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Mining with P2Pool in the wake of the 2015 hard fork

The longview…

Bitcoin

 

Bitcoin is a digital currency that you have probably heard of before. It is ubiquitous in only the nerdiest of places so far. It also has trenchant links with the black market that can hike it’s value, which is something I have reasoned as more or less, why the value is currently stable; solely because of the black markets’ influence on fluidity. Now don’t get me wrong, nothing about mining bitcoin is a sure thing and I was pretty stressed out about buying my first miner. I have student debts and I didn’t want to end up spending money on a box that eats power, spews heat, blaring with fan noise and “creating” infinitesimally small amounts of a currency that was steadily falling in value at the time. Now please don’t take this as some “get rich” scheme. This is a ‘slowly collect’ bitcoins scheme and then use them for things at the end of the month for no particular reason type thing, until you break ROI. Then it’s an investment, right? So far I have used my miners winnings to buy more miners but I digress. This is a long-view game that can turn money into BTC if the cost of electricity is no issue to you and you don’t fear a little command line and network administration. Mining with p2pool in the wake of the 2015 hard fork is more secure as BIP66 becomes the ipso facto standard.

P2Pool

So after I had set the miners up and mined for a while on large pools like CEX.io and Slush and I had not been getting the results I was looking for. I was getting one payout of .01 BTC (the minimum threshold) nearly every two days but not quite. The value of bitcoin was hovering at a around $300CDN with minor fluctuations which I assume is from computers trading against the latest value trends. I may sink by an entire twenty dollar note from one week to the next and then spring back again, and that just is how the game goes. Try to save when the value is down and spend when the value is up. That should mediate the value. I say that with no backround in economics, mathematics or anything qualifying me for that. That’s actually how commodities value like this can plummet, I guess. But I wanted more than .05 BTC biweekly, at least when I was ‘lucky’. I also didn’t want to pay into a pool at which I had no idea what was going on behind the scenes. I also wanted to learn more of the secrets of this weird flashing box. Pools that are set up by other industrious people (probably using p2pool’s code somewhere) will give you small amounts of BTC with little info about why the amount decrease steadily, or so it seemed to me. P2Pool is DIY, bare bones and open source, it requires a PC or some sort of raspberry pi jimmie-rigged setup to process the transactions coming in off the P2Peer network of the Bitcoin Core.  It needs python libraries, enough space for the entire blockchain, which is getting exceedingly large (at this time nearly 50Gb).  The core running on your home machine won’t do much but consistently use a few kbps or so of bandwidth. When things get busy to keep up with the transactions and new work requests it can rise and fall but is consistenantly below 10Kbps when just rolling along. It’s no problem if you have a machine that is on all the time anyway or if you feel better running a Raspberry Pi, that is totally a viable option with a big enough card in it. It’s nowhere near as hard to find a place for a raspi as the actual miner. The hot bastard will need air. In the summer you may want to run them in the basement just ’cause it’s gonna be spitting out a lot of hot air. You can undervolt a miner to ease this up by ~40% in power usage and fit it with water cooling to ease the heat and noise.

Antminer S1
Antminer S1

It really does nothing more than flicker, whine, and make heat when you look at it. While running off it’s own 500w 80 Bronze rated PSU. Sucking power and making it into virtual coins. I wish it made the sound of Mario collecting coins or something but when there is a payout it’s just fan noise when things are going good. You can buy a whole miner and a PSU to run it for about $150CDN before taxes and mining with p2pool expect ROI in a few months if you aren’t paying more for power. Once you get ROI then you have to resist buying another miner. I just bought a new PSU on Newegg using BTC.

Bitcoin, a hard forking decision…

I think BTC is here to stay. The fact is it has value because it is so functional, I think you will see people will turn to BTC in times of crisis as it’s better than sending money in an envelope abroad or trying to buy American dollars in some cases. If the banks close in Greece I think you will see the value rise sharply as demand increases.  I believe p2pool and BTC is an important service to the world, running a full node pays nothing and comes with an expense but there is a feeling of needing to support the p2p currency that maybe a lot of people will come to rely on at some time or another. A hard fork is really a sign that things are moving forward. Some casual miners may lose income but the p2pool backbone is update for SSL and is more secure because of it. The other major factor is the blocksize will eventually increase for added capacity in a few years. A major part of this is being a p2pool operator means being a little forward thinking and having time to rejig things when an update comes along in short notice. The divergence of the blockchain is a fairly stressful time for everyone as it’s hard to find many people who even know what really is driving it. This should be a short lived turnover and things should keep chugging on. Update your nodes! Below is a photo of the chaos of the hard fork.

2015-07-06 20.24.11

Here some heads talk about how bitcoin is dealing with growing pains.

Here is a guide based on the links below, hopefully it helps make it a bit simpler to see the whole process. It isn’t shiny and the GUI in the Bitcoin-Core only recently looks good and allows salubrious transactions. Make sure to update everything regularly.

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