So, you want to become a miner… Always dreamed of spending your days with a helmet on your head, excavating the depths of the earth with a pickaxe? Then go look for other guide, because this one is for the rookies who want to become Bitcoin miners, but first need to understand the basics of this fine art.
The first thing to acknowledge: not every Bitcoin user is a miner, these are two different things. Second, you must choose the kind of miner you want to be: the kind that does it for fun and is not looking for profit, but for a different experience, or the one that has the time to do it in an effective way and win money from it. Ready? Let’s go!
Like we already said it, there’s no pickaxe and helmet in this kind of mining. So, you need to take a look at this basic information to understand what you are getting into. Imagine you already have everything that you need, software and hardware included. Once you start the mining process, your computer will run a cryptographic hashing function (take a look at an example here), based on a block header. This means that when you are generating, you are also constantly hashing the block header, which is occasionally updated as you are working on it (again, read this to better understand the definition).
Each new hash will be identified by the mining software with a different number – called nonce – and become a random element of the block header. After this process, each hashing function will yield a hash.
A hash is a long number, something like this: 93ef6f358fbb998c60802496863052290d4c63735b7fe5bdaac821de96a53a9a
Next, there’s the difficulty target level. To create a valid block, each miner has to find a hash that is below the corresponding difficulty target. This is a pretty technical part, but let us just give you an example:
If the difficulty target is 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000, any number that starts with a zero would be located below the target, like 0787a6fd6e0782f7f8058fbef45f5c17fe89086ad4e78a1520d06505acb4522f.