Welcome to this tutorial and review on how to use the Minergate mining pool to mine Monero. The following topics will be discussed throughout the tutorial:
- Explanation of what mining is, including how it works on your computer versus how the pool works and why you should use the pool
- How to start mining Monero using Minergate
- How to withdraw your mined Monero to a wallet
- Other Minergate info that may interest you, like special offers or promos
- Pros/Cons of using Minergate
What is mining? How do pools work?
When you “mine” any cryptocurrency, all that means is that your computer is using some kind of mining program to solve complicated mathematical equations. When your computer completes one of these calculations, that is called a hash. The hashes that your computer generates are possible solutions to what the hash value(unique identifier) of the next block on the blockchain is. A block is just a collection of transactions and some data about those transactions and the block itself, such as the date or time the block was mined. This is where the money comes in. If you or your mining pool finds the hash solution for the next block in the chain, then you get paid the block reward! The current block reward at time of writing is around 6 XMR (XMR is the ticker for Monero), but the block reward goes down over time until it reaches a set amount (.3) in a few years to prevent too much inflation.
In the paragraph above, I mentioned that if you OR your pool finds the block solution, you get the reward. It is possible to mine by yourself, and if you find the solution then you get to keep all of that Monero. The reason that not many people do that is that unless you have a lot of hashing power (hashes per second, aka hashrate) it is highly unlikely that you will find the solution. This is why you join a pool!
When you join a pool, you send your hash results directly to the pools servers, along with all of the other miners connected to the pool. When everyone pools their resources like that, it becomes likelier that the pool as a whole will find a valid solution. If they do, you get paid based on how many valid shares you sent to the pool since the last block was found!
Shares are calculated based on a payment algorithm that takes into account how many hashes you send, the difficulty you send them at, and whether they could be valid solutions or not. This basically all means that mining on a pool gives you a higher chance that you will earn some Monero, but it will only be in small amounts at a time.
That may not sound great, but it really is the most efficient way to mine unless you have extremely large amounts of hashing power(hundreds of thousands of hashes per second).
What you need to get started–
You have to first ask yourself this question: How good is my computer at mining? There are lots of different algorithms that different cryptocurrencies use to mine. Monero specifically uses Cryptonight, which is ASIC-resistant (an ASIC is a cost-efficient, extremely effective piece of mining hardware) which just means that it is still somewhat profitable to use your CPU to mine if that is your only option.
As with most coins, it is more effective to mine Monero with your GPU (Graphics card) as long as you have a Nvidia or AMD GPU. Read more about the Top 5 Best Monero GPU cards for 2018. Usually, AMD cards are better at mining Monero, so if you have one of those you are in good shape. But it all depends on the type of card for both brands, they all get different hashrates. A good website to use to see what hashrate your hardware will get is monerobenchmarks.info. They have both CPU and GPU hashrate reports and it is all easily searchable.
Aside from hardware, software can play a part in your mining capabilities as well. The easiest operating system to mine on is Windows 10. It requires little setup to start mining and gets better hashrates than windows 7 or 8 by default most of the time. Using Linux to mine can be more effective since you use your resources more efficiently, but can be more difficult to set up correctly. In both OSes, there may be other settings that you can change to increase mining speeds that most people don’t even know exist, some of these are even dangerous to mess with if you don’t know what you are doing. The more computer literate you are, the better you may be able to get your hashrate if you do it right. That being said, anybody who has a computer should still be able to follow this guide to setup a basic miner and start mining Monero.
Minergate – the Beginner’s Tool
When you first arrive at www.minergate.com, you should see a screen that looks like this:
If you do not speak English, the website is available in a variety of languages. You can switch your site language by clicking the dropdown with the country flag on it at the top of the screen. Here is a screenshot that shows how to do that, and what languages are available:
Once you have selected your language (if applicable) then you can hit the sign up button in the top right corner. Once you have signed up with your desired username(email) and password, it will take you to this downloads screen:
I am using Windows 7×64, but the website should detect whatever operating system you are using and give you the proper download link. Make sure you pick the right version! An x64 miner won’t work on an x32 system, and possibly vice versa. This tutorial is for the GUI Miner because it is easiest for beginners to use, however, Minergate does offer a cli (command line interface) miner program as well. It is harder to use than the GUI (graphical user interface) for beginners, but more advanced miners may want to consider it.
After you download/run the installer and open the application, it should look like this:
At this point, you can either just enter your email and hit start mining, or you can choose an extended mode and give it your password as well to get access to your wallet in the client. There is also that proxy settings button at the bottom, most people don’t need to use that. If you think you do need it, then you probably already know how to use it!
Once you have logged in, you will most likely see a screen that looks something like this:
You could just hit start mining here, but if you only want to mine Monero, then you have to disable the other currencies that Minergate can mine first. Click on the View Tab on the top of the screen, and you will see this dropdown box:
As you can see, there a bunch of currencies that are not Monero that have their checkboxes checked. You will want to uncheck all of them except for Monero (XMR), then you can start to mine! You can either go back to the smart miner page and hit start mining, and it will look like this:
From there you can change how many CPU cores you want to use in the CPU miner. It will also show you some other useful info about your mining, like how many shares you have submitted, the difficulty, your unconfirmed balance (the Monero that Minergate owes you, but first a certain number of blocks have to be verified before you can withdraw the unconfirmed balance) the payment method, and the dual mined coin if applicable. The smart miner will choose all the settings for you. If you want to do it manually, click on the Miner tab, and it will look something like this:
At this point, you can choose the number of cores, and what coin (or no coin) to use for merged mining. Once you choose the settings hit start mining and it will look like this:
If you want to use the Minergate miner program, but not the Minergate pool (for whatever reason), you can go back into the view tab and make sure that the “Show other pools” box is checked. Once you do that, click on the Other Pools tab and it will look like this:
From this screen, you can choose the display name of the pool (only visible to you, you can give a display name of whatever you’d like) the Pool URL (also sometimes known as the Stratum Address), and the pool login/password if applicable, this is usually just “x” (the program will sign in with your wallet address automatically, from what I can tell you are never allowed to see your own wallet address) and hit add pool. If it works, it will look like this:
Then you can just click start mining to mine on that pool!
After you have mined for a while, and you are ready to withdraw your balance to a real wallet, or an exchange, or wherever, just click on the wallet tab to get to this screen:
Be careful here, if you hit that show all button on the left side, you are going to have to go to the view tab and uncheck all the other currencies again.
From this screen, you can see your confirmed balance as the top number in black, and your unconfirmed balance in grey below that. The difference between confirmed balance and unconfirmed is that for your unconfirmed balance to become confirmed, it has to be ensured that the block containing the transactions that owes you that Monero doesn’t get orphaned (orphaned is basically when the chain changes direction or another block gets verified at like the exact same time, so one of them “loses” and becomes orphaned. Its relatively rare though) so basically it just takes time. After a certain number of blocks/block confirmations (Minergate doesn’t seem to advertise the number of blocks it takes, but for most pools, it is 60) then your unconfirmed balance should be confirmed, and you can begin the withdrawal process. To do so, click the blue withdraw button.
Here, you can choose the amount to send, the address to send it to, and the optional payment ID field. I’ve sent Monero without a Payment ID and had it go through, so it is truly optional. If you think you may need it, you may want to do more in-depth research on it to make sure you use it right. After you fill out the amount/address/ID, the Dynamic fee will be calculated. The dynamic fee is not just the network fee, it also includes all the fees that Minergate charges you for withdrawals. This means that if you think you have enough for a payout, you may not actually have enough because of transaction fees. The more XMR you withdraw at once though, the less overall transaction fees you will pay. So try and go for less frequent but bigger payouts to get the most out of your mining! Once you fill out all the info, put in your password to verify the withdrawal and hit the withdraw button.
You can also see on that screen that Minergate is from the makers of Changelly. You can use services like Changelly or ShapeShift if you want to turn your Monero that you mine into other coins, like Bitcoin. You can even send your coins directly to those conversion sites from your Minergate wallet!
That is just about all of the info you will need to start your basic mining setup with Minergate!
Miner Benefits/Other Features
Minergate has some other features as well, that not many people may know about or use! Some of these things are on their website, and some are right in the miner software.
We have already looked at a lot of screens within the software, so let’s finish that out first! If you click on the benchmark tab, you can see how well your computer will mine various computers compared to the average of all the computers people have benchmarked! Here are some screenshots of how it works:
This tool can be useful to see what other coins you can mine if you ever decide to stop mining Monero. Other than that, it is just an extra thing that is nice to have.
Minergate also has an achievement system, that can be both fun and be rewarding to complete. They promise some sort of mystery reward if you get all the achievements! You can get to this screen by clicking on the achievement tab:
The last thing in the miner software that you’ll likely be clicking on is the support tab. When you click this, it opens up the Minergate FAQ/support page in your web browser.
You can search the FAQ here, and also submit a support request/question. Super useful if you need some extra help getting started!
As for other website features, there a bunch that some miners may be interested in! One of the best ones looks like the affiliate program, you can earn rewards for inviting your friends to mine with Minergate! This is what it looks like:
They also offer cloud mining services for if you want to rent someone else’s hardware to mine for you. The upfront cost is kind of high, but it may be worth it for your convenience if that is something you are interested in. Here’s what that screen looks like, you can pick how much hashrate you want and for what coin.
If you are curious about what you may earn with your miner, or if you were to rent some hashrate, Minergate also has their own calculator! Just put in your hashrate, and for what algorithm (Monero uses Cryptonight), and it will tell you how much you can make!
For anyone who wants to get social while they mine, if you are logged in then you can participate in the Minergate chat from the homepage. Looks relatively active too!
And lastly, they do have a link at the bottom of their website for a mobile version of the Minergate mining software! It looks like it may be Play store only, so no iPhone mining most likely. But it is there! Some phones can even get up to like 30-50 h/s!
Overall Review of Minergate
- Easy to download and setup for a beginner
- Has a nice-looking User Interface (UI) compared to most miners which usually command line interface (CLI)
- Lots of features, both on their website and in the mining software itself
- Has a mobile mining app
- Can mine multiple coins all at once, and can dual mine certain coins which can be more cost-effective for getting the most profit out of your resources
- Can show or hide coins you do or don’t care about
- Most of the Monero community hates Minergate because it has been reported to be possibly stealing part of your hashrate without telling you. More info here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Monero/wiki/avoid
- GPU Mining seems to be broken for some reason, which is where the real mining money comes in. So, it’s pretty bad that it doesn’t seem to work at all.
- Even though you can add your own pool, it seems like if you start mining to some pools, it does not work at all. It is unclear if these pools are rejecting Minergate miners, or if Minergate is only giving you the illusion that you can pick your own pools.
- The transaction/withdrawal fees are frankly way too high, it is kind of a rip-off
- Some of their extra features advertised on their website seem a bit sketchy, smells like a scam most of the time
- The miner itself seems to crash a lot, at least from my personal experience with testing it
If you are an absolute beginner and you do not care at all about learning how to set up another miner, this is the program for you. It is very user-friendly, you can just install it and let it run. If you would like to get a little more involved and get the most out of your hardware, then you would probably be better off using another miner program. That choice is yours! Whatever you choose, hopefully, this has helped you learn how to use it and given you enough info to make an informed decision.