How I became a miner, Part 4

The initial irony of finally owning my own rigs and the ability to completely control them is that I began by… mining in the five multipools that Zen Cloud Mining had carefully selected. Yes, I went through all of this trouble just to continue mining in the multipools. At least that’s how it was for the first ten days or so.

While my hardware was still stuck on GAW limited hosting, I got to know the ins and outs of the multipools rather well. WafflePool quickly became my favorite, mainly because of its simple reporting and easy to understand charts. The daily earnings were also doing very well at the time. But I also tried out CleverMining and NiceHash and those worked out as well as could be expected under the circumstances. By far the most educational pool was the one actually called MultiPool. Unlike the other three which automatically traded all the mined alt coins into Bitcoin, MultiPool paid out in whichever alt coin it had mined. It provided integration with Cryptsy–I didn’t have to manually copy and paste fifty addresses, but rather got to run a script which automatically generated and imported them.

But once I had the addresses I had to set up the payout thresholds. Some of the default options worked, but some really didn’t, especially once I discovered Cryptsy’s autosell feature. Cryptsy autosells a minimum of one alt coin (no fractions). If the autosell feature doesn’t kick in upon deposit, then it won’t kick in at all. So I had to reset a number of payout thresholds to 1.

The autosell feature automatically places a sell order according to rules you choose. For all of the coins (and I had to go through each one) I opted for placing my sell order at the second highest ask price in order to get the most Bitcoin possible out of it. This means that those sell orders can stay open for anywhere from a few hours to a day or so, but they do fill eventually.

Configuring everything in Cryptsy so that most of the sells would run on their own was time consuming, but definitely educational. WafflePool also uses Cryptsy to convert its alt coins, and now I know exactly how they do it. Most of the coins a multipool mines are coins I do not care about in the slightest, other than the fact that they can be traded for Bitcoin. PotCoin is a real popular coin for the multipools to mine, and one I’m happy to get rid of–hemp legalization having never been an issue I felt passionate about promoting. Once all the autosells were in, then mining on MultiPool was about the same as mining in any other multipool. I just got my BTC payouts from Cryptsy rather than the pool. Unfortunately, sometime in the past few months when I wasn’t looking (because I really haven’t sold much for several months leading up to this journey), Cryptsy raised its withdrawal fee to 0.001 BTC. As small as the mining rewards from MultiPool are for me, I actually still have it all sitting in my account. So OK, my payouts stay parked in my Cryptsy account.

Most of the alt coins that MultiPool mines trade on Cryptsy. But there are a few that do not. Each of those oddball alt coins trade on different exchanges, AllCoin for Mona and Bittrex for VIA (although thankfully VIA now trades on Cryptsy), for example. None of the other exchanges have autosell, so when I got notified of a payout in one of the oddballs, I then had to log into its exchange and set up the sell order, and then forget about it for a while. It takes more of my time to deal with two or three oddballs than it does to deal with all the coins which trade on Cryptsy.

I have to say that although MultiPool isn’t the highest paying pool, it’s definitely been the most fun and educational one for me. By the time I had my hardware moved to Zen Miner, my Black Widow was pointed to MultiPool and my Furies were pointed to WafflePool.

When my new hardware arrived at the data center, I started off by pointing it to either WafflePool or CleverMining. One huge advantage of a multipool, one that Zen Miner and GAW clear understand, is that because all the payouts are in Bitcoin you can point your hardware to a multipool and then forget about it for hours, days or even weeks at a time. Most will post their daily payout per MH/s so that’s easy to track. While I was getting used to running cgminer remotely the multipools were an ideal place for me to play as once I set the pools I could focus on my learning curve while my hardware quietly mined in the background.

Once I started leasing out my hashing power, I kept the multipools I’d chosen as the place where my rigs mined when they were not rented. An important thing I figured out is that I do not need to have the lowest pricing (and be at the top of the “available rigs” page) in order to get my rigs rented. I have set prices that were so high my rigs didn’t even show up on the first page and still had them rented. There are probably several factors playing into why a renter might choose a more expensive rig over a cheaper one, but I suspect the fact that my rigs are hosted at a data center is high on that list.

My first renter chose a pool which for whatever reason did not operate as smoothly as WafflePool. The effectiveness of the rig is actually highly dependent on the type of mining pool and various settings within. The worker’s shares could be rejected or considered stale, and the worker itself could even be temporarily banned. All these things negatively affect the rig’s hash rate. My rig had developed this near perfect chart of consistent hash power higher than the advertised rate, but once the renter took over the rig the hash power plummeted. Actually, at first the pool completely rejected MRR’s servers and my rig briefly wound up mining in my failover pool. The renter quickly chose a new pool and that’s when the hash rate dropped like a rock and for a while was low.

I have since learned that most of the things that can cause a rig on MRR to lose hash power is at the pool end so I don’t worry about it much anymore. I occasionally check my rig settings while they are rented to make sure nothing is amiss on my end, but I don’t stress anymore about the hash power. But at the time I worried. I wanted the renting experience to be positive for the renter and to me, that meant he got the hash power he paid for. It bothered me a lot to see that he wasn’t getting it. I put in a number of support tickets during that first rental and got educated by the top notch MRR support.

It was during and after that first rental that I encountered a few creative ways to screw up the cgminer program, including running it twice for the same rig and splitting up the hash power over both programs. I got on MRR’s IRC channel to trouble shoot that one. The person helping me figured my Furies were overheating and that I should just shut them down for about forty-five minutes to cool them down. That turned out to be the right solution. I quit the cgminer and came back to it over an hour later. I found the Furies running beautifully and hashing in one place. They never overheated, but they did need me to quit the superfluous instance of the program.

By the time both my rigs had been rented two or three times I knew the ropes and felt like a pro. And the rental prices started going up. I was on a roll.

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