Winminer v Nicehash vs Honeyminer September 2018

If you are curious about mining cryptocurrency - not sure why you would be, in the current down market - there are at least three very easy-to-use platforms you can try; namely, WinMiner, NiceHash and Honeyminer. These are all free to download and use, and should work with most relatively recent video cards with at least 2GB of RAM.

"Mining" cryptocurrency basically amounts to using the processing power of your GPU(s), plus time, plus electricity, to aid with the complex calculations required to sustain the various blockchain networks. As a reward, you can earn tokens or coins which can be converted into cash (or stored in the hope of them increasing value in the future).

Bitcoin is the grandaddy of cryptocurrency, but for technical reasons it can't be effectively mined by consumer equipment. Instead, all of the above apps will "intelligently" mine alternate ("alt") coins depending on which are the most profitable for your specific hardware at a given time. In addition, the mined coins are then converted to Bitcoin for withdrawal or accumulation.

The information below is based upon my experience over the last couple of months, using each of the three software platforms on the same hardware. Your mileage may vary, of course, but as they are all free to try and use - knock yourself out.

NiceHash is the most established of the three platforms that I mentioned. It was also badly hacked in 2017. That said, it is in the process of paying back monies that were lost to most if not all affected users. NiceHash is technically different in that you are actually renting out your "hashing power" to others, rather than directly mining coins - but the effect is the same; the distinction is behind the scenes.

The newer (simpler, more streamlined) NiceHash client only works with Nvidia brand video cards, but their older ("legacy") miner works with both AMD and Nvidia cards. The legacy miner is still available, and is also a bit more complex (or at least has more available options and a less clean interface). 

You can also mine with the CPU (the computer processor) but neither NiceHash miner seems to work with the older CPUs I have - not a huge deal, as you would only typically lose a couple of pennies per day from that.

Of the three, NiceHash generally seems give the highest return for my hardware set up, which consists of three computers and 8 video cards (5 AMD and 3 Nvidia). With one exception, my GPUs are low-end models, such as Radeon 560's and GTX 1050's.

WinMiner generally returns slightly less rewards than NiceHash and is similarly easy to install and use. By the way, all of these can be used on multiple computers using the same account; just install the software and use the same account information for each.

I think WinMiner has a particularly nice web interface, and with it you can see how much power the video cards are using, and also remotely restart your computer(s). WinMiner also seems to work more consistently with my CPUs.

You can also tweak settings fairly easily, similar to the legacy version of NiceHash; that is, the kind of coins available to be mined, and the "sensitivity" of the criteria to select a different coin at a given time - things like that.

Honeyminer is the "simplest" and newest of all three approaches. Your Mom could install and get this working with no help. It currently is also the lowest in generating income for the given hardware. I say "currently" since this is still a beta product, and may improve as time passes. It also worked with my older CPUs.

All three of these products come with fees of various kinds. Honeyminer may be the most "up front" about fees of 8% if a single GPU is used, 2.5% if more than one is used. If you have a Coinbase account, you can get a break on some of NiceHash's withdrawal fees, which can be helpful.

Bitcoin is part of the problem here, transactions with Bitcoin can be fairly expensive, particularly with small amount like $10. NiceHash and Honeyminer currently both use Bitcoin as the withdrawal currency. WinMiner also allows withdrawals to a couple of other crypto currencies such as Litecoin, and to things like PayPal or to an Amazon card.

With any of these, best to wait if you can to withdraw higher amounts (at least $20) to lessen the percentage effect of the withdrawal. In any case, you will incur some fees from using the software itself, and additional fees when withdrawing Bitcoin (with the Coinbase/NiceHash exception mentioned above). Just so you know.

All three are easy to install, set up and use. Once installed, each with require you to set up a "wallet" to store your earned coins, and then initially "benchmark" your system to find out the best coins to mine. These can and probably will change later, as the particular coins become more or less profitable. You don't have to do anything, all three platforms will do this automagically in the background.

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