Litecoin Mining FAQ

Litecoin Mining FAQ

Litecoin Mining FAQ


We have compiled a list of the most common questions and their answers regarding Litecoin mining.

  • What is Litecoin?

Litecoin is a virtual crypto-currency created based on the concept of Bitcoin. It has some functional advantages over Bitcoin such as faster confirmations and higher resistance to FPGA and ASIC mining.

  • How are new Litecoins created?

New coins are generated by a network node each time it finds the solution to a certain mathematical problem (i.e. creates a new block), which is difficult to perform and can demonstrate a proof of work. The reward for solving a block is automatically adjusted so that in the first 4 years of the Litecoin network, 42,000,000 LTC will be created. The amount is halved each 4 years, so it will be 21,000,000 over years 4-8, 10,500,000 over years 8-12 and so on. Thus the total number of coins will approach 84,000,000 LTC over time.

  • How does the halving work when the number gets really small?

The reward will go from 0.00000001 LTC to 0. Then no more coins will likely be created.

The calculation is done as a right bitwise shift of a 64-bit signed integer, which means it is divided by 2 and rounded down. The integer is equal to the value in LTC * 100,000,000. This is how all Litecoin balances/values are stored internally.

Keep in mind that using current rules this will take nearly 100 years before it becomes an issue and Litecoins may change considerably before that happens.

  • Would Litecoin mining be profitable for me?

That depends on many factors, including your hardware, the cost of electricity and the value you give to Litecoin. And for any investment, remember that there are no guarantees. Any money that you put into crypto-currency should be money that you can afford to lose. Mining or investing in crypto-currency is extremely speculative.

  • What hashrate should i expect from my hardware?

There is a mining hardware comparison at the Litecoin Wiki which will give you an idea of the speed of your GPU.

  • Can i use Bitcoin ASIC miner to mine Litecoin?

No, it would not be possible as Litecoin is using an entirely different hashing algorithm that has a higher resistance to FGPA and ASIC mining.

  • I want to invest in mining hardware, what should i buy?

At the moment the best option is an array of high-end AMD GPUs. The most popular models among the miners are Radeon 7950 and R9 280X, which is mostly out of stock everywhere. You can check our list of Radeon 7950 GPU alternatives.

  • Should i use CGMiner or Reaper for GPU mining?

CGMiner would be a better choice. Reaper is and outdated, buggy and unmaintained software. CGMiner used to have problem with newer ATI GPUs, but since these issues are no fixed, there is no reason to use Reaper anymore. If you are on Nvidia card, Cudaminer would be a better choice since it is accelerated for Cuda.

  • Can i use the same worker name and password for more than one physical miner?

Yes, but if you use different workers it is easier to track your miners’ performance.

  • What is a share?

A share is a unit of reward that miners earn by submitting proof of work, which is the result of hashing, to the pool. The term share originates from the reward system of proportional pools, whose total earnings are distributed among miners in proportion to the number of shares they submit.

In a pay-per-share (PPS) system, shares are paid directly to miners, indipendently of how many blocks the pool actually finds. The value of a share depends on two factors – the network difficulty and the share difficulty.

  • What is network difficulty?

The network difficulty is a number (currently 3231.1833) that gives an indication of how difficult it is to find a block. The Litecoin network automatically adjusts its difficulty every few days so that blocks are found every 2.5 minutes. This would mean that the more hashing power is on Litecoin, the harder it is to find a block.

You can estimate the number of Litecoins you would be able to mine in a day by using your hashrate in KHash/sec to divide by the current difficulty. The result would be very close but is just an estimate and not the exact formula.

  • What is share difficulty?

The share difficulty is a number that gives an indication of how difficult it is to find a share. The lower the number, the more shares a miner will find at a given speed with a lower value. For this reason, the share difficulty does not affect miners’ expected earnings.

  • Why does the pool report more shares than my miner?

Some pools serves variable-difficulty (Vardiff) work units, so when you solve a share, the pool counts it with multiplicity according to its difficulty. For example, if you solve a share that is four times as difficult as the baseline share, it gets counted as four shares.

  • Why variable-difficulty shares?

The technique of adapting the difficulty according to each miner’s hashrate allows the pool to measure the workers’ speed more precisely while keeping bandwidth usage optimal.

  • How does share difficulty influence my earnings?

Basically it doesn’t. A higher or lower share difficulty does not mean you will be earning more or less, because your expected earnings are independent of the share difficulty. They only depend on the hashrate and the network difficulty. A higher share difficulty can only increase the variance, but not in a significant way.

  • I have just started mining and all mu shares are being rejected. What’s wrong?

People asking this are usually Bitcoin miners who didn’t reconfigure their rigs for Litecoin, or who are trying to use a miner that doesn’t support Litecoin mining, like Phoenix. You should be using one of the following miners for Litecoin, like CGMiner, BFGMiner, CPUMiner or CudaMiner. Configuring a GPU for Litecoin mining requires particular attention. You can refer to our tutorial on How to fine tune CGMiner to have a better idea of the settings needed.

  • Why doesn’t the hashrate reported by the pool match that reported by my miner?

Because of how pooled mining works, the pool has no way of knowing your exact hashrate, so it can only estimate it based on the intervals that you take to submit shares. So on average, it will take around 10 minutes after you started mining for the estimates to become accurate. They will never be very precise though, even if your miner’s hashrate is steady, the pool’s estimate will keep fluctuating around the actual speed.

  • The pool keeps reporting a much lower hashrate than CGMiner. What is wrong?

If the estimate displayed on the site stays too low for more than 10 minutes, then you are almost certainly experiencing hardware errors.

CGMiner checks every solution generated by your GPU, and if one turns out to be incorrect because of hardware errors, rightfully it doesn’t even submit it. Since pools can only estimate your hashrate based on the number of solutions you submit in a given amount of time, their estimate will be lower than your real raw hashrate. This raw hashrate which is correctly displayed by CGMiner is however, not meaningful if the solutions that your GPU generate are wrong.

You need to ensure that all (not just the top figure) of the HW figures in CGMiner are zero or next to zero. If that is not the case, you need to review on your settings. You can refer to our tutorial on How to fine tune CGMiner for Scrypt mining.

Remember that Scrypt (Litecoin) mining puts a lot more stress on GPUs than SHA256 (Bitcoin) mining, so you don’t want to push your hardware too much.

  • What are stale shares?

Servers provide each miner with some unique data that the miner must use to find a share. This data needs to be updated every time that a new block appears on the Litecoin network, and that’s why servers must promptly notify miners when they detect a new block. Every second you keep mining for the old block is wasted, because that block has already been found. If a new block is found before a submitted share hits the server, the share is marked as stale and yields no reward.

Stale shares are caused by latency which can happen at various levels. The most obvious cause is high ping time to the server, which however shouldn’t affect the stale rate by more than 0.5%.

  • I’m getting more than 2% stale shares. Is this normal?

No. Most miners achieve a stale rate of below 1%. If you are GPU mining, make sure that the intensity parameter is not set too high on your miners. More generally, consider that anything that pushes your hardware too much csn csuse additional latency, which will result in a higher rate of stale shares. Some software latency is sometimes unavoidable when GPU mining, but if your stale rate is above 2%, then something probably needs to be fixed.

  • Should i set the --no-submit-stale option in CGMiner?

The --no-submit-stale option tells CGMiner to skip submission of shares that it detects as stale. You should only set it after you have made sure that your other settings, such as intensity, aren’t causing too much latency locally. It is worth to note that some of your submitted shares will still turn stale because of network latency, which is unavoidable.

  • What is Stratum?

Stratum is a network protocol for pooled mining, designed to replace the obsolete getwork protocol. It was originally proposed by Marek Palatinus (aka Slush), who also wrote a proxy for miners that could only understand getwork protocol.

Today most mining software supports the Stratum protocol natively, but the Stratum proxy is still useful for reducing network bandwidth usage on large installations.

  • What is the resume extension to Stratum?

It is an extension to the original Stratum mining protocol, jointly designed by Slush and ckolivas, the maintainer of CGMiner. If your mining pool supports the extension and your internet connection has a hiccup, the server may still accept any shares that your miners found while disconnected, if they reconnect and submit them within a reasonable time. As simple as this may sound, it is actually quite tricky to implement this feature correctly, because Stratum is not a stateless protocol.

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