What are ZEC and Zcash?

Zcash is a global and privacy-oriented blockchain developed by Zooko Wilcox in 2016. ZEC is the cryptocurrency used on the Zcash platform. The network is based on the Bitcoin code, but in the long term, Zcash is meant to correct some of Bitcoin’s flaws regarding privacy and anonymity. The Zcash roadmap also puts a lot of emphasis on interoperability and scalability.

Blockchain systems are transparent, but publicly available financial data can be controversial. That is why the platform has developed so-called zero-knowledge proofs that allow individuals and institutions to understand the communicated Zcash info without seeing private data. This feature is useful for tax payments. A user can prove that he paid his taxes without revealing the total amounts.

Users concerned with their privacy have the option to remain completely confidential when transacting with Zcash. They can tweak their privacy settings the way it suits them with the blockchain’s shielded transactions.

ZEC is trading on popular exchanges such as Gemini, Binance, Huobi or DigiFinex. When Zcash first hit the markets, it was trading at over $4.000. But following the 2018 bear market, ZEC lost a lot of its value. What is Zcash worth today? It is currently trading at $36/coin. Because of its focus on privacy, investors believe that Zcash can easily become a good store of value, similar to Bitcoin.

When looking at the similarities with Bitcoin we notice that the total supply is the same. 21 million coins. Zcash also undergoes regular halvings, where the block rewards get cut in half. Limited supply in a world concerned with privacy could result in ZEC reaching new highs.

How to Mine Zcash?

To start mining Zcash, a miner should have a powerful Nvidia graphics card. Mining Zcash with your CPU is also possible, but GPU mining gives better results. That is one of the differences between Monero vs Zcash mining. The mining algorithm of Monero is better suited for CPU-based mining, while the ZECs algorithm offers better performances on GPUs.

Zcash mining is easy to learn and understand. In this guide, I am going to discuss how to set up and use the Nvidia EWBF ZEC Miner. The best ZEC miner is a matter of personal choice. Depending on the hardware, some miners claim that DTSM gives a better hashrate. To check the current Zcash network hashrate and network difficulty, 2Miners.com offers up-to-date stats.

Before diving deeper into how Zcash is mined, it is advisable to first establish if the mining process will be financially profitable. For that purpose, we can use the Zcash mining profitability calculator.

  1. Enter the correct hashrate of your graphics card according to the displayed data here.
  2. Specify the correct fees of the Zcash mining pool that you are using.
  3. Enter the total hardware cost of your mining equipment.
  4. Enter the USD/kWh power cost as specified by your electricity provider.

Once the figures are in, the calculator will determine how profitable Zcash mining could be according to the provided data. If the figures you see aren’t what you had hoped for, it might be worthwhile to consider upgrading your GPU. For better performance, your graphics card should have at least 1 GB of RAM. The more the better. For optimal results, it is recommended to update your graphics card’s drivers to the latest version.

The next step involves creating a ZEC wallet and address. This is the address where the mining proceeds will be sent to. Some popular choices include the use of a hardware wallet like Ledger or Trezor, or a multicurrency wallet like Coinomi. Guarda offers a mobile Zcash wallet called Shielded Guarda. Another option is to obtain a Minergate Zcash address from their mining software.

After you have created your address it is time to download the mining software. The official source for the EWBF Zcash Miner is Bitcointalk. Mining software should only be downloaded from official sources. Download the latest version for your OS and unzip the file.

Before beginning Zcash mining, there are a few settings that need to be changed for Windows PCs:

  • If your computer is configured to go into sleep mode when it is not being used, you need to turn off this feature so that it never goes to sleep.
  • Increase your system’s Virtual Memory to 16 GB.
  • Turn off the automatic Windows updates on your computer because they might start at an awkward time, reboot your computer, or otherwise interfere with the mining process.
  • Add an exception to your Antivirus software so that it doesn’t quarantine or delete the mining software.

How to Begin the Mining Process?

It is now time to select a suitable Zcash pool to begin mining. Some users might opt for Zcash’s Solo Pool but this type of mining is profitable only for users who have a big number of available GPUs. As an example, I will describe how to configure a miner for Flypool. Whichever pool you end up choosing, its website usually contains a step-by-step guide on how to set it up for your miner.

An Ethereum and Zcash dual mining system is also possible to set up on mining rigs with several GPUs. This will, however, result in higher electricity consumption and GPU temperatures.

In the next step, you are required to select and download the correct script for your mining program and Operating System. In my case it is Windows – Nvidia. Copy the shown example string. This string needs to be pasted into the ‘flypool.bat’ file located in the EWBF Miner folder that was downloaded earlier. This file gives the miner the needed instructions for the mining process.

Update the pasted string in the ‘flypool.bat’ script. Add the correct server address from the Flypool website. Now enter the Zcash address that you generated earlier by replacing the one in the example (the example address begins with tiNF6…). Change the name of your miner or leave the suggested ‘.rig1’ if you want.

Save your changes. It is necessary to add the ‘.bat’ extension at the end of the file name and in the ‘Save as type’ field, select ‘All Files’. You are now ready to start mining by double-clicking on your new .bat file that starts your miner.

To track the performance of your miner just enter your ZEC address on flypool.

Zcash Android Mining is also an available option for users who don’t have high-performance graphics cards. Flypool and Minergate offer Android Monitoring apps that keep an eye on the mining performance and notify users in case of sudden shutdowns. Due to new Google Play policies, mobile mining features are currently disabled.

The Best ZEC Mining Hardware

Zcash is best mined with high-performance graphics cards. Nvidia cards tend to perform the best. AMD GPUs can be used as well but they are not nearly as effective. Zcash is based on the Equihash algorithm. The preferable miners for this algorithm are EWBF, DSTM, and Bminer for Nvidia cards, and Claymore for AMD cards.

The top-performing GPUs for Zcash mining are:

  • GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 1080
  • GeForce GTX 1070 Ti

GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is the best performing card offering the highest hashrate, but it is also the most expensive choice. GeForce GTX 1080 is the most cost-effective option. It offers a decent hashrate and is not as expensive as the ‘Ti’ model. The GTX 1070 Ti is almost as mining efficient as the GTX 1080, but its hashrate is slightly lower.

The Best ZEC Mining Pools

Thanks to its Equihash mining algorithm, ZEC can be mined on a home computer with your GPU. There are many mining pools to choose from. These pools usually charge their users a 1-2% fee. Before making a decision, miners need to make sure that they join a trustworthy pool with a good hashrate that has a proven track record of paying out mining rewards.

The best mining pools for Zcash are:

  • FlyPool
  • NanoPool
  • AntPool
  • MiningPoolHub

FlyPool is one of the most popular and the biggest Zcash pool according to ZEC miners. They have servers located in Europe, the USA, and Asia. Flypool’s mining fee is 1%, they support anonymous mining, and have a customizable payout option.

NanoPool is very similar to FlyPool. Their servers are located worldwide, including Australia. The minimum NanoPool Zcash payout is just 0.01 ZEC, and they support private mining.

AntPool is a global mining pool that supports the mining of a wide range of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin. A Zcash AntPool mining service is also on offer. The minimum payout is tempting and amounts to just 0,001 ZEC.

MiningPoolHub is another multi-mining service that has included ZEC in its pool in February 2018. Their servers can be found in the USA, Europe, and Asia. Their mining fee is 0.9%, slightly lower than what the competition is offering.

Conclusion

With the right kind of mining equipment and cheap electricity, Zcash is a very profitable cryptocurrency to mine. With fewer capital investments compared to other coins in its class, Zcash miners can expect bigger profits.

Those interested in mining Zcash need to check the overall hashrate of their hardware, and the mining fees set by the pool operators. Based on the number of users who are currently mining, the ZEC mining difficulty can either increase or decrease. The greatest advantage of Zcash compared to other Proof-of-Work coins, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, is that ZEC can be mined with your standard graphics card.

To learn more about ZEC price prediction, please visit the following Zcash post in our blog.