Bitcoin mining software is a crucial element of mining bitcoins. You can have the greatest bitcoin mining hardware in the world – but it’s going to be restricted if you’re using bad mining software.
The hardware – like your GPU, CPU, or ASIC – does the actual mining. The bitcoin software, however, connects your hardware to the blockchain and to the mining pool. Without the software, your hardware has no way to connect to the blockchain.
When people talk about bitcoin software, they can refer to one of several different things:
- Bitcoin wallets
- Bitcoin nodes
- Bitcoin mining software
In this chapter, we’re specifically dealing with the final component – bitcoin mining software. However, some of our bitcoin mining software functions as a wallet and full node as well.
Obviously, you know the importance of bitcoin mining software. Now, let’s take a closer look at how bitcoin mining software works – and which software is the best choice for you.
How Does Bitcoin Mining Software Work?
Bitcoin mining software acts as a link between your mining rig, the blockchain, and your pool.
Your hardware provides the processing power, but the software organizes that processing power in a meaningful way. The software is the brains of the operation, so to speak, and the hardware is the muscle.
Some bitcoin mining software is as simple as a command line interface, or CLI. CLI mining software was common in the early days of bitcoin mining – although it’s still used by plenty of miners today. In fact, two of the most popular bitcoin mining software programs available today, BFGminer and CGminer, use basic command line interfaces.
We also have graphical user interface (GUI) miners, which build a complete interface or dashboard on top of a command line miner. These miners are more user-friendly. They’re the preferred choice for most beginner or intermediate miners.
Depending on which type of mining software you have, it might display statistics about your mining operation. Some software displays the temperature of your video card, for example, your current hashrate, your fan speed, and other crucial information about your bitcoin mining hardware.
You can use the software to tweak these things. Some software tweaks these settings automatically, while other software requires manual input.
Typically, bitcoin mining software on this list runs on Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS. However, some bitcoin mining software is unavailable for Mac OS (virtually all software is available for Linux and Windows).
Certain software is also available for less popular operating systems. Some developers have ported bitcoin mining software to Raspberry Pi, for example. You can also find bitcoin mining software on mobile operating systems like iOS and Android.
A Word of Caution: Make Sure the Software Supports ASIC Mining
Certain older bitcoin software doesn’t support ASIC mining. If you’re serious about bitcoin mining, then you need to only use software that supports an ASIC miner. In 2018 and beyond, it’s virtually impossible to make money mining bitcoin without an ASIC miner.
Make sure the software you choose supports ASIC mining. Some software – particularly older programs and mining software that hasn’t been updated in a while – will only support CPU, GPU, or FPGA mining.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top bitcoin mining software available today.
The Best Bitcoin Mining Software
CGminer is a popular bitcoin mining software that supports GPU, FPGA, and ASIC mining. It’s an open source mining software written in C.
You can download CGminer for all major desktop platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
One of the reasons why CGminer is so popular is because it’s based on the original CPU Miner, one of the best miners from the early days of bitcoin. CGminer has been expanded to support modern bitcoin mining machines like ASIC devices.
Key features of CGminer include overclocking, monitoring, fan speed control, and remote interface capabilities. You’ll also access features like self-detection of new blocks with a mini database, binary loading of kernels, multi-GPU support, and CPU mining support (although you’ll most likely want to stick to ASIC mining, as mentioned above).
Don’t expect a flashy interface on CGminer. This is a CLI-style bitcoin mining software. The UI is straightforward, but all commands are entered through a command line interface.
You can download CGminer from the development team’s official Github page here.
BFGminer is an offshoot of CGminer, the software we just mentioned above. The main difference with BFGminer is that it’s specifically designed for FPGA and ASIC mining – the software doesn’t bother optimizing for GPU or CPU mining.
BFGminer dates back to the early days of bitcoin. The software has always been popular for features like vector support, integrated overclocking and fan control, ADL device reordering by PCI bus ID, and more. Although BFGminer doesn’t specialize in CPU or GPU mining, the software does support CPU mining and GPU mining via OpenCL.
One thing to note with BFGminer is that you may need to download certain “bitstreams” to make sure BFGMiner 3.0 and higher works with your device.
BFGminer and its official bitstreams can be downloaded from the official website here. As of May 2018, the software is on version 5.5.0.
Like CGminer, you won’t get a flashy interface with BFGminer. It’s a blue and white command line interface.
BTCMiner is open source bitcoin mining software available for Windows and Linux. The software is designed to work with FPGA boards, including Spartan 6 USB-FPGA modules (Modules 1.15b, 1.15d, 1.15x, and 1.15y).
The software has a simple goal: to communicate and program via a USB interface while allowing users to build low-cost FPGA clusters using standard USB hubs.
If you decide to mine via USB, then BTCMiner may be the right choice for you. However, for most users interested in using ASIC devices, this software is outdated.
You can download BTCMiner today here. Be careful when searching for BTCMiner online. A number of scammy cloud bitcoin mining companies have tried to adopt the name and convince users they’re the real software.
EasyMiner is a GUI-based bitcoin mining software that acts as a wrapper for CGminer and BFGminer. If you found the command line interfaces of CGminer and BFGminer too complicated, then EasyMiner might be the right choice for you.
EasyMiner can be used for both solo and pooled mining. One of the helpful features with this software is the performance graph that lets you easily visualize your mining activity.
EasyMiner is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.
Bitminter is a bitcoin mining software program available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. This cross-platform software, unlike the two miners at the top of our list, comes with a user-friendly GUI.
The main drawback with Bitminer is that it only works with the Bitminter bitcoin mining pool. So if you’re trying to mine any pool aside from Bitminter, then you should skip this one.
However, if you are mining with the Bitminter pool, then you’ll find that this software offers a user-friendly and convenient experience. The software has a helpful stats section that lists information like the number of proofs of work that were accepted or rejected by the serer. You can also view the amount of time spent mining.
Bitminter is available online today at https://bitminter.com/
MultiMiner is simply a wrapper for BFGminer – similar to EasyMiner. If you don’t like working within the command line interface of BFGminer, then you may want to use MultiMiner.
MultiMiner has an easy setup process. The software displays helpful tooltips that walk you through the process. If you’re a beginner or intermediate bitcoin miner, then this information can be very helpful.
Once setup is complete, MultiMiner will automatically scan for mining devices, then list their details in a helpful table – including the pool used and the average hashpower. You can also see your daily projected profit based on your current mining activity.
Another unique thing about MultiMiner is that the software comes with an optional 1% donation option. You can choose to donate 1% of your mining profits to the developer as a “thank you” for creating the software. This fee is voluntary, and you can enable or disable it at any time within the “Perks” section. Plenty of other developers do not make this fee optional, so it’s refreshing to see a developer take a different approach.
MultiMiner is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
Your Antivirus May Flag Bitcoin Mining Software
Bitcoin mining software can often trigger your antivirus software. Your antivirus software sees you downloading a suspicious .exe file from a shady website and assumes it’s going to harm your computer.
If your antivirus software flags your bitcoin mining software download, then don’t be alarmed. Double check to make sure you downloaded the bitcoin mining software from a legitimate developer and the legitimate developer’s official website. Then, ignore your antivirus software and proceed with the installation.
Ultimately, there are dozens of major bitcoin mining software programs available today. The software listed above tends to be the most popular software available, although your mileage may vary.
What to Look for When Comparing Bitcoin Mining Software
Not such which bitcoin mining software to download? Here are some of the most important features to look for when comparing software:
Operating System Compatibility: First, make sure the software is compatible with your current operating system. Most software is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS, but this isn’t always the case.
Hardware Compatibility: Some bitcoin mining software – particularly older software – can’t handle modern ASIC mining. That’s a huge problem because ASIC mining is the only real profitable option today. Check to make sure your software is compatible with your hardware before you download it. If the software only supports, GPU, CPU, or FPGA mining, then it probably won’t support your brand new $2500 ASIC chip.
Coin Support: Some software allows you mine a diverse set of cryptocurrencies from within a single interface. If you just want to mine bitcoin, then you can ignore this feature. If you want to diversify your crypto holdings, however, then you may want to choose software capable of mining multiple coins.
Mobile and Web Support: Some bitcoin mining software comes with an optional web app or mobile app. You can check the status of your miner at any time by checking the app or web dashboard.
GUI or CLI: Graphical user interface (GUI) software and command line interface (CLI) perform the same basic job but in different ways. GUI provides you with a user-friendly interface to interact with the software and its primary commands, while CLI software requires you to enter all commands via a command line. Neither software requires programming knowledge or advanced tech skills to use, but beginner and intermediate users typically prefer GUI bitcoin mining software.
Additional Features: Some bitcoin mining software comes with an additional wallet. In most cases, the bitcoin mining software we listed above just mines bitcoins for you – but more advanced software might come with more advanced functions.
Ultimately, bitcoin mining doesn’t work without good bitcoin mining software. Download some of the bitcoin mining software listed above today to start your journey into bitcoin mining.