Here is an interesting project called Merit that has been launched a few months ago and has been growing steadily and mostly under the radar, because it is an invite only network where you actually "mine" the invites as well as the Merit (MRT) coins. Merit uses a controlled-growth model, so that there will not be a quick hype, but instead slower, but safer growth of the whole ecosystem with changes and improvements along the way making things better and easier for everyone.
One of the things I like about the project is that you actually can mine coins, but there are also other ways to earn coins like the Growth Rewards that are a kind of a lottery system for rewarding people for growing the network. After you learn you can mine coins, the next logical question is if you can trade them somewhere, so is there and exchange where Merit (MRT) is being traded? Yes, there is, an official Merit Market that is already doing quite good. In the market you can directly trade MRT coins with other users, buying or selling them for Bitcoin (BTC) via an escrow service that works surprisingly quickly and efficiently. Merit is not yet on some of the big and popular crypto exchanges, but sooner or later that will happen inevitably as the project continues to grow.
The Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm that Merti uses is called Cuckoo cycle and it is a new one like many of the things in the whole project and that is one of the things that makes it interesting and attractive. The target block time is 60 seconds and the block reward is 20 MRT, though only half of it goes to the miners and the other half goes for the growth rewards. The difficulty is being retargeted every 300 blocks or roughly about every 5 hours and thanks to the controlled-growth model it should not be moving very rapidly up or down. The total supply of MRT coins is 100 Million with 20M premined in the genesis block, so far there a little below 7 million coins mined.
Initially Merit could be mined with CPU only, but now there is also an Nvidia GPU miner available that is much faster, though its performance is still CPU dependent. An AMD miner is being worked on, but is not yet available, so people with Nvidia mining rigs have the advantage here. In the table above you can see an estimate performance for the latest generation of Nvidia GPUs for mining MRT, though if you have slow Celeron CPU on your mining rig the actual performance for a 6 or more GPU mining rig will most likely be slower than that. At the moment 1 MRT is about 5000-6000 satoshi in terms of a price, though that value can vary, here is a Merit mining calculator to get an idea how much coins you can mine in a day depending on your mining hardware (use the table above as a reference) and to see what profit you can expect to get from mining Merit coins.
There are two ways that you can GPU mine Merit (MRT), either by using the Merit Lightwallet that has a built-in CPU and GPU mining feature or use the console Merit miner currently the latest version is 0.4 available for both Windows and Linux. The full wallet called Merit Core does support only CPU mining, so no need to use it for mining, the best way is to use the console miners on your mining rigs.
Here is an example batch file for mining with the official miner:
start merit-minerd-0.4.exe --url stratum+tcp://parachute.merit.me:3333 --address MFE8mkm6hzgxDHkbko2YeUCFSK3cWt6TvH --gpu 0 1 2 3 4 5 --cores 0 wmic process where name="merit-minerd-0.4.exe" CALL setpriority 16384 timeout /t 1800 taskkill /f /im merit-minerd-0.4.exe goto loop
Now there is also the zjazz CUDA miner as an alternative to the official miner, giving more flexibility and stability as well as performance in some cases. The new miner comes with multiple options to reduce the CPU load for GPU mining rigs with slower CPUs (Merit mining is still CPU heavy) or to maximize performance on mining machines with more powerful processors increasing the hashrate you get. There are multiple options available to play with that control CPU load and mining performance depending on your mining hardware. More importantly the miner itself seems more stable and does not seem to be crashing on systems like the case with crashes from the official Merit miner. Do note however that the zjazz CUDA Miner is a closed source software and comes with a built-in development fee of 2% and there is currently Windows only binary available.
Now, if you are ready to give Merit a try you can click on the link below and create your account / wallet address. Do note that since Merit is an invite-only after you visit the invite link and register you will need to have your account activated. I have a limited number of invites available to give out to people that are really interested in checking out the project, so please do not waste them. Sending multiple invite requests will not get you accepted faster, in fact will have the opposite effect! If you have some questions ask them in the comments below, or if you need some help feel free to ask.