Bitcoin, the digital currency, is making headlines these days as it continues to increase in value and is accepted in an increasing number of retailers and other businesses. So how can you get in on this exciting new form of virtual cash? And is it worth the effort? Most importantly from our point of view, can Mac users get involved?
In this article we explain how to mine Bitcoin on Mac, and discuss whether that’s a good idea. Read next:
Apple predictions 2017
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a
cryptocurrency that can be used to buy a variety of things, including online services, products… maybe even a house. It’s akin to digital cash, in that it allows users to remain (mostly) anonymous in their transactions.
The currency has no central bank and no hierarchical overseers. There are no actual coins, either. Instead, Bitcoins are created by people using the computational power of their computers to ‘mine’ them.
While the whole thing might sound a bit wacky, in the last few years the value of Bitcoins has increased at a phenomenal rate. Just recently a Bitcoin become worth more than an ounce of gold; at time of writing it’s over £2,000.
For more information on Bitcoin mining, take a look at
this article by our colleagues at Tech Advisor.
How are Bitcoins made?
Creating a Bitcoin requires the solving of complex computational problems. This is done through software that uses the GPU of a PC (or Mac) to essentially keep chipping away at answers until it finds the right one.
While this might sound easy – and when Bitcoin first appeared back in 2008 it was certainly easier – these days the complexity of the problems are such that the power needed to crack them is substantial.
Because of this it’s now virtually impossible to create Bitcoin without serious, dedicated hardware, or through people joining together in pools to share their resources and rewards.
How to use a Mac to make Bitcoin
Before you delve too far into the Bitcoin scene it’s worth considering the fact that’s it’s very difficult to make money creating Bitcoin. In fact, due to the cost of electricity and any additional hardware you might purchase (not to mention replacing Macs whose GPUs burn out due to excessive use) you could make a net loss.
One very important thing is to ensure that you have offline backups of your wallet, and that you keep the details of your account somewhere safe. If you lose your password or your account is hacked, then your money is gone. It’s the same as losing your wallet or purse in real life. Cash just doesn’t come back.
Macworld contributor Martyn has been involved with tech ever since the arrival of his ZX Spectrum back in the early 80s. He covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews.