Zcash is a cryptocurrency token that can be mined using a CPU, GPU or an ASIC miner.

When it comes to cryptocurrency mining, you have two options; buying the expensive but readily available mining rigs, or building your own from scratch.

Each of the two options above have their pros and cons, regardless of the type of coin that you intend to mine.

Building a mining rig is way cheaper than buying a ready-made one.

However, if you do not have the time to build one from the ground up, a ready-made mining rig is the best option.

The information provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be seen as investing advice. Our opinions on this site are only that, if you are considering an investment into cryptocurrency or anything we speak about on this site, please advise a trusted financial professional first, before doing so.

What is Zcash

It’s a blockchain and cryptocurrency that’s built with privacy in mind. It’s a public blockchain that allows private transactions.

Zcash was created to address one of the challenges of Bitcoin; privacy. 

While Bitcoin is a permission-less public blockchain, it displays all transactions in its transparent blockchain.

Zcash allows anonymous transactions in a public blockchain.

They use an advanced mathematical technique known as zero knowledge proofs.

ZEN is the cryptocurrency token of the Zcash platform.

It’s a Proof of Work coin used to make semitransparent global payments.

Zcash overview

​Zcash was launched in 2016 by top cryptographers, including Zooko Wilcox, its founder and CEO. 

Its roots can be traced to Zerocoin, a financial project that was developed in the 1980s by Mathew Green.

Zerocoin’s technology was called zero knowledge proofs.

It allowed for anonymous blockchain transactions.

Creators of Zcash noted in their white paper that Zerocoin had its flaws, including high costs.

They sought to solve these problems and their answer was Zcash. Unlike Zerocoin, Zcash supports low-cost semitransparent transactions.

It does this by employing an innovative mathematical technique called ZK-snarks that allows private transactions to happen in public blockchains.

Its cryptocurrency token, ZEN, is traded in popular exchanges.

Like Bitcoin, it’s a Proof of work cryptocurrency with a total supply of 21 million tokens.

Why should you mine Zcash

If you’re not interested in buying Zcash from popular exchanges, you can get some the old-fashioned way; through mining.

There are many reasons why you should consider mining ZEN. 

First, mining gives you a chance to create a huge portfolio of ZEC, allowing you to take advantage of price appreciation.

It’s also a great way to earn some cash to help you buy a high-end GPU miner.

Additionally, Zcash can be traded for BTC and you can easily build a strong holding position in BTC by mining Zcash and exchanging them for BTC.

Is Zcash mining practical?

Zcash mining is a practical way of making some passive income.

To get the best out of Zcash mining, you’ll need an efficient mining rig that doesn’t chew lots of electricity.

You’ll also maximize your chances of making a huge income if you join a mining pool.

As a matter of fact, mining Zcash is only practical when you join a pool of miners.

Because the size of its blockchain is smaller than that of Bitcoin, you can make a good profit from mining ZEN.

The basics of Equihash

Equihash is a proof of work algorithm that was created by Alex Biryukov and Dmitry Khovtatovich.

It’s a cryptograpghy concept that allows users to mine cryptocurrencies by confirming and verifying blockchain transactions.

Equihash uses the concept of “Generalized Birthday Problem”. Its mining power is directly linked to the size of RAM.

This essentially means that the more RAM your computer has, the more ZEN you can make.

For more information, see why Zcash has started to implement Equihash.

How to mine Zcash

Like with most cryptocurrencies, Zcash can be mined using a hardware rig or software.

We mentioned earlier that as a miner, you can earn some Zcash by using any of the key methods; CPU, GPU, cloud or ASIC mining. 

The requirements are a Zcash wallet and a mining pool.

CPU Mining

With your Zcash wallet and a mining pool, you are now ready to use your computers CPU to mine.

Assuming that you are using the NiceHash mining pool, the first step is to download the NiceHash miner.

Once installed, this software allows you to make your pay outs either in ZCash or in BTC.

If you'd prefer to use something other than NiceHash, we've put together a list of alternatives.

GPU mining

It’s worth noting that you’ll need to first install video card drivers before any mining starts.

Importantly, note that you’ll need to make a few adjustments to your computer to allow for smooth mining.

For instance, make sure you turn off the sleep mode on your computer.

Also remember to set your system file page to 16 GB RAM. You can easily do this on “This PC”>Properties>advanced system settings>settings.

Next, disable Windows updates as some of these might reboot your computer and interrupt the mining process.

Finally, make sure you create an exclusion list for your antivirus program to stop it from flagging the entire NiceHash folder.

For GPU mining, you’ll need to install AMD graphics or Nvidia graphic cards.

The beauty of GPU mining is that it brings higher returns than CPU mining.

ASIC Mining

Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners are specialized hardware designed to mine Zcash and other cryptocurrencies.

In June this year, Bitmain introduced an ASIC miner that’s dedicated to the Equihash algorithm, making it an ideal rig for Zcash mining.

The main benefit of an ASIC miner is that it’s faster than CPU and GPU miners and can give you quick returns to recoup the high cost of acquiring one.

Their only downside is they seem to centralize mining at a time when most cryptocurrencies clamor for decentralization.

Sourcing your equipment

Whether you choose to mine Zcash using CPUs, GPUs or an ASIC miner, you’ll need to source for all the required machines and electrical parts before you begin the process of mining ZEN.

Most ASIC miners come as a complete package, but for GPU mining, you’ll need to build a rig with a motherboard, power supply and graphic cards.

CPU mining is rather straightforward as you only mine using your computers processor.

Here’s a list of what you need

Motherboard

It’s the backbone of your mining rig.

It’s the base upon which you build everything else.

The key consideration when picking a motherboard is the number of GPU slots available.

The more the slots, the more graphics cards you can install and the more your hashing power.

Graphic cards

These are the components that do the mining.​

Because of their importance in the mining process, it’s recommended that you research widely to know the kind of graphic cards that work best with your coin.

They are usually of two kinds; AMD and Nvidia.

CPU

Equihash coins like Zcash can still be profitably mined using a CPU. Why not start mining with both your CPU and GPU to maximize your profits?

The only requirement is a good cooler for the CPU as it tends to get hot during mining.

Hard drives

This is where you store your mining software and your operating system.

Nowadays, you don’t need to have huge hard drives as smaller solid state ones with a large storage capacity exist.

RAM

Random Access Memory helps your computer to store calculations and recall information quickly.

Anything that’s equivalent to 4 GB RAM can do the job.

Power Supply Unit

The power supply unit is the source of power for your mining rig.

Before buying a PSU, it’s a good idea to first calculate the power consumption of your GPU.

With huge rigs of six GPUs, you can use separate PSUs.

Case or rig

After putting together your rig, you’ll need to decide whether to leave it open or to put in a case.

You can even make your own customized case using wood, metal or PVC.

Remember, if you are running on a tight budget, you can choose to recycle you old computer casing or to leave your rig open.

PC Power Cable

This feeds your computer with electric power. You need to get the best quality PC power cable that can withstand tough conditions and last longer.

Risers

Risers are an important aspect of the mining process. They allow you to install many GPUs on the motherboard, minimizing wastage of card slots on the motherboard.

They also help in spacing out the graphic cards and this helps to cool your mining rigs.

Putting it together

Having sourced for all the above components, it’s time to put your rig together.

It might seem like a complicated exercise but it’s simple when you have a manual to work with.

It’s important to note that GPUs can get really hot.

As such, good ventilation is a must have.

Keep your rig away from walls and if possible, get a good fan to cool off your cards.

Once you’ve assembled your rig, you’ll need to install software before you switch it on to start mining.

Software for your rig

For your rig to start mining, it needs an operating system to enable it to install all the required drivers. You can either install a Windows or Ubuntu OS, Ubuntu is free to use and comes with more options.

There are two ways in which you can mine Zcash; solo and pool mining.

Solo mining

With solo mining, you mine all by yourself.

If your rig has the hash power of 270 H/S, it’s going to take time before you mine a Zcash block.

One thing to note is that solo mining requires you to download the entire blockchain.

Pool mining

Instead of mining Zcash all by yourself, you can join a mining pool to enhance your chances of getting a block.

With a mining pool, you get a predictable income that’s regularly paid out.

How Much Will The GPU Miner Earn?

How much you make from your GPU will largely depend on the kind of graphic cards that you use.

For instance, Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti card gave miners an average of $174 per month when the value of BTC was $1100

On the other hand, top end AMD Radeon Vega 64 generates you a regular monthly income of $123.

Zcash mining profitability

In the world of mining, electricity plays a significant role.

GPUs and mining rigs tend to chew lots of power.

As such, profits are calculated after deducting the power bills, which can be quite huge.

With power efficient rigs, Zcash mining is profitable.

​If you choose to use your computer’s processor to mine Zcash, expect to earn at least $1 a day.

You’ll be surprised to learn that CPU mining is still profitable when mining Zcash.

Mining other altcoins with a CPU is usually not economically viable.

The downside of using your CPU to mine Zcash is that you’ll make the computer unusable.

Other than the hardware rigs, some cloud mining software can set you up for an impressive income as they allow you to lend your hashing power to other miners.

One thing about mining is that profitability is determined by the market price of the mined coin.

The higher it is, the more valuable your mined coin is and the more profits you make.

The opposite is also true.

Mining Profit Calculator

The NiceHash calculator is a good place to start if you’re looking at gauging how much you GPUS  and CPUs can generate. 

Assuming that one GPU rig consumes 0.1 USD/KwH of electricity, it’s easy to calculate the profits of your GPU using the NiceHash calculator.

Setting up passive income with Zcash mining

There are two ways to set up a passive income stream for Zcash.

First, you can use software like Nicehash to lend out your CPU processor or you can slot your spare GPU on your computer to mine Zcash instead of letting it stay idle.

Conclusion

Going by various accounts of real Zcash miners, mining ZEN is profitable for anyone with a high-end computer processor or graphics card. 

The fact that you can earn a passive income by just lending out your hashing power to miners makes it an interesting activity to try.

On the flip side, you end up with an unusable computer when you use a CPU to mine, and the GPUs tend to degrade over time.

In all, it’s a worthwhile activity that gives you the possibility of reliable passive income.

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