Cryptocurrency mining has changed over the years, and fewer currencies are worth mining with CPUs than were in the past. Just a few years ago, at the beginning of the cryptocurrency boom, most currencies could be mined with a CPU, but now it is no longer profitable for the average person. This change is largely due to ASIC miners, which have taken over mining and made it less profitable for others.
Even with the changes, there are still multiple cryptocurrencies you can mine with your CPU, although you should not expect to get rich doing so. Instead, view CPU mining as a nice supplement to your existing income and a way to increase your amount of crypto assets without having to spend fiat currency to purchase them.
How to Choose a Cryptocurrency to Mine
As you go through the following list, you will notice that a large chunk of the best cryptocurrencies to mine with a CPU are ASIC resistant. If you decide to find other cryptos to mine, you should look for this particular feature.
Any cryptocurrency that ASIC miners can work on is unlikely to be profitable for CPU miners. You should also evaluate the difficulty of mining the cryptocurrency, its value, and whether that value is expected to rise.
There are calculators available online that can help you figure out your profits for a certain cryptocurrency given your electricity expenditures and details of your equipment, such as the hash rate.
You will also want to consider which proof-of-work hashing algorithm to look for. The main options are SHA-256 and Scrypt, although others also exist.
SHA-256 requires raw processing power, which your CPU simply cannot provide to the extent that an ASIC can, meaning you are unlikely to make much (if anything) if you opt for a cryptocurrency that uses the SHA-256 algorithm. Some popular algorithms for mining cryptocurrencies with a CPU include CryptoNight and X11.
What to Do Before Mining
Before you get ready to mine with a CPU, take some time to ensure that you have everything you need. You will need to have a wallet handy to store your mined cryptocurrency in, some sort of mining software and, of course, your hardware.
Make sure that the setup you have will remain cool since mining can cause your computer to overheat if you are not careful. Remember that mining devices should be custom-built computers or desktops if you want to mine effectively and make a profit, especially without overheating your unit. Remember that a computer that is mining cannot do anything else at the same time.
You should also take some time to join a mining pool dedicated to your chosen cryptocurrency. Joining a pool will increase your income stability and probably your profits as well.
It is also a good idea to make an account on a cryptocurrency exchange so you can easily convert your mined cryptocurrency into the crypto of your choice. This is also the time to consider if you want to mine with a GPU as well as a CPU or just stick to a CPU. You may even want to buy an ASIC chip at this point. The following information, however, is directed at those who are just mining with CPUs.
Selecting Your CPU for Mining
While you can mine with any CPU, they are not all created equal, so you should pay close attention to the CPU you select. If you opt for the cheapest one available, you will have a lower threshold to meet for your return on investment, but mining will be slower and less effective, meaning you will take just as long to get there.
Paying a little more for a better CPU will likely help you achieve a return on investment in about the same time but will increase your profit rate afterwards. However, if you only have a small amount to spend, there are still some great options available, although they are less powerful.
As you choose your CPU, you should pay attention to crucial factors such as its processor, how much power it will consume, the number of cores and how good it is at mega-tasking. Of course, you also need to balance out the price of the CPU with the amount you are willing to invest. Assuming you are building your own mining rig, you should also keep in mind the space you need to place the CPU in to ensure it fits properly.
Some people building a CPU mining rig will also consider other potential uses of the machine or its resale value. If for some reason you decide that CPU mining is not delivering enough profit and you opted for a cheap processor, you may find it hard to make your money back by selling your rig.
Some also opt for a better processor so they can use their computer for gaming in the future if their cryptocurrency mining plans fall through.
At the bare minimum, you should get an Intel Pentium processor, but this will likely not have a great resale value if you stick to the basic one. At the very least, opt for a mid- to high-range Intel processor (like an Intel Core i5) for reasonable results and the chance to use or resell your processor after mining.
There are also excellent options from Ryzen, which is perhaps the most recommended brand for mining CPUs among those that can afford it.
One popular choice for mining with a CPU is Bytecoin, whose price rose dramatically during 2017 and the beginning of this year. This altcoin follows the CryptoNote protocol, a protocol promoting anonymous peer-to-peer crypto transactions. Bytecoin is ASIC resistant, which is why you should still be able to mine it using a CPU.
The Bytecoin official blog suggests mining it with Xmrig, although you can also opt for other mining software of your choice. Just be sure that you select the correct version of Xmrig for your CPU mining as there are versions for CPUs and GPUs.
Although Dogecoin began as a meme and somewhat of a joke, it has become one of the top-ranked cryptocurrencies and one that can be profitable to mine with your CPU. While Bitcoin has a finite supply, Dogecoin is set up to add more coins every year, which is an additional incentive for mining. There are several options available for mining DOGE, but CPU mining is a popular choice.
Compared to some of the other top cryptocurrencies to mine with a CPU, Electroneum is relatively new, having launched in September 2017. Its price has remained mostly stable, but experts see a great deal of potential in this cryptocurrency. Like Bytecoin, it has the CryptoNote protocol and is, therefore, ASIC resistant.
Interestingly enough, Electroneum can be mined with a CPU or even using your smartphone. This was actually a focal point during the development of the cryptocurrency since the team wanted to target the large number of smartphone users around the world.
While mining Bitcoin is no longer profitable or even possible with a CPU, that isn’t yet the case with Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency. Because of its number 2 status for rankings such as market capital, mining ETH is considered a relatively solid investment at least from the standpoint that the cryptocurrency is unlikely to have an extreme drop in value.
Ethereum is at the top of the cryptocurrency market because of its early entry and its utility. This decentralized computing platform introduced smart contracts to the mainstream blockchain world.
It also includes Solidity, the Turing-complete programming language making it possible to create conditionals that are incredibly complicated. That, in turn, allows for incredibly sophisticated self-governed smart contracts.
HODL is another cryptocurrency that you can mine with a CPU and make a reasonable profit in doing so. In fact, the only current option for mining this cryptocurrency is with a CPU. The concept behind HODL mining, however, is certainly unique.
You lock in your coins and then earn interest on them depending on how many coins you mine and lock. The standard interest rate for 30 days is about 5 percent, which will increase as you add more blocks.
Before you decide to mine HODL coins, just keep in mind that until recently, they would be locked for a year, after which you could only access the coins earned by interest. This feature was recently removed with a hard fork, so you can now access the coins right away if you prefer.
Monero is another good choice for CPU mining and it also follows the CryptoNote protocol, which makes it ASIC resistant. Monero is actually one of the top cryptocurrencies, having experienced incredible growth in recent months.
XMR also stands out from other cryptocurrencies thanks to its completely anonymous transactions, making it nearly impossible to track the senders or receivers.
Verge has a strong focus on the privacy of its users and actually began as DogeCoinDark in 2014. As such, while it is not the oldest cryptocurrency on this list, it is among the oldest.
One of the great things about Verge is that there are five mining algorithms in use, which makes it possible to mine Verge with a CPU. The circulation is 16.5 billion coins, and it has risen in value to a reasonable degree, making it ok from an investment standpoint.
Vertcoin is another ASIC-resistant cryptocurrency, so you will have no problem mining it with your CPU. Vertcoin prides itself on being the coin of the people, and it uses a proof-of-work algorithm for its consensus mechanism.
Those who want to mine Vertcoin can actually use the miner that was developed by the team behind the cryptocurrency, which is free on the official website and works for CPU or GPU mining. The design of the miner is very simple to use, and it works seamlessly with your mining pool of choice.
Zencash is based on the zero-knowledge encryption protocol from Zcash, which allows for completely anonymous crypto transactions. There are two keys to anonymity with Zencash: zk-SNARKS and domain fronting.
The first of these stands for the “Zero Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge” algorithm, which makes it possible to verify that someone has a private key without any interaction between the verifier and the prover. Domain fronting hides the actual endpoint of an internet connection, preventing censorship on the Zencash network and, therefore, making it nearly impossible to trace a ZEN transaction.
Zcash offers users the choice of transactions with a T or a Z address. Z addresses are private, without third parties being able to access the data, while T addresses are transparent. This CPU-minable cryptocurrency uses the Equihash proof-of-work algorithm, but that may be adjusted in the future. You can mine Zcash with CPUs or GPUs.
Other CryptoNote Coins and ASIC-Resistant Coins
It is worth noting that in addition to the cryptocurrencies mentioned above, nearly any CryptoNote-based coin can be mined using your CPU since they are ASIC resistant. You should just pay attention to the status of the coin first since monetaverde and infinium-8 are both CryptoNotes but dead and, therefore, not worth mining. You can, however, consider mining aeon (AEON), digitalNote (XDN), dashcoin (DSH), quazarCoin (QCN), or fantomCoin (FCN).
There are also other ASIC-resistant coins that are not CryptoNotes or listed above, any of which are mineable with CPU. These include curecoin (CURE), gridcoin (GRC), and Ethereum Classic (ETC).
Even with ASICs changing the world of cryptocurrency mining, it’s still possible to mine with a CPU and make a profit doing so. Once you have your hardware set up, you can choose any of the above contenders for the title of the best cryptocurrency to mine with a CPU.
Use a free online calculator to help you determine which cryptos will be the most profitable with your particular setup and then go ahead and get started. You can always choose to mine a different cryptocurrency if you change your mind in the future.