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Top 10 Cryptocurrencies You Can Mine with a PC or GPU

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The mining sector continues to see growing centralization due to rising hardware costs and larger mining pools. However, many people are surprised to learn that you can still mine with a PC or GPU. Sure, your chances on a network like Bitcoin are insanely low, but those chances rise as you explore other options.

Thankfully, there has been a steady stream of projects that leverage advanced protocols to reduce the ability of miners to use high-powered ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) rigs. These devices are purpose-built to solve specific consensus algorithms and are typically thousands of times faster than PCs and GPU-powered mining rigs.

Crypto Mining Should Be Fair

When Bitcoin entered the market, it was designed to be open, transparent, and available to anyone. That’s one of the main reasons why a 1MB block size was chosen and remains to this day. Everyone was supposed to be able to mine Bitcoin and keep the network secure.

Sadly, this isn't the case today. Technically, you can still use your PC to hack away at the PoW algorithm. Still, you will be practically wasting your electricity due to the competitive nature of Bitcoin’s mining community.

ASIC Mining Rigs Reduce the Ability to Mine with a PC

At first, ASIC mining rigs created a new level of profitability for miners. However, their popularity grew alongside Bitcoin mining, creating a highly competitive environment. Consequently, your chances of securing rewards mining on the Bitcoin network using a PC are astronomically low.

The projects listed here prevent ASIC mining rigs by altering, randomizing, and combining consensus algorithms. They recognized the issues that mining centralization causes and took steps to prevent problems from the creation of the platform. Here are 10 cryptocurrencies you can mine with a PC or GPU, in no particular order.

1. Bitcoin Gold (BTG)

Bitcoin Gold is a unique project that was created from the ground up with the goal of combat mining centralization. The project entered service in Q1 2018 as a hard-fork of Bitcoin. The developers behind the project, Bruce Fenton, Tron Black, and Joel Weight, sought to equalize crypto mining.

This first-generation crypto shares many technical aspects with Bitcoin. For example, it has a capped supply of 21M tokens and has a 10 min block time. These factors have led to some claiming that the project was a cash grab during its early years. However, the differences between the two projects are evident when you examine the consensus mechanisms.

Source - Coinmarketcap

Source – Coinmarketcap

Bitcoin Gold leverages the Equihash consensus mechanism, first presented at the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS) in 2016 as an ASIC-resistant option. This consensus switches algorithms, which significantly reduces the effectiveness of ASIC systems.

Notably, Bitcoin Gold had a rough start as the network was successfully 51% hacked in May 2018, resulting in significant losses. The hack was possible at the time as the network had a relatively low hash rate at launch. Since then, developers have significantly upgraded the consensus mechanism following the hack, resulting in no further events.

2. Zcash (ZEC)

Zcash entered the market in 2016 and was founded by Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn. The project aims to provide users with improved security and anonymity. The network leverages an approach called zero-knowledge proofs. Zero-knowledge proofs allow transactions to be completed without revealing vital data about the parties to the network.

Some cool features that Zcash brings to the market include the ability to select between private and public transactions. This option enables Zcash to fulfill more use case scenarios as it can provide full transparency when required. Zcash users enjoy privacy, security, and a limited supply of 21M tokens.

Zcash uses the Equihash consensus algorithm as part of its decentralized mining strategy. Equihash has been proven to reduce the effects of ASIC miners without hurting the returns average GPU and CPU miners receive. As such, it's currently one of the most popular methods blockchains employ.

Zcash leverages community governance to help keep the community cohesive and in tune with all future developments. Additionally, the project has a strong community of followers and developments that keep it active. For these reasons, ZCash remains a project you can mine with PCs.

3. Vertcoin (VTC)

Vertcoin is a project that has been around since the early days of the market.  Vertcoin went live in January 2014 as a Bitcoin hard fork. The main draws for the project are privacy features, mining decentralization, and scalability.

Vertcoin integrates a modified version of the Lyra2REv3 algorithm designed to be ASIC-resistant. This mechanism integrates a variety of protections to prevent and reduce ASIC mining rigs. For example, there is a memory-hard function.  This means that it requires a significant amount of memory to perform mining calculations.

Also, this process uses a sequence of hashing functions and memory accesses to reduce the capabilities of high-powered rigs further. ASIC mining rigs are unable to handle multiple algorithms.

4. Bytecoin (BCN)

Bytecoin (BCN) was launched in July 2012 and is another Bitcoin hard fork that sought to level the mining playing field by integrating proprietary protocols. The network combines privacy options and scalability as its main benefits. Specifically, Bytecoin leverages the CryptoNote PoW protocol to obfuscate sendors, receivers, transaction values, and more.

CryptoNote reduces the capabilities of ASIC miners by leveraging a memory cache and accessing feature. This memory access is over a broad data model, which is very difficult for specific chips to solve. Additionally, the consensus uses an adaptive algorithm that adjusts over time to retain ASIC resistance.

Bytecoin was advanced for its time as it incorporated ring signatures and stealth addresses. These features are still popular today, albeit they are not as private as they were a decade ago when it launched.

5. Ethereum Classic (ETC)

Ethereum Classic is the original Ethereum blockchain. It became Ethereum Classic after a controversial decision to roll back the network and hard-fork it to prevent a hacker from stealing $50M in Ether. The event is one of the most publicized hacks in crypto history, with the hacker even arguing on social media with developers about the deception.

The hacker stated that if a DAO was meant for automated decision-making, you must stick by its decision. Despite the effects, Ethereum decided to hard-fork and abandon Ethereum Classic. However, not all Ethereum users followed, and the project remains alive today.

Notably, the decision was met with heavy pushback and has limited Ethereum’s access to assets that require legal finalization. Imagine a scenario where a tokenized stock or bond had its finalization revoked due to blockchain empowering rolling back transactions.

Ethereum Classic remains a PoW network despite Ethereum upgrading to ETH2.0 PoS. As such, you can still mine Ethereum Classic with a PC and GPU. This capability is only possible because Ethereum Classic leverages the Ethash consensus mechanism, which integrates a memory-hard function.

6. Monero (XMR)

Monero was, and remains, the reigning privacy coin on the market. This controversial coin launched in April 2014 and is packed with advanced features to keep your transactions anonymous. For example, the network supports ring signatures, stealth addresses, and confidential transactions.

One of the key features of Monero is its commitment to fungibility. The developers wanted to ensure every XMR was indistinguishable from others to ensure that all share the same value. Notably, fungibility is a core component of privacy as it ensures that no token can be blacklisted.

Monero uses the CryptoNight consensus algorithm to keep its mining community decentralized. This approach still enables users to mine with a PC or GPU. Additionally, the system integrates common features such as memory-hard functions and frequent algorithm updates. Today, Monero remains a popular project even though a forensic firm has debatably claimed to be able to unravel its privacy features.


AEON is another privacy coin that wanted to do its part to help promote decentralization. The project entered the market in 2014. Notably, it was originally launched as a hard fork of the Monero blockchain. As such, it shares many privacy features with Monero, including integrating ring signatures, stealth addresses, and confidential transactions.

Notably, AEON is classified as a lightweight blockchain that you can mine with a PC or GPU. This designation means that the network is optimized for lower-power devices like smartphones. As such, these blockchains have lower memory requirements and offer faster data syncing.

AEON leverages the CryptoNight-Lite consensus system. This version of the CryptoNight consensus is optimized for CPU mining. It includes memory and algorithm adjustments similar to other projects on this list.

8. Ravencoin (RVN)

Ravencoin was developed by Bruce Fenton, Tron Black, and Joel Weight in 2018. This blockchain seeks to streamline the tokenization of real-world assets. The project makes it easy for anyone to convert items into decentralized digital assets. As such, Ravencoin has use cases in finance, gaming, supply chain management, art, security, and intellectual property.

Source - Coinmarketcap Ravencoin

Source – Coinmarketcap Ravencoin

Ravencoin introduces the X16RV2 consent mechanism, which was designed to be ASIC-resistant. This protocol integrates different algorithms that change frequently. Notably, these algorithms are selected from a larger pool, making it difficult for ASIC manufacturers to narrow down the options.

Ravencoin has an active community and has undergone several upgrades and improvements, improving security, scalability, and functionality. Additionally, the team behind the project has made strategic partnerships to expand the platform's ecosystem.

9. Grin (GRIN)

Grin is another privacy coin that you can mine with a PC. The project uses some interesting methods to help protect users from centralization. The project has been active since January 2019 and is open source. The blockchain focuses on scalability and is based on the Mimblewimble protocol.

Interestingly, Grin has a token emission schedule of one token per second. Additionally, it's a lightweight blockchain, which makes it ideal for mobile use. Also, it integrates a community governance model to give users a voice in future developments.

Grin uses the Cuckoo Cycle mining algorithm to remain decentralized. This protocol leverages a memory-bound requirement to offset ASIC miners like others on this list. Currently, Grin is still active and has made significant progress in improving its security, privacy, and community.

10. Horizon (ZEN)

Horizon launched Zencash in May 2017 before rebranding in 2018. Horizon is a blockchain that employs privacy features such as support for zk-SNARKS and TLS Encryption. Both of these features make it more difficult for outside sources to determine your transactions

The project's founders, Rob Viglione and Rolf Versluis took steps to help protect the network decentralization and miners. As part of this strategy, a hybrid consensus mechanism is used. This multi-layered approach is common today as it helps to separate computations from validation processes.

Additionally, secure nodes stake tokens to receive rewards to provide additional network services. Staking protocols add a lot to a network as they offer users a way to secure the network and earn low-risk passive returns without the risk of losing their original assets. As such, staking has become a standard feature in most 4th-generation blockchains today.

Keenly, Secure nodes gain access to rewards by securing the network and providing additional services. This consensus structure enables the network to scale better, reducing congestion and streamlining the creation of side chains and Dapps.

Mine with a PC – I Can't Believe It

Many people will tell you there is no way to mine cryptocurrencies without spending a fortune on hardware and learning many technical skills. However, they simply haven't taken the time to review the top 10 cryptocurrencies you can mine with a PC or GPU. If they did, they would know that many networks still make this a possibility.

You can learn more about exciting blockchain projects here.

David Hamilton is a full-time journalist and a long-time bitcoinist. He specializes in writing articles on the blockchain. His articles have been published in multiple bitcoin publications including