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What is the Best Cryptocurrency to Mine in 2021?

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Last updated July 2, 2021

If you want to conduct a successful mining operation, you need to find the best cryptocurrency to mine for yourself.

To do that, the best advice is to know very well what you’re getting into, what your objectives are, and what your limits are. 

Also, knowing that the world’s economy is soo fragile, it’s not even surprising why there is such hype on cryptocurrency – especially since it offers solutions independent of centralized entities. 

However, now that the number of people who became aware of the need for independence is continuously rising, the competition for mining crypto is way bigger, leading to smaller rewards. 

But before jumping to the list, we need to understand what mining is about. 

So let’s start with a brief mining guide.

What is cryptocurrency mining?

what is cryptocurrency mining

In the most straightforward words, crypto mining is the process of solving complex mathematical equations in order to validate crypto transactions. For every new crypto mined, users who took part in the process are rewarded with a fraction of it. 

Contrary to general belief, mining crypto doesn’t mean creating a new coin but releasing one from the total supply. The most crypto project has a limited supply of coins, which leads to an increase in value as they become rarer, exactly like gold. 

Crypto mining exists because developers wanted to stop the most common issue associated with digital currencies – the double-spending issue

This occurs when a bad actor disrupts the blockchain and steals cryptocurrencies while copying the original transaction. In simpler terms, when he finds his way to your crypto wallet and therefore access your coins.  

However, once crypto miners validate a transaction, the coins implicated could not be spent again by the same user. It is as simple as it sounds.  

Another misconception is that users need to have a wide technical knowledge if they want to mine, which is not true. The equations are actually solved by their computer, so all they need is sufficiently hash power and a bit of technical knowledge.

And since we’re here, let’s see how many types of cryptocurrency mining are there.

What types of crypto mining exists?

Actually, there are two ways of approaching the subject, depending on your interests of course. Some people are interested in the computer components responsible for the process of mining, while other people are interested in the methods used.

Whichever side you’re finding yourself on, we explained below each type of crypto mining. Shall we begin?

Crypto Mining as a process

crypto mining processes

Technically speaking, there are three computer components that you can use for crypto mining:

  • ASIC or Application-Specific Integrated Circuit;
  • GPU or Graphics Processing Unit;
  • CPU or Central Processing Unit.

Each of them got amazing results over the years, but the answer to the question “Which one is better” depends on how much you are willing to invest in order to start mining. Not just that, but you need to take into consideration the space available for the equipment, the profit you expect to have, and the cryptocurrencies you want to work with. 

So let’s see what this is all about.

ASIC mining 

As we can see from the name, ASIC is an integrated computer component built for a specific kind of application. You might be more familiar with the term “microchip,” which is exactly what this is. 

Those particular for the crypto domain are designed with the purpose of mining a specific cryptocurrency. For example, the only way you can mine Bitcoin with ASIC is just with a Bitcoin ASIC miner.

In terms of performance, ASIC is clearly superior to GPU or CPU, having the ability to run 100,000 times faster than the best of these two. And, of course, that leads to great profits since the mining rewards are distributed to the first crypto users that validate a transaction.

Looking on whattomine.com, profits can vary from a couple of dollars a month to a few thousand. Ultimately, the proffit will depend on the coins you mine, the quality of the hardware, and various market factors such as price evolution.   

When it comes to affordability, it depends on the brand, model, and the way it was developed.

For example, a standard ASIC such as Antminer s17 costs around $2,000 and can generate 60 Th/s.  

When you read about all of that, you probably wonder why people are willing to buy CPU and GPU at a higher price for lower performance and profitability. 

The answer is quite simple, though. Not all cryptocurrencies allow ASIC mining. Also, you are restricted to mine the cryptocurrencies with the mining algorithm your ASIC is built for.

A lot of cryptocurrency developers resorted to the restriction of ASIC miners (like Vertcoin or Monero) to encourage the network’s decentralization. 

Also, it’s not all pink regarding ASIC. While the cost/performance ratio is very attractive, it has a short lifespan, and it’s not upgradeable. 

GPU Mining

GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit, and it is practically the video card of your computer, usually needed for gaming. 

GPU mining isn’t as performant as ASIC. For example, an NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti has a hash rate of 26 MH/s and costs around $300.

However, GPU miners are very flexible, having the ability to mine different coins, allowing you to switch between cryptocurrencies.

Plus, it offers benefits in other fields too (like gaming, streaming, or video editing), so you are not investing just for crypto. 

In terms of profitability, it’s not bad either. Depending on the cryptocurrency, it can vary between $30-$700/month.

However, despite its complex computation, there are some downsides too. 

First of all, it has a lot more power consumption than ASIC. Second of all, it might take a while until you recoup your investment because a pre-made GPU mining rig can be found at around $3,000

CPU Mining

The Central Processing Unit was the first type of crypto mining, and as you may have guessed, it’s kind of outdated. 

It’s no wonder why. CPU mining is extremely slow, with an average hash rate of 0.7 MH/sec, way inferior to GPU and ASIC. 

There are little to no chances of succeeding in validating transactions with it. And if you do, really well, you may have a profit of a maximum of a few dollars a month. And that’s with using a computer. 

If we take a look at mobile mining, things look even direr.

Its $300 average price shouldn’t be tempting either because it “compensates” with very high power consumption. Add to that its limitation performance, since it’s easily overloaded.  

But if you just want to exercise mining before investing in ASIC or GPU, then it’s nothing wrong with getting a CPU. Just make sure you don’t burn your device while overclocking it.

Crypto mining as a method

best cryptocurrencies to mine

If you are not that interested in the technical information behind the curtains and you just want to enjoy the show, then let’s take a different approach. 

If we talk about cryptocurrency mining as a method, then we have three other types of mining:

  • SOLO Mining;
  • POOL Mining;
  • CLOUD Mining.

Again, all of them had great results over the years, and the final decision should be made based on your personal interests. 

SOLO Mining

This is also known as individual mining, and it is self-explanatory. You basically get your own equipment and then get to work, independent of other miners’ activities. Therefore, when you unlock a new coin, all the rewards go to you. 

But this is a double-edged sword. While yes, the rewards are bigger, the competition level is exactly alike. If you want to have a chance to be the first miner who validates a transaction, you need to do some serious investment in equipment. 

Take note that you are competing with mining farms that invest up to $103,424 per month. But again, it depends on the cryptocurrencies you want to work with. There are coins like GRIN that can be mined without much struggle due to the low competitiveness.  

POOL Mining

As we said before, crypto mining is a tough game. With more people joining the crypto world, it became harder to get rewards. Therefore, developers found a solution – POOL mining.

POOL mining requires a server that combines the computational power of all the miners who want to join the pool. This method increases the chances of unlocking new coins and, therefore, the chances to be rewarded. 

The downside is that the reward for a single coin unlocked is distributed between all the participants, so you get less than on SOLO mining. However, it’s better to have a smaller reward than not having a reward at all. Not to mention your equipment investment can be much lower too.

CLOUD Mining

Solo mining and Pool mining are not the only way to go. We also have an option for those that don’t want to invest too much in mining equipment. When looking at the prices of the instruments needed, it is understandable why.

So, in order to expand the crypto usability, a new method of crypto mining appeared – CLOUD mining. 

This technology allows crypto users to stop buying mining equipment and start renting computing power from industrial mining services. As a result, your investment becomes lower, you can mine any kind of crypto you want, and you can quit anytime without feeling guilty.

Now that all of these are clear, let’s jump to the most interesting part – finding the best cryptocurrencies to work with.

What are the best cryptocurrencies to mine?

best cryptocurrencies to mine

Choosing a coin to mine from thousands of options is not easy. But now that you have the basic knowledge about how mining works, it should be a lot easier. 

The performance and profit in revenue depend not just on the type of mining chosen but also on the computer specifications and even market trends. 

However, we did our homework, and we gathered here six of the greatest coins you could mine:

  • Ethereum;
  • Ethereum Classic;
  • ZCash;
  • DigiByte;
  • Litecoin;
  • RavenCoin;

With that being said, let’s see why those are so special. Starting with… 

Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum’s Ether is by far one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, being present in the crypto area since 2013. The developing company is known due to the innovation with which it was launched – Smart contracts.    

Ethereum has a great market capitalization (over $242 billion at the moment). However, keep in mind that it is generally hard to mine if you plan a small investment. But if you have the necessary resources, go for it. Here we listed the information you will need to take into consideration before deciding if you want to mine it. 

Although, Ethereum will move to staking, getting involved with Ether is not a mistake even nowadays. Ether is rising in popularity and is getting investors at a rate comparable to Bitcoin.

Nonspecific Indicators  

  • Current Mining reward: 2 ETH/block
  • Number of blocks: 12,740,645
  • Block time: 13 seconds
  • Proffit/month: $33.25

The proffit is calculated for 25 MH/s with a power consumption of 125 Watts and might change according to the price evolution.

Technical Indicators

  • Algorithm: Proof-of-Work
  • Hashing function: Ethash
  • Network Hashrate: 484.18 TH/s
  • Options to mine: GPU, CPU

Ethereum Classic (ETC)

In order to recover the coins lost after the big DAO Attack in 2016, Ethereum resorted to a hard fork, but not all the team members agreed. Therefore, the blockchain was split in two, a part of it being kept without modifying transactions, now known as Ethereum Classic.

Again, it is a popular cryptocurrency, with a market cap of over $6 billion and a large number of supporters. 

Nonspecific Indicators  

  • Current Mining reward: 3.1 ETC/block
  • Number of blocks: 13,034,696
  • Block time: 13 seconds
  • Proffit/month: $27.89

The proffit is calculated for 25 MH/s with a power consumption of 125 Watts and might change according to the price evolution. 

Technical Indicators

  • Algorithm: Proof-of-Work
  • Hashing function: Etchash
  • Network Hashrate: 20.94 TH/s
  • Options to mine: GPU, CPU

ZCash (ZEC)

The year 2016 brought many great coins, with ZCash being next on the list. It is also a popular cryptocurrency, mainly because the developing company is focused on privacy. By being designed with ASIC resistance, the coins can’t be mined with ease, but their value is not as fragile so therefore it’s great for long-term plans.

Nonspecific Indicators  

  • Current Mining reward: 2.50 ZEC/block
  • Number of blocks: 1,304,067
  • Block time: 1.15 minutes
  • Proffit/month: $45.06

The proffit is calculated for 25 MH/s with a power consumption of 125 Watts and might change according to the price evolution.

Technical Indicators

  • Algorithm: Proof-of-Work
  • Hashing function: Equihash
  • Network Hashrate: 5.07 GH/s
  • Options to mine: GPU, CPU

DigiBytie (DGB)

DGB is an open source blockchain and asset creation platform started in 2014, and currently, it uses 5 different algorithms to improve security. The cryptocurrency is hard-capped at 21 billion coins. 

The network is built on 3 layers: a smart contract “App Store,” a public ledger, and the core protocol featuring nodes communicating to relay transactions.

Digybite is restricting ASIC miners from getting too much power over the network but still allows SHA-256 mining.

Nonspecific Indicators  

  • Current Mining reward: 508.47 DGB/block
  • Number of blocks: 13,217,498
  • Block time: 1.15 minute
  • Proffit/month: $274.73

The proffit is calculated for 60 TH/s with a power consumption of 2520 Watts and might change according to the price evolution.

Technical Indicators

  • Algorithm: Proof-of-Work
  • Hashing function: SHA-256, Skein, Qubit, Scrypt, and Groestl
  • Network Hashrate: 98.10 PH/s
  • Options to mine: ASIC, GPU, CPU

Litecoin (LTC)

Litecoin was designed to be a lite version of Bitcoin. It provides fast, secure, and low-cost payments by leveraging the unique properties of blockchain technology. 

Although, LTC diverged from Bitcoin, it has moved away from SHA-256 to Scrypt which can ve mined with ASICs such as Bitmain’s Antminer L3+. 

One thing particular to Litecoin miners is that they can merge mine Dogecoin as well.

Nonspecific Indicators  

  • Current Mining reward: 2.15 XMR/block
  • Number of blocks: 2,078,536
  • Block time: 2.49 minutes
  • Proffit/month: $18.09

The proffit is calculated for 504 MH/s with a power consumption of 800 Watts and might change according to the price evolution.

Technical Indicators

  • Algorithm: Proof-of-Work
  • Hashing function: Scrypt
  • Network Hashrate: 173.94 TH/s
  • Options to mine: ASIC, GPU, CPU

RavenCoin (RVN)

RavenCoin is fairly recent – it was launched in 2018 as a result of a Bitcoin hard fork. It is known especially because of the features that come along with it, like the mobile crypto wallet. In addition, it is constantly traded on top exchange platforms, so it makes it highly liquid. 

Nonspecific Indicators  

  • Current Mining reward: 5,000 RVN/block
  • Number of blocks: 1,822,172
  • Block time: 1 minute
  • Profit/month: $72.10

The proffit is calculated for 25 MH/s with a power consumption of 125 Watts and might change according to the price evolution. In practice, you may require more hash power.

Technical Indicators

  • Algorithm: Proof-of-Work
  • Hashing function: KawPow
  • Network Hashrate: 3.672 TH/s

Options to mine: GPU, CPU

Why isn’t it a good idea to mine Bitcoin?

why you shouldn't mine bitcoin

It is true that Bitcoin has the greatest market capitalization (almost $700 billion) and that it is the most valuable cryptocurrency out there. But before jumping in the hype and starting to mine them, you should consider some things.

First of all, its value is the most fragile in the crypto area, because it is fluctuating with big values over short periods of time. 

Think about how little time it took to reach over $60K and to come down near $30k. 

While in September 2020 it had a value of $12,000, by the end of the year it skyrocketed to $30,000 and reached the new all-time high to $64,863 on April 7th, 2021.  However, in July it is 48.36% down and the crypto world is hoping for another rally. 

Second of all, think about your competition in mining Bitcoin. Remember that Bitcoin is rather welcoming towards ASIC, so the competition is going to be high. Try typing “Bitcoin mining farms” on Google and see how many ASICs you would need to have a chance to be the first who validates a Bitcoin transaction.

The crypto mining area already has monopolies, and unless you have the resources to build your own farm, you may have to settle only for pool mining, diminishing your returns.

Is crypto mining still profitable?

types of crypto mining

The competition between Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake is easily recognizable. Now that we have the possibility to get revenues on validating transactions just by staking coins, why would we want to mine anymore?

Well, mining is indeed much more complicated than staking, but it also brings a lot more rewards if you succeed. It all depends on your resources and the coins you choose to invest in. 

If you can afford the equipment and you don’t throw yourself in a highly competitive market, then chances are you may increase your income substantially. But if you don’t, then consider staking as a viable option.

Summing up

  • Crypto mining doesn’t mean creating new coins but releasing them from the total coin supply;
  • You don’t need technical knowledge to mine cryptocurrency, but sufficient computer hash power;
  • There are three types of mining as a process: ASIC, GPU, and CPU.
  • There are three types of mining as a method: SOLO Mining, POOL Mining, and CLOUD Mining.
  • The best cryptocurrencies to mine nowadays are Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, ZCash, DigiByte, Litecoin, and RavenCoin.
  • Before choosing a cryptocurrency to mine, you need to check both nonspecific and technical indicators, from the current mining reward and block time to the network hash rate and power consumption. 
  • It is not a good idea to jump into Bitcoin mining, due to volatility, but especially because of the high competition.
  • While staking is generally more affordable than mining, it has smaller rewards. 
  • Before choosing a cryptocurrency to mine, set clear objectives, so you don’t go overboard with your expectations.
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