Grin is a new crypto project for creating a the private and lightweight mimblewimble blockchain that would provide electronic transactions for everyone without censorship or restrictions. The algorithm that Grin uses is Cuckoo Cycle with 1 minute block time, 60 GRIN block reward and no limit on coin supply or reward halving. There is not going to be any ICO, founders reward, pre-mine or masternodes available for this project, so people that do not like any of these should be Ok with this project. Miners for Grin are still currently being developed, although there are some already announced or available, though initially it could be a bit of a challenge to make things work with the right miner and pool. For instance the official MWGrinPool is currently not taking new registrations, though new pools should be available as alternatives. There are already a couple of options for pools on the Testnet where you can test the mining before the Mainnet launch like Spark Pool.

The official open-source Grin Miner software is currently only available for Linux and Mac OS X and it supports both CUDA and OpenCL mining. For miners looking for Windows miners there is the Grin Gold Miner (with 1% fee for the Grin Development Fund and 1% fee for further miner development), although it also works with Linux) that supports all AMD and NVIDIA 8GB cards (requires a GPU with 8GB VRAM!). Do note however that Nvdia RTX 8GB cards need Linux or Windows 7 due to memory addressing issues. RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti are fastest in terms of performance if you manage to make them work, OpenCL code for AMD cards is currently still being optimized. Cheaper slower Celeron CPUs are not recommended for many cards on the system (similar to Merit and BITC that also use the same algorithm for mining). Another alternative for Windows miners should be the GrinPro Miner that is not yet available for download and that will have 2% developer fee. This miner should work on AMD and Nvidia GPUs with 8GB VRAM, although it promises upcoming support for 6GB VRAM cards as well, so that could be interesting for some users.

Unfortunately zjazz, who was pretty active in miner development for Cuckoo Cycle support for Merit and BITC hasn’t updated his miner for a while and will probably not be supporting Grin mining at least for the moment. The latest version of Bminer that was just made available however also comes with experimental support for mining Grin, so you might want to check it out as well. Do note that it is a closed source miner with 2% developer fee, so have that in mind as well when checking out different miners for Grin. The latest version of the closed source miner NBMiner has also just added support for the Cuckaroo algorithm used by Grin (both Windows and Linux), so you can give it a try as well (Nvidia only).

ProgPoW or Programmatic Proof-of-Work can be seen as the successor of the Ethash algorithm with enhanced ASIC resistance and while it has been available for a while there hasn’t been that much going around the new algorithm up until recently. The fact that Ethereum (ETH) is considering the switch from Ethash to ProgPoW in the near future has sparkled interest in the algorithm and we may soon start seeing more coins and miners talking about the use of that particular algo. Some of you might remember that Bitcoin Interest (BCI) was the first crypto coin to switch to the ProgPoW a couple of months ago. And while BCI hasn’t been doing that well actually, before or even after the fork to ProgPoW, it is still interesting to note that it was the first to use it and it also provided pre-compiled binaries of the initial miner for ProgPow.

Meanwhile there hasn’t been that much alternative miners up until recently that had support for ProgPow, probably due to the fact that further significant optimizations in terms of performance might not be possible for the available mining hardware. One of the more recent and not very popular yet miners available with ProgPoW support is TT-Miner, a closed source miner with 1% developer fee available only for Windows and working only on more recent Nvidia GPUs. TT-Miner (TradeTec Miner) also supports Ethash, UBQhash and MTP aside from ProgPoW and in our limited experience it has performed pretty good on a variety of Nvidia GPUs.

Another really fresh ProgPow miner that was just made available and that apparently needs more work is Progminer. It is forked from Ethminer and the source is available along with compiled binaries for Windows and Linux, do note that there are separate pre-compiled binaries available for AMD and for Nvidia GPUs, so make sure you download the correct one. This is probably the best miner to go for at the moment for ProgPoW specs wise, unless you have some trouble making it work on your particular hardware as we have encountered some issues already… Feel free to report your issues (if you have) and what performance running any of these ProgPoW miners in the comments below.

We have beeing playing for a couple of days with one of the new reference design Nvidia RTX 2060 video cards and tried how well it performs for crypto mining using various miners and mining algorithms and as expected with new GPU releases there is more to be desired, but more on that in a moment. We like the design and implementation of the whole cooling solution from Nvidia on their GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition cards, though there will be a lot of custom partner designs as well. The later should be available in a couple of days as well and start hitting the market pretty soon by the time Nvidia starts delivering FE cards in a couple of days. One thing that we don’t like very much with the latest RTX 20×0 series is the fact that the Founders Edition cards are only being sold directly by Nvidia and only available in a limited number of countries worldwide and the same goes for the RTX 2060 FE.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition is equipped with a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector (up to 150W power) plus the maximum power provided by the PCI-E slot (max 75W) which should offer enough headroom for additional overclocking over the stock 160 W TDP (100%). You can go up to 118% TDP or about 189 Watts with a tool like MSI Afterburner on the FE. We are yet to play a bit more with the overclocking capabilities of the video card’s GPU as well as the onboard GDDR6 memory, even though the memory bus on the RTX 2060 is just 192-bit the fast 14 Gbps GDDR6 video memory still manages to provide pretty high memory bandwidth. The cooling solution and the fans are doing good job at keeping the video card at below 60 degrees Celsius operating temperature even under 100% load with 160W TDP with 30 degrees ambient temperature. The cooler is well built with high-quality and durable fans, so this should ensure long lasting and problem free operation as we are used to with FE cards unless there is some factory issue or a design flaw, something that unfortunately can always happen.

In the table above you can see some of our initial tests with various miners and using some of the different algorithms they support. As expected with the GPU releases the miners are not yet optimized or may even not support the new GPU at all like in the case of Bminer that spits out an error regardless of the algorithm. Other miners tend to crash on certain of the supported algorithms when ran on the RTX 2060 with the default settings. Since it is a new GPU after a bit of time we can see additional performance boost when the new video cards hit the market and miner developers get access to them and start playing around. For now the new RTX 2060 does not seem very attractive for crypto mining, but hopefully soon it will be better supported and offer even better hashrates. Until we also see some more positive move and the crypto market starting to recover however the demand for the new RTX 20×0 series and not only for the RTX 2060 probably won’t be big for sure.