How to Mine Zcash: a Complete Beginner’s Guide (2024)

Published: January 8, 2024 | Last Updated: July 25, 2023

Markos Koemtzopoulos

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

In this comprehensive step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of mining Zcash, one of the most promising cryptocurrencies in the market. Whether you’re a seasoned miner or a beginner looking to start your mining journey, this article will provide you with all the necessary information to get started.

This article is part of my series on how to mine altcoins.

how to mine zcash

Understanding Zcash and its Mining Potential

Zcash is a decentralized cryptocurrency that offers enhanced privacy and security features compared to traditional cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Developed by a group of world-class scientists, engineers, and cryptographers, Zcash utilizes advanced cryptographic techniques to shield transaction details and keep user identities private without compromising the fundamental principles of a public blockchain.

One of the key features that sets Zcash apart from other cryptocurrencies is its use of zero-knowledge proofs. These proofs allow transactions to be verified without revealing any sensitive information, such as the sender, recipient, or transaction amount. This level of privacy is highly desirable for individuals and businesses looking to protect their financial information.

The Basics of Cryptocurrency Mining

Cryptocurrency mining is the process of confirming and adding new transactions to a blockchain by solving complex mathematical problems. Miners compete against each other to be the first to solve these problems, thus earning the right to create a new block and receive a reward in the form of newly minted coins. This process not only secures and validates transactions but also maintains and updates the blockchain ledger. Mining Zcash follows a similar principle but offers unique features and advantages that set it apart from other cryptocurrencies.

Zero-knowledge proofs

Zcash, a privacy-focused cryptocurrency, was launched in 2016 and is based on the same underlying technology as Bitcoin. However, Zcash offers enhanced privacy features that make it stand out among other cryptocurrencies. Unlike Bitcoin, where all transactions are publicly visible on the blockchain, the Zcash network allows users to send and receive funds with enhanced privacy through the use of zero-knowledge proofs.

Zero-knowledge proofs enable users to prove the validity of a transaction without revealing any sensitive information. This means that Zcash transactions can be conducted with a higher level of anonymity, as the sender, recipient, and transaction amount can be shielded from public view. This privacy feature has made Zcash popular among individuals and organizations who value confidentiality and want to protect their financial information.

In addition to its privacy features, Zcash also implements a unique mining algorithm called Equihash. This algorithm was designed to be memory-intensive, making it more resistant to specialized mining hardware known as ASICs.

By favoring GPU mining, Zcash aims to promote a more decentralized mining ecosystem, where individuals can participate in the mining process using consumer-grade hardware. Having said that most people on Reddit say that ASIC mining is way more efficient than GPUs for mining Zcash despite Equihash. Also know that CPU mining is going be way less efficient and is best avoided.

Whether you are concerned about privacy or prefer a more accessible mining experience, Zcash offers a compelling alternative to other cryptocurrencies.

Introduction to Zcash Mining

Before diving into the technical aspects of ZEC mining, it is crucial to understand the key components and terminologies associated with the process.

Currently, Zcash utilizes the Equihash proof-of-work mining algorithm, which is memory-hard, meaning it requires a significant amount of memory resources to solve mathematical problems.

As a result, mining Zcash gobbles up a lot of electricity. To tackle this Zcash has announced that it plans to move to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism like Ethereum did this year.

With Zcash a new block is mined every 75 seconds and a block reward of 3.125 ZEC is given to the Zcash miners who solve the cryptographic puzzle. Like Bitcoin there is a limited supply of 21 million ZCash and the block reward is halved every 4 years.

One important consideration when mining Zcash is the choice of mining software. There are several options available, each with its own features and compatibility.

Some popular choices include

  • EWBF Miner
  • Claymore’s Zcash Miner
  • Optiminer

It is recommended to research and compare different mining software to find the one that best suits your needs and hardware setup.

In addition to the mining software, another crucial aspect of Zcash mining is the choice of mining pool.

Mining pools allow miners to combine their computational power and increase their chances of successfully mining a block. Some well-known Zcash mining pools include Flypool, Nanopool, and Suprnova. When selecting a mining pool, factors such as pool fees, payout methods, and pool reputation should be taken into consideration.

Hardware Requirements

To mine Zcash I recommend you use an ASIC miner. The following miners are good

  1. Antminer Z 9 Mini
  2. A9 Zmaster
  3. Nvidia GTX 1080ti
  4. Nvidia GTX 1080
  5. Nvidia GTX 1070ti

When choosing hardware for Zcash mining, consider factors such as hash rate, power consumption, and cost-effectiveness. NVIDIA and AMD GPUs are popular choices among miners due to their efficiency and compatibility with the Equihash algorithm. However, they are no longer as efficient as an ASIC miner.

Additionally, having high-quality cooling solutions and a reliable power supply is essential to ensure the stability and longevity of your mining rig.

Alternatively, consider using a hosting solution that will take care of electricity cost and maintenance for you. Check out my article on Bitcoin mining hosting for more on this.

Setting Up Your Zcash Mining Rig

Once you have acquired the necessary hardware, it’s time to assemble your Zcash mining rig. Start by finding a suitable location with adequate ventilation and a stable power source.

Proper cooling and airflow are crucial to prevent overheating and maintain the optimal performance of your hardware.

After securing your rig in a suitable location, connect all the components, including the GPUs, motherboard, power supply, and storage devices.

If you have a lot of mining rigs then you will need a container to house them. Container prices start at around $30,000.

Make sure all connections are secure and double-check the compatibility of your hardware components.

Choosing the Right Mining Software

Choosing the right mining software is essential to ensure optimal performance and stability during the mining process. Several mining software options are available for mining Zcash, each with its own features and advantages. Claymore’s Zcash Miner and EWBF’s CUDA Zcash Miner are two popular choices among miners due to their stability and compatibility with a wide range of hardware.

Creating a Zcash Wallet for Mining

Before you can start mining Zcash, you need to set up a Zcash wallet to store your earnings securely. A ZEC wallet is a digital wallet where you can receive, store, and manage your Zcash coins. There are various types of wallets available, including desktop wallets, mobile wallets, hardware wallets, and online wallets. Each type offers different levels of security and convenience, so it’s important to choose the option that best suits your needs. Make sure to back up your wallet and keep your private keys safe. If you want maximum safety then I propose you use a hardware wallet.

Joining a Zcash Mining Pool: Pros and Cons

Mining Zcash individually can be challenging and time-consuming, especially for small-scale miners.

Joining a mining pool can significantly increase your chances of earning consistent rewards by combining resources with other miners.

A mining pool is a group of miners who work together to mine blocks and share the rewards based on each miner’s contribution.

While mining pools offer several advantages, such as stable payouts and reduced variance, they also come with some drawbacks, including pool fees and potential centralization concerns. Consider these factors before deciding whether to mine individually or join a pool.

Solo Mining vs Pool Mining: Which is Right for You?

Deciding between solo mining and pool mining depends on various factors, including your mining hardware, electricity costs, and the size of your operation. Solo mining allows you to have full control over the mining process and potentially earn higher rewards if you’re lucky enough to solve blocks on your own. However, solo mining also entails more risks and uncertainties, as you may experience long periods without finding blocks. Pool mining, on the other hand, offers a more consistent revenue stream but requires sharing rewards with other miners. Most miners and especially beginners opt for pool mining.

Configuring Your Zcash Miner Software

Once you have selected your mining software and joined a mining pool (if applicable), it’s time to configure your mining software. Each mining software has its own set of configuration options, allowing you to customize parameters such as mining intensity, GPU temperature limits, and fan speeds.

Optimizing Your Zcash Mining Performance

To achieve optimal mining performance and maximize your earnings, it’s essential to implement various optimization techniques. Overclocking your ASIC miners or GPUs can increase their hashing power, but it also generates more heat and consumes additional power. Finding the right balance between clock speeds, memory frequencies, and voltage is critical to avoid hardware damage.

Additionally, ensuring proper cooling and ventilation, installing the latest GPU drivers, and staying up to date with mining software updates can further enhance your mining performance. If you are going to use a GPU then the NVIDIA GPU is more efficient compared to the AMD one.

Troubleshooting Common Issues in Zcash Mining

Despite the best preparations and precautions, you may encounter common issues while mining Zcash. Some common problems include mining software crashes, hardware malfunctions, and connection failures. When troubleshooting such issues, start by checking your hardware connections and ensuring that your Zcash mining software and drivers are up to date. Consult online forums and communities dedicated to mining for specific error messages or problems you may be experiencing. These resources often provide valuable insights and solutions to address common issues.

Monitoring and Analyzing Your Zcash Mining Results

Monitoring and analyzing your mining results is crucial to evaluate the efficiency of your mining operation and make informed decisions. Utilize mining software with monitoring features that provide real-time information about your hashrate, accepted and rejected shares, and temperature readings. Analyze your earnings and compare them with your electricity costs to calculate your profitability. Additionally, explore data visualization tools and mining calculators to gain deeper insights into your mining performance and potential earnings.

Managing Power Consumption and Cost in Zcash Mining

Power consumption is a significant factor in mining profitability, as it directly affects your electricity costs. Implement power-saving techniques such as optimizing GPU settings, adjusting fan speeds, and utilizing efficient power supply units. Monitor your electricity usage regularly and explore cost-saving strategies, such as taking advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours. By managing power consumption effectively, you can increase your profitability and reduce your environmental footprint.

Securing and Protecting Your Zcash Earnings

As a miner, it’s crucial to secure and protect your Zcash earnings to prevent unauthorized access and potential loss. Implement strong passwords and two-factor authentication for your Zcash wallet and mining software. Regularly update your software and wallet to benefit from the latest security patches and enhancements.

Consider using hardware wallets or cold storage solutions, which provide an extra layer of protection against online threats. Stay vigilant and educate yourself about common security risks and best practices to ensure the safety of your Zcash earnings.

Scaling Up Your Zcash Mining Operation: Tips and Strategies

If you have successfully established a profitable Zcash mining operation, you may consider scaling up your operation to increase your earnings. Scaling up involves adding more GPUs, expanding your mining rig, or investing in more powerful hardware. Carefully evaluate the cost-benefit analysis, taking into account factors such as electricity costs, hardware availability, and potential returns. Plan your scaling strategy strategically, considering future market trends and technological advancements in the cryptocurrency mining space.

Up Next

Best Miner for Zcash: a Complete Beginners Guide (2023)

best miner for zcash

When it comes to the business of mining a new block of ZEC coins, choosing the right Zcash mining hardware is one of the most important investment decisions you can make. This article tells you which are the best Zcash miners to choose and what to consider when selecting a Zcash mining rig. Read more.

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.