made these bitcoin mining software options our top choices based on how easy they were to use, the features and tools they offer, how customizable they are, if you can mine other cryptocurrencies, and more.