Merged mining works by solving for hashes which are valid across multiple blockchains. The best-known example of merged mining is Bitcoin / Namecoin, a simple explanation of which can be found here.
As Namecoin cloned the SHA256 method employed by Bitcoin, a miner’s hash could solve a block on either chain with equal probability. Of course, this equal probability demands both blockchains be of equal difficulty. Namecoin’s difficulty was driven far higher than its value by maintaining merged mining through linkage to Bitcoin’s difficulty.
But it seems a new type of pool has overcome the synchronised difficulty hurdle via some P2Pool wizardry, allowing full-powered merged mining across 1 scrypt coin of higher difficulty and 4 other scrypt coins!
Merge Mining 6 Scrypt Coins At Full Hashpower, Simultaneously?
Sounds too good to be true? Well, for a curmudgeonly, hobbyist GPU-miner like myself it’s not all good news:
The Drawback – your primary coin must be either:
Litecoin, looking technically flimsy and power-expensive after Auroracoin usurped it’s #2. throne, Litecoin may recover if Náttfari’s folk dump AUR after the Airdrop. If you have the hashpower for its difficulty, I recommend a very 2012 choice; mining Litecoin. Not to beat a dead horse, but LTC could still get onto a major exchange and catch a hot price updraft. Update: quite the lucky guess! Litecoin just got listed on BTC China!
Digitalcoin, which seems to be just another Litecoin clone. Its website mentions its designed for relatively lower volatility but gives no specifics on how this is achieved. Its forum page only waffles when answering its own question of “What Sets digitalcoin Apart?” If you have low hashpower, go for Digitalcoin. It seems somewhat mediocre, but if this world proves one thing it’s that mediocrity often triumphs.
42 coin, whose claim to fame is having a total issuance of 42. This artificial scarcity makes the price of a whole coin very high. I haven’t really considered the implications of its deliberate scarcity. It seems very hit or miss at first glance. Recent forum posts suggest it to be suffering from a lack of Kimoto Gravity Well to counter pool-hopping.
Dogecoin, an inflationary coin for precocious children. Sure, their community is (hyper-)active but they’re pushing a broken wagon. Inflationary coins should use Proof of Stake to minimize their ecological impact. Also, all you Shibes about to bite my ankles over this description should relax because there’s a Wolong joke later in the article.
Catcoin. On the theory that cats are better than dogs, we have this… thing. I dunno, I couldn’t be bothered to investigate it very far. Maybe Catcoin harbours a secret technical innovation but I’m not betting that way. It has a website, a quiet subreddit and a forum thread.
Here’s hoping more primary coins are added to the mix soon, as none of these would be my first choice. I’d love to see Auroracoin or Anoncoin featured.
Your Merged Mining Selection
Whatever you decide on as your primary, you’ll be able to devote equal hashing power to the following minor coins:
1) Huntercoin, the coin that makes a game of mining. At least it does something new, although the game looks boring. Ticker HUC, currently #38 by mineable market cap.
2) Orgcoin, designed for merged mining with no maximum issuance, so another inflationary PoW coin without Doge’s community. Ticker ORG, market cap unavailable until it gets listed on more exchanges.
3) Pesetacoin, whose badly-translated website doesn’t inspire confidence. Ticker PTC, currently #65 by mineable market cap.
4) United Scrypt Coin, seems to be a simple clone designed around merged mining. Ticker USC, cmarket cap unavailable until it gets listed on more exchanges.
Potcoin is available as a wallet to add, but it’s unclear whether it’s fully supported as yet. No fee or other data is available on the ManicMiner site for Potcoin as yet. At any rate, its ticker is POT and it’s #79 by cap.
No choice here, as you’ll be mining all of them along with your primary. Hash attempts which prove incorrect for your primary will then be tried across your secondaries, multiplying the odds of finding a block by 4. This makes your mining far more profitable for no apparent downside.
How to Get Started with Scrypt Merged Mining
1) Register at ManicMiner.in.
2) You’ll need to give them an email. Google is creepy with a laborious registration process requiring your phone number (and soon, thumbprint and DNA sample), so I recommend creating a throwaway address at Safe-mail instead.
3) Hit “add worker” then “add wallet” and choose your primary coin’s wallet. You should create a new address in your wallet for the ManicMiner pool, for which you’ll need the wallet password. You do have a strong, minimum 12 character password which exists in the mind of you and your next-of-kin and on a non-degradable physical medium hidden in a disaster-proof location to which you control access, right?
4) Enter the info for your primary wallet. Then repeat the “add wallet” process for all the secondary coins.
You can mine multiple primaries but this will divide your hash power between them. Secondary coins will still be mined at 100% of your hashpower though.
5) If you’ve never mined before, you’ll need to download suitable mining software. The options are:
- CGMiner for Linux/Windows – for AMD graphic cards, running Linux or Windows. Versions at or below 3.7 work with scrypt.
- CGMiner Mac OS X– for AMD graphic cards in a Mac system. Again, versions at or below 3.7.2 work with scrypt.
- SGMiner – same as CGminer but with a few more bells and whistles.
- BFGMiner Linux/Windows – for ASIC and FPGA mining.
- CPU Miner Mac/Linux/Windows – for mining on your CPU. You’ll get a comparatively minimal hashrate this way.
- CUDA Miner Linux/Mac/Windows NVDIA – for mining on Nvidia graphics cards. Performance will be much lower than comparatively-priced AMD cards.
This Litecoin mining guide should give you a rough idea of what to expect from your hardware, plus the optimal settings people have discovered.
6) Copy the mining software to a suitable folder, then run the following commands (or create a batch file to do it for you) depending on your software:
Of course, the above user name (-u) is for my account and worker. If you’d like to reward my niceness in giving you this fine info for free, I would not object to your generous hashes, good sirs.
No password is necessary for this pool.
7) Be aware that ManicMiner will exact a 1% proportional mining fee and will also charge a small percentage fee for withdrawals. Set your automatic withdrawal period to a value you feel balances the fee against the risk of coins unable to received from the pool. The following table will help:
8) After all your hard work, relax as your GPU efficiently grinds away at multiple currencies. Have some tea and biscuits, light a cigar and enjoy a well-deserved chuckle at someone else’s expense:
I’m still downloading and syncing wallets for all the secondary coins, will update this article if / when I receive payments. Try out ManicMiner for yourself and please reply in the comments to say how it’s working out for you!