What is Coinhive, and how is it useful to me?
If you are reading this article, you may already know what you plan to use Coinhive for but if you don’t, fear not! I am going to go over each of the use cases for Coinhive in this article.
So what IS Coinhive anyways? Well, as it says at the top of their website, it is “A Crypto Miner for your Website”. That sounds simple enough. But how do you actually use it?
Coinhive advertises the following features after you have an account with them:
- Proof-of-work (PoW) Captchas, these are like the typical captcha except they use your CPU to do some hashing work to verify you instead of having you type letters or pick the correct image like traditional captchas.
- PoW Shortlinks, if you have ever seen a URL shortener (like goo.gl or bitly) then this is all that it is, except that before it takes you to the link, it has your CPU solve some hashes.
These functions are provided using their base functionality, which is a web miner for Monero. The reason that they chose Monero is that it can still be mined relatively effective with only your CPU. Their web miner program seems to be about 50% effective as to a normal mining program (as reported on their website) but they are working to improve that efficiency gap.
All the other things you can do with Coinhive are more open-ended. They are just providing the service to facilitate your ideas. You implement their API to use their miner and payment infrastructure, and you come up with the rest. This means you can use it to do pretty much anything, such as replace traditional ads on your site with mining time or use it as a way for users to gain in-game currency on your website/game (this is one of their examples). Some people have even used this to create an unofficial Chrome extension that you can use to mine Monero for yourself using your own browser.
Coinhive has a very good website to read through if you want to learn more, especially about the API documentation. If you are planning on using Coinhive on your website, definitely check out their API docs here: https://coinhive.com/documentation
Next, we will do a quick demo on creating an account and what the different screens on their site look like!
How to Mine Monero – a Quick Demo/Tutorial
When you first get to the website, this is what the homepage looks like:
As you can see, I hit “Start” on the web miner widget so that you would be able to get a feel for how it looks when you are mining. You can change how many threads you want to use, and how much % of your CPU you want to use as well. It will show you how many h/s you get, and your total hashes, along with a neat graph of your hashrate. This is really just a demo on what the miner looks like, and isn’t meant to be used to mine 24/7 or anything. You could do that if you wanted to though.
If you sign in and let the miner run, you will start to accrue a balance. You can see this by going to your dashboard, by clicking the dashboard tab after signing in. Here it is:
If you are signed in and start mining on the homepage, it will show your hashes from there under “Your Site” by default. You can also use that open miner button and it will open a web miner that you can actually leave open more easily. It will look like this:
There are more things on the dashboard screen, but not anything we need to go super in depth into for a basic tutorial. Moving on, we can also look at the shortlinks tab if we want to create a shortlink:
The settings here are fairly straightforward, you can use this screen to create shortlinks that will mine for you when people click on them.
The last thing you need to know about is the withdrawal settings page. Here it is:
This is probably the most important page, as you need to fill this out to be able to get paid! You can give it your Monero wallet address that you want to be paid for, but only if it does NOT need a payment ID, as it explains in the red text. I don’t know why they couldn’t make it compatible with payment IDs, but it just isn’t, so be aware of that.
As a result of this technicality, Coinhive recommends setting up a wallet with myMonero.org and offers a direct link to that website.
Also, notice that unless you set your minimum payout to higher than 0.5 XMR or greater, you will be charged any fee whatsoever. However, you must meet the minimum withdrawal of 0.02 XMR. If you request between 0.02 and 0.5 XMR you will be charged a flat fee of 0.005 XMR. That is not a lot, but it will add up over time. If you can’t afford to pay that extra fee, then make sure you set your minimum payout correctly.
That’s about it for how to use the site, with that you should be able to at least mine by yourself and have a basic knowledge of how the site components work.
Coinhive Chrome Extension
There is a Chrome extension that you can use to mine Monero in your browser, but it is not an official Coinhive extension. Some random guy wrote it and is probably taking a cut of whatever you mine with the extension, on top of the cut that Coinhive already takes. The extension still requires you to have your own Coinhive account to mine, so there is really no point to use it when you’ll likely get less for doing so. Just leave a miner tab open if you want to mine with your browser for yourself!
Keep in mind that when running your computer at 10 h/s and 100% speed you are going to run your computer CPU to 99%. After several tests we discovered that a thread of 4 h/s and 40% will keep your computer functional, cool, and able to run the miner day and night without damaging anything.
If you really do want to use it, then all you need to do is make a Coinhive account as discussed above, download and install the extension from the chrome store, and follow the extensions instructions from there. It will be about the same difficulty as setting up your Coinhive account to mine by itself in the browser, and will just earn less most likely.
Overall a miner that works on a web browser tab while you are surfing the net, watching a movie, or doing almost anything is pretty awesome. However, the Monero coins will not just be flowing in on the personal miner alone. In fact, it will take up a lot of energy to run the web broswer all the time. We recommend that you set up short links and strategically place them on your other websitse for other people to open them and cause hashing.
Nothing beats free however, and this is the easiest source for Monero mining we could find, and it is free.
- Relatively easy to start mining by yourself
- API is pretty intuitive to use if you have any JS experience at all and has decent documentation
- Good website functionality
- Requires programming skill for anything more than solo browser mining
- Only get 70% of what you mine, Coinhive takes a flat 30%
- May not even work economically for smaller sites (this is addressed on their homepage)
- Web miner is not super efficient
Coinhive is a great and easy to use service! Whether you are a new Monero miner just looking for a super easy way to mine, or a website developer looking to operate on a large scale, Coinhive has a way for you to do what you want to do, and in a pretty simple way.