All About BTC, LTC, ETH mining as well as other alternative crypto currencies
The work on the official Ethereum graphical wallet (GUI wallet) is continuing and the software is getting improved and becoming more user friendly with each new beta release, making it easier for new people to get started with ETH. The wallet relies on geth (by default) or the eth client as a backend and provides a user friendly interface with the most important information and functions available to the user without requiring him to type console commands to execute them. The latest version Ethereum Wallet 0.5.1 (Beta 9) is ready for the upcoming Ethereum hardfork as the crypto currency moves to the next phase of its development called Homestead that is planned to happen at block 1150000 or in other words in less than 50 thousand blocks.
The Ethereum GUI wallet can be used as a new installation to get you started with a new wallet, it will start with an easy step by step guide to help you get started by generating a new wallet and even import pre-sale wallet if you have participated in the pre-sale and still have not imported your coins. If you already have a local wallet and were using the geth or eth console clients, then you can use the GUI wallet with your existing address and the blockchain data will not need to be re-downloaded as you already have it available locally and the GUI wallet will use it. It took some time for the official Ethereum GUI wallet to become available and to offer the functionality users needed in an easy graphical user interface, but you can say that now, even thought still in beta, the GUI wallet works very well and makes it really easy for new users to get into Ethereum.
The official Ethereum graphical wallet is improving and getting more user friendly with each new beta release, making it easier for people that are not very happy with the console only clients such as geth and eth. The wallet relies on geth (by default) or eth as a backend and provides a user friendly interface with the most important information and functions available to the user without requiring him to type console commands to execute them. The latest Beta 6 release makes it easier to backup your wallet by adding a menu command that takes you directly tot he folder where your wallet is being stored, so the only thing you need to do is to copy the file in a safe location. The new wallet comes with a button called Deposit using Bitcoin that invokes integrated support for ShapeShift allowing you to easily and quickly buy Ether coins and have them easily transferred to your Ethereum wallet. Although the button is called Deposit with Bitcoin you can actually use other altcoins supported by ShapeShift to purchase Ethereum with the needed support built-in right into the wallet. Another useful new addition is that the wallet will now show historical prices from the time of the transaction thanks to integration with the CryptoCompare service, so you will know what was the exact fiat value of the Ethereum transaction at the moment you have made it.
It seems that there was another issue with the Go Ethereum client (geth) that was causing the difficulty of the Ethereum network to increase at high pace even when the network hashrate is not actually increasing. The problem has been identified and if you are using the geth client for solo mining or as a local wallet you should upgrade to the latest geth version 1.1.2 (source). It is more important however that the Ethereum mining pools update to the latest geth client as apparently this is the preferred client used by the pools and not the alternative cpp-ethereum that is not affected. After the fix has been deployed we should start seeing the Ethereum network difficulty to start to normalize. We have provided the updated Windows binary of geth 1.1.2 in our package intended for getting started with Ethereum. If you haven’t checked our guides for Ethereum solo mining and Ethereum pool mining on Windows using geth and ethminer, as well as our guide on Ethereum mining with cpp-ethereum.
Do note that if you are currently mining for the Shift (SHF) – the first altcoin that has been forked from Ethereum, then you should also update to the latest client. The Shift client software is based on the Go Ethereum client code, so it is affected by the same difficulty issue as Ethereum was, but this has been addressed in their latest update as well.