There are a few ways to acquire a cryptocurrency:
- You can accept them for goods and services.
- You can buy them online at sites like Bitit, Coinbase, PayBis, Cubits, or exchanges.
- You can purchase them from various ATMs wherever you’re located.
- You can find someone with coins, who wishes to trade them for traditional currency.
- You could participate in a mining pool.
- You could build your own mining rig and solo mine them.
For the purposes of this article, and as the title of it suggest, we’ll be focusing on mining cryptocoins.
The process of mining a new coin is something more akin to a raffle draw, than anything else. Your mining rig spends computational power looking for solutions to certain mathematical problems, and is awarded a “block” of coins whenever it’s the first computer to succeed.
The solving of these mathematical problems serves as validation and security of encrypted online transactions, for controlling the amount of coins on the market, and for introducing new coins.
For example, the reward for solving a Bitcoin, which is mined every 10 minutes, is 25 Bitcoins. In the first four years of its inception, 10,499,889.80231183 Bitcoins were created. Every four years after this, the available amount will half, until a total of 20,999,839.77085749 are mined.
Finally, the difficulty of mining Bitcoins is calculated every 2016 blocks, and is based upon the time it took to generate the previous 2016 blocks, aiming to stay around the 10-minute mark.