How To: Mining Shift (SHF)

How To: Mining Shift (SHF)

Besides Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, there are a few other coins that use the Ethash (based upon the Dagger-Hashimoto) mining algorithm that are also profitable to mine. One of these is Shift coin (SHF) and I will be focusing this How To guide on it, but these methods are easily adaptable to other coins as well.

Some of the other coins currently using Ethash, which is a PoW Consensus Algorithm, are Expanse (EXP), Krypton (KR), and of course Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC).

ShiftShift is a more obscure coin and as such its price will vary, often by a large percentage, over the course of a day, week, or month. The strategy for mining coins such as Shift (SHF) is to mine and hold, and to set up sells ahead of time for better pricing on the exchanges. This strategy may be the same or a bit different than you are used to, as ETH and even now ETC have a more steady price and thus predictable daily income.

While still fairly straight-forward to mine, the information to go about mining these “cone” coins is a little more scarce, so I put together a quick step-by-step guide.

The guide is simple and assumes you already have a computer setup and have been mining Ethereum or Ethereum Classic already. If you are new to mining, you may want to check out one of the older guides which will get you started. While you can use any mining software, this guide is also using the Claymore’s 5.3 Beta mining software and running on Windows 7 machine.

A bit more about Shift, according to the official SHIFT website:

SHIFT is a Web 3.0 network for decentralized applications giving developers powerful and easy to implement smart contract solutions for practical use cases. Based on Ethereum it offers a full turing-complete smart contract programming language.
Continuous development of SHIFT will bring the release of STAKENODES and PHANTOM, which in combination form the base layer for a truly decentralized web server network that pays its users to host content and provide bandwidth, taking away the need for VPS or other hosting providers.

You can also read more about SHIFT on its Bitcointalk.org thread.

SHIFT Block Explorer: http://www.shiftchain.net.

SHIFT Network Stats: http://stats.shiftnrg.org:8080/

SHIFT Website: http://www.shiftnrg.org/

 

Step 1:

You will need a Shift wallet address to mine to.

You have two main options here depending upon your strategy.

  1. You can download the wallet from the Shift website: http://www.shiftnrg.org/#download – This is for those who plan to use a long term mine and hold strategy and want to hang on to their coins for several months or longer in hopes price will go up appreciably sometime in the future.
  2. You can use an exchange wallet address. This option is great for those seeking to cash out and convert to BTC in a relatively short time frame (<2 weeks) but I would recommend moving your BTC out regularly. With this option you will encounter the day-to-day volatility in price, so you may need to set your sells a bit higher that current prices to ensure profitability.

There are a few exchanges actively trading Shift right now. I am using Bittrex for this guide, but you can also use Livecoin or Bitsquare.

Bittrex_SHF

Log in or make an account at Bittrex. On the upper right, click on the Wallets tab. Once in the wallets section, again toward the upper right there is a search box. Type in Shift and the results should sort allowing you to see a shift entry. Clicking on the + in front of the Shift line item should bring up the wallet. From here you can create and view your Bittrex Shift deposit address. Copy this address to your clipboard for later use, and you may also put it temporarily in a text file.

Step 2:

Choose a Shift mining pool. Unlike Ethereum and Ethereum classic, there are relatively few Shift mining pools currently running. Indeed, Whattomine.com show current hash-rates of only 1.14 GH/s.

What-to-mine_Shift

The currently available (and operational) Shift pools as of this post were:

  • Miners-Zone  1% Fee, PROP, Min. Payout 1 Shift, Payouts every 4 hours,Transaction fees paid by pool
  • MSKPool  1% Fee,, (Russian Site)
  • Shift-Pool  1% Fee, ,1 SHIFT minimum payment, Hourly Payouts,Transaction fees paid by pool

 

For this guide I chose Shift-Pool, but please try to spread the hash-rate out.

At this point, you really only need the connection information, as most modern pools are anonymous and do not require registration. For shift pool the provided information is shown below:

Shift_Pool_3

Step 3:

Configure your mining software.

For this guide I am using Claymore’s V5.3 Beta. You can get the latest version by visiting the Claymore support thread on Bitcointalk.org.

Since I also use this to mine Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, I simply need to create a new batch file with the correct parameters to point to the pool.

  • Go to your Claymore folder and open it up.
  • Once inside right click on an empty area and choose New->Text Document.
  • Click on Ok.
  • You will now see a new text document appear with a placeholder name of: New Text Document.txt
  • Rename it to Shift.bat removing any .txt reference completely. This will create an empty batch file for you to insert commands.
  • Open up the empty file by right clicking on it and choosing edit.

Claymore_SHF_bat_2

As per most mining, the setx commands simply set environmental variables for your GPU to use. They only need to be set once, but it does not hurt to include them in the batch file as they only take a second to run. This also ensures the correct values in the event something else overwritten them.

setx GPU_FORCE_64BIT_PTR 0
setx GPU_MAX_HEAP_SIZE 100
setx GPU_USE_SYNC_OBJECTS 1
setx GPU_MAX_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
setx GPU_SINGLE_ALLOC_PERCENT 100

Upon launching the batch file, you will see the following showing the variables as being properly set.

Windows_setx_variables

 

The real action occurs in the line:

EthDcrMiner64.exe -epool stratum.shift-pool.com:8008 -ewal 0x69b3b8f3b713a4d697eedf5fe2ecd5489d645ff6 -epsw x -esm 0 -allcoins 1

This is the minimum you will need to launch the miner and point to the Shift pool. A quick recap of the commands:

EthDcrMiner64.exe – Calls the executable program, in this case the Claymore miner. This batch file should be in the same directory as the EthDcrMiner64 executable to work properly.

-epool stratum.shift-pool.com:8008 – specifies the Pool address and port you want to mine at, in this case: stratum.shift-pool.com:8008

-ewal 0x69b3b8f3b713a4d697eedf5fe2ecd5489d645ff6 – specifies the wallet address. Use your wallet address here, you can copy it from the temporary text file above or get in again from the exchange or your own wallet.

-epsw x – Pool password. In most cases this will simply be set to x as it is not used. Check with your pool though if you encounter troubles.

-esm 0 – This is the Ethereum Stratum mode. 0 is actually the default, but I like to specify it anyway as some pools are different. Other options are 1,2,and 3. See the readme text file int he Claymore folder for an explanation.

-allcoins 1 – This is important to include, since we are mining an alt or clone coin, it lets the miner know this so that it can switch to more traditional pools when it mines the fee.

I also put the optional pause command at the end of the file on a new line just for troubleshooting purposes. In the normal course of events this line will never be executed so it causes no harm. If something is wrong with your batch file, most likely typos or a wrong parameter, this will leave the window open so you can view any error message for useful clues as to what went wrong.

Step 5

Launch the miner.

Finally, with everything setup and ready to go we can test it out. Go into your Claymore folder and double click on your Shift.bat file to launch it. If everything is setup properly, you should connect to the pool and begin mining. You should first see the environmental variables fly by as they are being set, as in the image up above.

Then you should see something similar to the image below. I highlighted a few important things in the image to keep an eye out for.

Claymore_Shift_1

Basically you are checking to see if the miner is launching, that all your cards are properly detected, and that the pool is connecting. If you get past this point, chance are good everything is setup properly and you will begin mining after the DAG files are processed and buffers built for each card.

Claymore_Shift_2

In the above image, we can see the actual mining happening. With a low difficulty coin such as Shift, you should begin to see plenty of Share Found messages begin to fly by.

A couple of things to look for at this point, is one the milliseconds being reported after a share is found. If this number is high (>250 ms), you may want to check if the pool has another server closer to your geographical location.

Also keep an eye on your temperatures and fan speeds. After about 5 minutes these should stabilize around their normal operating temperature. I like to see my temperatures under 70 C with fan speeds well under 100%. If this is not the case, check to see if your GPUs need a good dusting or if you can improve airflow.

After some time (5-10 minutes) again check to miner paying attention to the cyan colored lines. You should see your total and individual speeds around what you expect, and you should see the Total Shares increment and few or no Rejected shares. This is probably the more important area to check periodically, as it can help quickly spot trouble. After many hours/days of mining, one or two GPUs might become slow or quit mining before the whole rig crashes. By keeping an eye on speeds and rejected shares, you can quickly restart the miner if problems begin to manifest.

Step 6

Check in on the Pool.

Shift_Pool_1

After going through the above process, enough time should have elapsed and enough shares should have been submitted to the pool, to check in and make sure everything is running correctly on that end as well.

You do want to wait 5-10 minutes though, as it take time for the pool to do its back-end accounting, so do not worry too much if you do not see results appear instantly.

For Shift-pool, with the limited number of miners you can probably find your Shift wallet address simply by going to the miners tab and clicking on it. You can always search for your wallet address as well near the top of the page should users dramatically increase in the future.

Here we can see our personal statistics in the image below.

Shift_Pool_2

We can see that the listed Hashrate is similar to what is being reported in our miner and that shares are indeed being submitted and counted at the pool. Right now I only have one miner pointed at the pool, as with the limited network hash-rate it can quickly escalate into the point of diminishing returns by going too crazy.

I set this account up just for this guide, so the screenshot hasn’t recorded any payments yet, but since that time I can report I have received several payments in my Bittrex wallet.Depending upon your hash-rate, and that of the network, it may take an hour or two for the payments to be processed, and enough confirmations passed to show up in your wallet. I would recommend checking back though to confirm this last step before heading out or going to bed.

Step 7

Verify payments are being received.

Depending on if you used your Shift wallet address, or that of an exchange, you will want to check in the appropriate place after some time (1-2) hours of mining, to be sure you are indeed receiving your payments. Since I used a Bittrex wallet address for this guide, I will log in to my account there to check on the balance.

 

At first you may see your deposit as pending, as seen below.

Bittrex_SHF_Deposit_Pending

Well so far it looks good. We can see the first payment has arrived and is still awaiting on 120 confirmations before becoming available to use or sell. You may want to cross-check the first few deposits with the payment amounts reported sent by the pool just to make sure, but by now if all looks good you can safely assume you are correctly setup and everything is working properly. After a few more hours, check in again to make sure all is well.

Shift_Pool_Payments
Pool payments tab. Be sure to cross check the amounts are the same as what is appearing in your wallet or on the exchange. There may be a slight time delay in recent payments due to network delay.
Bittrex_SHF_Deposits
Exchange wallet deposits tab. Check to make sure number and amounts match up with pool payouts tab above. Recent payouts may have a slight network delay, check in pending deposits tab as well.

We can see from the above images everything appears to be working well. The last payment shown on the pool may take a few minutes to appear on the exchange, even under pending deposits, as the network will take awhile to catch up. After the initial setup and confirmation, I wouldn’t worry unless the delay becomes several hours.

Optional

After reading above, you should be all set and mining Shift and can stop reading. I am only offering the below commentary to give a bit of insight into some considerations you may want to consider if your main goal in mining these alt coins is to convert to BTC. If you are mining for the long haul, you should be storing your coins in your own wallet and are also all set.

At this point you can come up with a trading strategy to help maximize your mining profit. You will want to check the recent trading charts to see if you are at a point in time that the price is peaking or if it is in a dip.

Since I am mainly mining to convert to BTC, I might keep 10% of my earnings in a separate wallet for future speculation, I will briefly go over a strategy that works pretty well for me. As mentioned earlier in the guide, I consider keeping coins on an exchange for under 2 weeks. This of course means the bulk of your coins, as to trade and convert you will always need to assume some risk, but don’t go for months or years as this invites trouble as we have seen recently with both Cryptsy and now Bitfinex.

So, considering I am looking at 2-week time frames, I need to set the chart up to give me at least that much visibility. Bittrex doesn’t have the best of charting, but by clicking on the 1 day view and zooming in I can get to what I want. Since this guide was written on August 13th, I need to go back two weeks, so the beginning of August to get a good view for my purposes.

Bittrex_SHF_Charts

Looking at the above chart, we can see that during my chosen two-week time-frame, Shift is currently at the peak of it trading range. So this basically tells me to sell my coins as soon as they come in. Now this will not always be the case. If the chart was inverted, and the price happened to be at the bottom of the range, you may want to take your chances and wait for the price to recover a bit.

I also don’t need to wait for either extreme to hit. I will break the chart mentally into thirds. If the price is in the top third, it’s a no brainier, I can sell. If it is in the bottom third, it is also a no brainier for the most part and I will hold for some time. I will point out you should look at the longer trend too, as it could very well be in an established downtrend and you may want to sell anyway.

Now for those times when it is in the middle third, that takes a bit more strategy. You will definitely want to look at the longer term trending action, and also consider any recent news. If it looks like it is going up, it would be advisable to wait, however if it is going down, it may be wise to sell.

I am not intending to offer trading advise here, and you should spend some time evaluating the whole market and longer time frames before deciding on your personal strategy, but I just wanted to highlight you may want to evaluate the market before just blindly selling at current rates as soon as your coins arrive.

Some people will argue that time weighted averaging will offset any low selling point losses over time, but I have found by trying to sell at the high points during these 2-week windows has outperformed that strategy over time.

Well, with that I conclude this guide and wish you good luck and good fortune.

 

 

 

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