All About BTC, LTC, ETH mining as well as other alternative crypto currencies
Decred (DCR) is a new open, progressive, and self-funding crypto currency with a system of community-based governance integrated into its blockchain. At its core is a hybridized proof-of-work proof-of-stake (PoW/PoS) consensus system that aims to strike a balance between PoW miners and PoS voters to create a more robust notion of consensus. The project is a result of the theoretical proposals brought by proof-of-activity (PoA) and MC2 in 2013. Decred development started in April, 2014 with a single developer and expanded to include developers from btcsuite shortly thereafter.
Decred is currently running on testnet preparing for the launch of the mainnet on 12:00 PM CST February 8th, 2016. There crypto currency uses Blake256 14-rounds algorithm for mining and there is a cgminer fork (source) already available for testing, though currently only getwork is supported and not stratum. The cgminer for Decred GPU mining is available below compiled for 64-bit Windows ready for testing on some of the few currently available mining pools that also run on the testnet (will be switching to mainnet after the official launch). The cgminer works on both AMD and Nvidia GPUs as the currently available ccMiner forks from tpruvot and sp do not currently work with Decred even though they do have support for Blake256 14-rounds mining.
Trying out the cgminer for Decred (DRC) on an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 has shown an average hashrate of about 1.3 GHS and trying the miner on an AMD Radeon R9 280X has shown a hashrate of about 1.3 GHs as well with both runningn at stock frequencies. There is already quite a lot of interest and a large community forming around the Decred crypto currency even before the official launch, so this is something that is worth checking out if you still have not heard about it. Also make sure you get ready for the official launch of the coin on Monday.
A lot of people do not like much Proof of Stake (PoS) coins as quite a lot of these do not have a long lifespan and are generally considered a loss of time and money, however there are some coins that have endured the test of time. Some of these coins might be an interesting option to invest into by buying and making some profit from the staking and future increase in their value, below we have compiled a short list of some such coins with a bit more details about each one and a link to the announcement thread on Bitcointalk where you can get additional information to help you make a decision. The focus of the list are coins with higher annual interest rate as if there is just 1% or less per year you can only hope to gain profit by long term increase of the value of the coin. When considering PoS coins that might be interesting for long term investment you should look for ones with higher interest rate that start at about 5% annually, but be careful with ones that have a very high interest rate as that might not be that good. Other things to look for include an active and bigger community of users, the coin being traded on larger altcoin exchanges such as Bitttrex or Poloniex with a decent volume. Check our list below with some such coins that we consider that are worth checking out in more detail if you are interested in making investment in Proof of Stake coins, the list may be missing some coins, so feel free to point additional ones in the comments below…
List of PoS coins to check out:
– BlackCoin (BLK/BC), currently PoS only, fixed stakign reward of 1.5 BLK + fees time dependent, traded on Bittrex and Poloniex with big volume, active community.
– CoinMagi (XMG) – M7M, PoW and PoS, up to 5% annual interest rate, traded on Bittrex and Poloniex, small volume, active community.
– Diamond (DMD), Diamond-Groestl, 0.2 DMD PoW, 25% annual interest rate for PoS, decreasing further in time, traded on Bittrex, active community.
– Mintcoin (MINT), currently PoS only, 10% annual interest rate to further decrease to 5%, traded on Poloniex, large volume, active community.
– OKCash (OK), currently PoS only, 20% annual interest rate to decrease further to 6%, traded on Bittrex, small volume, small community.
– HyperStake (HYP), currently Pos only, up to 750% annual interest rate with limitations on how much coins you can stake driving actual rate lower, traded on Poloniex, small volume, active community.
– Hyper (HYPER), currently PoS only, 5% monthly interest rate to further decrease to 2% annual, traded on Bittrex, small volume, active community.
– Quotient (XQN), currently PoS only, 1618% annual interest rate for PoS (max reward cap?), traded on Bittrex, small volume.
– Reddcoin (RDD), currently PoS only, 5% annual interest for PoS, traded on Bittrex and Poloniex with big volume, active comunity.
– ZeitCoin (ZEIT), currently Pos only, 15% annual interest rate to further decrease to 5%, traded on smaller exchanges only, small volume, active community.
We are continuing our recent look into blockchain-based storage services such as Storj and crypto coins that are mineable with HDD such as Burst with another similar service that is more like Storj and Burst combined into one – the Sia. This project offers users to store files in the cloud using other users’ free disk space and people with free disk space to earn something extra by providing it to the network. Sia uses SiaCoin, a crypto currency token that is used for getting contracts to store your files as well as to get paid for sharing your free disk space. The SiaCoin is also available for mining in a more traditional way, so you might want to try that as well as an alternative way for obtaining the crypto currency token used by the service instead of trading it on an exchange. So far, so good everything sounds promising, especially considering that Sia is already operating a working network, though still in beta, with users hosting and buying space as well as mining. The question is how well it all works out and is it worth spending time and free space or even mining at this point in time, we wanted to know exactly this…
The Sia wallet integrates all of the basic functionality you need in order to operate with the service including the options to create contracts and upload files as well as to access them or to lease your free disk space to users needing such. This means that the wallet needs to be running all the time and that goes as well if you want to be able to mine SiaCoins as well. Currently SiaCoins can be mined using a GPU miner, an OpenCL one that works on both AMD and Nvidia GPUs, though it should be faster on AMD-based video cards. You can expect to get up to about 900 MHs from a Radeon 280X or a GeForce GTX 970 as a reference, but do note that the miner for Sia is also pretty CPU intensive, so if running with multiple GPUs the hashrate may slow down if the CPU gets overloaded. So far the Sia GPU miner needs quite a lot of extra work to become really useful, there are still no pools for SiaCoin mining and you need a running and unlocked wallet on each system you want to mine Sia on. Furthermore you need to run a separate instance of the GPU miner for each GPU you want ot mine the coin with, so with the current network difficulty and solo mining it may take quite a while until you hit a block, making the mining not to attractive.
To get to try sharing some files by renting some space on the Sia network you can use a faucet to get some SiaCoins, however it seems that the faucet has some downtime, so alternatively you can purchase SiaCoins from Poloniex where they are traded with a price of 7 satoshi per SiaCoin (pretty cheap). You can see what is the average price per GB per month in SiaCoins in the wallet among the currently active available hosts to get an idea how much you may need to spend depending on your storage needs. So with 200 SiaCoins per GB per month if you need 1TB of storage you would need to pay for it about 0.014 BTC equivalent or a little over $5 USD each month. The service encrypts the files and apparently stores them on multiple hosts in order to ensure availability even if one of the hosts experiences some downtime. The problem here is that managing your files from within the Sia wallet is not the most convenient you would expect, so this is also something that needs work as alternative cloud storage services like DropBox and many others do provide much more convenient access to user’s files.
The part where you are Hosting user files and are getting paid in SiaCoin in return is probably what more people are interested in. Here you set your price in SiaCoin per GB per month and the amount of free space you want to have available for sale and start waiting for getting contracts from people that need space. Dedicating 100 GB does not mean that they will be instantly filled at the moment even if you set a very low price of just 10 SiaCoins, it is wise to see what is the average price at the moment and base yours accordingly in order to get contracts as well as for them to be profitable. Based on your active contracts you will see what is the expected earnings that you will get at the end of the contract if you manage to fill them in. It is not very clear what level of downtime is acceptable before a contract is cancelled, but restarting the wallet a couple of times did not pose a problem for our few test contracts at a very low price. What is important here for providing Hosting services via Sia is that you need to be able to have your PC running the wallet accessible via an external IP, you can use port forwarding and the wallet supports UPnP as well. Though we’ve had a fair share of issues with connections not going through even though UPnP was working and port forwarding was just fine, leaving the wallet run for a few hours and these have disappeared by themselves. Getting your computer Hosting files on the Sia network accessible over the Internet could cause some issues for novice users and it also makes it hard to run multiple computers sharing free storage from a single external IP.
After spending a day trying to make Sia work properly and experiencing a few issues with things not working and trying to make them work we can conclude that although Sia does work decently it still needs a lot of work. The wallet needs to become more user friendly, better access to stored files is a must in order to get wider user adoption and to attract more people hosting files on the network, pool mining support needs to be added and the GPU miner needs to be further improved to support mining on a different computer running the wallet and so on. Sia, much like many others, also suffers from the lack of detailed information and answers to the many questions that new users may have, there is some information available and it is not very well structured, so that also needs quite a lot of work too. You can still give Sia a try if you are interested, but it is too early for people that are interested in seriously using the file storage functionality or the ones interested in earning from sharing their free space. At the moment Sia is at a stage where you can just give it a try to see how it works and what you can expect in the future, not something that you can use to make good profit mining or sharing free space. We are going to be checking Sia again at a later time to see how things may improve in the future…