Bitcoin mining is essential to the performance of the Bitcoin network. Mining validates and processes transactions on the blockchain and generates new coins. At its infancy, it was possible to mine bitcoin using a PC. There were many early adopters who mined bitcoin using laptops. As the mining difficulty has increased substantially over the years, bitcoin miners now use specialised hardware as well as bitcoin mining software to mine BTC.
In this review, we will break down the importance of bitcoin mining software and list the best free bitcoin mining software available for you to mine bitcoin in 2020.
Importance of Bitcoin Mining Software
Bitcoin mining hardware handles the actual mining process whereas bitcoin ming software acts as the enabler. In other words, the software’s main function is to deliver the mining hardware’s output to the rest of the blockchain and to receive the completed work from other miners on the network.
In addition, bitcoin mining software oversees the input and output of your mining hardware while also displaying statistics such as hash rate, temperature, fan speed and tempo of your miner.
The software’s function can be summed up in two ways:
- If you are an individual miner, the bitcoin mining software connects your rig to the Bitcoin network.
- If you are mining with a pool, the bitcoin mining software will connect you to a mining pool.
Top 5 Free Bitcoin Mining Software
CGMiner is arguably the most popular and extensive free bitcoin mining software available. CGMiner is an open-source ASIC/FPGA mining software that supports Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
The bitcoin mining software is a command line application that is fast and efficient with full monitoring, remote interface capabilities and fan speed control. It has a scalable networking scheduler that can adjust to a hash rate of any size without network hold-ups. Other unique features include configuration files, logging and API monitoring. Users can also access a number of different proxy methods for mining.
However, what distinguishes the software is its control over the mining hardware. It enables you to change many settings in the FPGA or ASIC rigs such as voltages and more. There is a menu for custom management of most settings and self-detection of new blocks with a compact database for frail longpoll scenarios.
CGMiner supports a wide variety of ASIC mining hardware including BlackArrow, Minion, Hexfury, Cointerra just to name a few. Users can read up on the software features on GitHub and follow the discussion thread on the BitcoinTalk forum.
A summary of the main features include:
- Remote interface capabilities
- fan speed control
- CPU mining support
- self-detection of new blocks with a small database
- cross-platform GPU support
BFGMiner is a fork of CGMiner and incorporates some advanced and unique features. This bitcoin mining software differs from its predecessor by the fact it utilises the newer getblocktemplate vs the former getwork template. This is a decentralisation change, where initially blocks were created by the pool, they are now being created by the miner.
Consequently, BFGMiner does not focus on GPUs like CGMiner but is instead created specifically for ASIC hardware. Also, the ‘getblocktemplate’ decentralised mining protocol (without proxy) can preemptively generate work before the completion of existing work. Written in C, the source code is compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems.
BFGMiner also integrates a watchdog thread that can restart idle threads without crashing the machine if they fail to respond. The software displays summarised and individual data statistics including requests, accepts, rejects, efficiency, utility and hw errors. If hardware support is present, the software can monitor the hardware temperature.
BFGMiner allows for greater customisation of mining hardware which includes overclocking, remote interface capabilities and fan speed control. BFGMiner also has many device drivers for bitcoin including Twinfury USB stick miner, Ztex’s FPGA boards and Drillbit Thumb and Eight. In addition, there are drivers for a script like ZeusMiner units and GAW War Machine. You can learn how to install these drivers on the BTCMiner forum or check the GitHub page redirect on the website.
A summary of the main features include:
- Mining with free mesa/LLVM OpenCL
- Integrated overclocking and fan control
- ADL device reordering by PCI bus ID
EasyMiner is an open-source GUI Miner that acts as a convenient wrapper for CGMiner and BFGMiner software. One of the challenges of mining different cryptocurrencies is they require different command line mining tools, which makes it difficult managing them. EasyMiner solves this by enabling users to mine bitcoin, litecoin, and other digital currencies.
The bitcoin mining software supports ccminer, cudaminer, minerd, cgminer and ASIC mining for bitcoin. In addition, EasyMiner has a ‘Moneymaker’ feature which is focused on the mining of litecoin (LTC) on its own stratum pool. Alternatively, users can utilise the ‘Solo’ mode to select a pool of their own, besides a custom hash algorithm corresponding with the coin they intend to mine.
The mining software works on a variety of operating systems such as Windows. EasyMiner also uses the NHIL (Network Hardware ID Layer) protocol to generate an extra layer of security for the pool stratum and wallet architecture. However, as referenced earlier users have to download any of the bitcoin mining software listed above for the GUI to work.
Additional features include:
- Configures individual miners
- Comes along with performance graphs for easy visualisation of mining activity
HoneyMiner is a mining software that enables anyone with a PC to mine digital currencies. The aim behind the software’s design was to have a ‘set it and forget it’ approach that would allow users to earn a bitcoin mining income without having to contend with technicalities. This bitcoin mining software allows users to participate in other cryptocurrencies and cash out in bitcoin (BTC).
For it to work users have to download the HoneyMiner software into their computers and let it run. The mining software will run in the background utilising your GPU or CPU output to mine a variety of coins. The coins are then converted to bitcoin to make it easy for people to access their profits.
The amount a user can earn will mostly depend on the power of the computer, particularly the graphics cards. Computers designed for gaming or newer models have the potential to make more when compared to older PCs. It is also important to note that computers with multiple graphics cards will earn more mining rewards.
HoneyMiner works on Windows and will in the future looking to add support for Mac and Linux. In addition, the software deploys stringent security systems such as SSSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and aggressive encryption to protect users. HoneyMiner charges an 8 percent fee for users with 1GPU and for those with 2GPUs or more the fee is 2.5 percent. The fees are necessary for the software team to continue with development.
AwesomeMiner is a bitcoin mining software that allows users to manage multiple mining rigs. Moreover, the mining rigs can be of different types such as FPGAs, ASICs and more. The intuitive software has a variety of centralised management features, the main one being it supports in excess of 25 mining engines which include bfgminer, cgminer, sgminer, xmrig, and castXMR, just to name a few.
AwesomeMiner also supports more than 50 popular mining algorithms like Script, SHA256, X11, Zcash, and Ethereum. This mining software utilises both real-time multi-pool statistics and digital currency statistics to automatically switch between algorithms, multiple pools and mining software to ensure high profits. The profitability switch can be used for both ASIC and GPU miners.
AwesomeMiners dashboard lets you monitor the status and temperature of all FPGA and ASIC devices from a single location. There is also a powerful in-built C# script engine that can be utilised to design customised triggers and actions. Users can access the HTTP API to interact with the mining software from external applications and retrieve information concerning the mining progress.
Awesome Miner is compatible with Windows.
Additional features include:
- Security and Multi-User Access
- Privileged API access and SSH Management
- Web and Mobile Support
- Capable of adding, switching and managing mining pools
- Enable Desktop notifications
Which bitcoin mining software you choose is fundamentally up to you and your specific mining needs but one of the above-mentioned free bitcoin mining programmes will likely cover all of those and be the right fit for you.