Virtual currency is term that just screams fake right? Have you heard of Bitcoin, Litecoin or Dogecoin? There is countless other forms of virtual currency out there right now as well. Virtual currency has exploded over the last 3 months. Why, you ask? The currency is becoming more mainstream and more websites accept it as payment. Follow along and I will tell you how leaving my computer turned on has put real tools in my hand and money in my pocket.
I started off down this road completely by accident. I was working on project at home that required a inexpensive computer that could crunch numbers very quickly. I recycled some old video cards I had laying around and crammed them into a old computer. I had unknowingly just built my first “mining rig”. I used it initially for examining hash collisions — what is that? Something that is really boring. Yet, I now have this computer that is sitting idle, what to do?
It became clear very quickly that my computer could in fact be used to mine these virtual currencies.
Bitcoin is virtual currency that is based on SHA256 which is used in part for encryption and hashing. It is currently considered to be the gold of virtual currency. Almost everyone who mines it now uses dedicated hardware. I wasn’t really willing to buy anymore dedicated hardware so I moved onto Litecoin.
Litecoin is partially based on scrypt encryption which was developed as deterrent to custom hardware attacks that SHA256 is targeted by (the same hardware that now dominates Bitcoin mining) . Litecoin is considered to be the silver of virtual currency and can be mined simply by using a video card and joining a mining club called a pool.
Dogecoin is a scrypt based coin as well that recently made the news for donating over 30,000 USD to the Jamaican Bobsled team. This coin differs itself from Litecoin based on volume. Dogecoin releases 500,000 coins when a block is solved lowering its per coin value but increasing its trade volume. This trade volume and publicity in recent weeks has driven the coin value up almost 4 times its original value. This currently the coin I prefer to mine.
After mining various scrypt based coins for a week and working my way through a number of minor set backs I had about 60 dollars worth of virtual currency. I deposited my various virtual coins into an online exchange which allowed me to convert them then to Bitcoin. I used my Bitcoin earnings to purchase a simple instant delivery gift card from www.gyft.com. What did I buy you ask? Well this is a website about building things, I bought tools from Sears of course!