Menu IconA vertical stack of three evenly spaced horizontal lines. So far, the device of choice to mine the ethereum cryptocurrency has been the traditional 2 terahash bitcoin miner graphics card. That could soon change when specialized devices commonly known as “ASICs” are introduced in July, which are much more efficient at mining cryptocurrencies than graphics cards.
Currently, only one company called Bitmain is producing ASICs designed for mining ethereum. 2,150 and they’re sold out at the time of writing. ASICs “could have a negative impact on the Ethereum community and therefore on Ethereum price,” said Sam Doctor, a managing director at Fundstrat Global Advisors who spoke with Bloomberg. First of all, a quick recap of what cryptocurrency mining entails and why people do it. When someone is mining for cryptocurrency, they’re making their computers verify digital cryptocurrency transactions, like a ledger. Verifying these transactions involves solving incredibly complex mathematical problems.
The problems are so complex that your computer is most likely just a small contributor towards solving the problem – it’s a mere “node” among several other nodes. The allure of tasking your computer to solve these problems and verify crypto transactions is getting rewarded with a small bit of the cryptocurrency itself. Built-up over time, that reward could be pretty tempting, especially when the price of a cryptocurrency skyrockets, like bitcoin did in early 2017. A miner is rewarded because the process of verifying crypto transactions actually uses up a lot of electricity, which can run up your electricity bill quite considerably. Without some kind of incentive, there would be few reasons to pay higher electricity bills to mine cryptocurrency.
The best way to mine ethereum so far is to use computer-graphics cards. The standard graphics card is primarily designed to render the visuals and graphics of pretty much anything you see on your computer screen. That includes your operating system whether it’s Windows 10 or macOS, your apps, and video games. Graphics cards are also used by professionals for photo and video editing.
These graphics cards are widely available consumer products used by pretty much anyone with a need for one. They can be bought at regular tech stores like Best Buy or at online stores like Newegg. It also turns out that graphics cards are good at solving the complex math problems to verify a crypto transaction. But they’re not as good as ASIC mining devices. ASICs are basically devices that are designed to do one thing, and they’re really good at it. ASIC stands for “application-specific integrated circuit. In other words, an ASIC is a device that’s designed for a specific purpose or use.
By focusing on a single application, ASICs are often better than other devices that are designed around a broader set of applications. With that in mind, an ASIC can actually be any electronic device with a specific application, not just a cryptocurrency-mining device. Still, dedicated devices used for mining cryptocurrency are generally known as ASICs. ASIC-mining devices are generally rectangular devices with barely any styling.
Inside the utilitarian metal chassis are components that are much more efficient than traditional graphics cards at solving the math problems to verify crypto transactions because they’re purely designed to mine cryptocurrencies. You can think of it like the difference between soccer cleats and regular sneakers. Sneakers are extremely versatile – you can wear them pretty much anywhere and even play soccer with them. Soccer cleats, on the other hand, wouldn’t be comfortable for taking a walk.
They’re specifically designed to offer traction and control on the slick grass of a soccer field, and they’ll offer much better performance for playing soccer, if that’s your intention. ASIC mining devices designed for mining ethereum are much more cost efficient than graphics cards. Trust me, rounding out won’t make a difference. And there are even more costs associated with graphics card mining that aren’t necessary with ASIC mining. When mining with a graphics card, you need a full computer, including the motherboard, processor, RAM, and power supply units, and even a copy of the Windows operating system which can add several hundreds of dollars to the cost on top of the graphics cards themselves.
Currently, Windows is still the best operating system for mining cryptocurrency. GTX 1080Ti graphics cards, which is significantly more efficient. And you don’t need to buy separate computer parts for ASIC mining. So you can use your current laptop, whether it’s a Mac or Windows computer, or even your mobile device. You don’t necessarily need to buy extra parts. To top it all off, the Bitmain E3 mining device also draws less power for the same hash rate, which means lower electricity bills. There are varying models of ASIC miners.
Some are designed to mine specific cryptocurrencies like bitcoin itself, litecoin. Soon, models that can mine ethereum will emerge. Different ASIC miners also come with varying price tags. An ASIC miner’s price tag usually reflects how quickly they can process the complex problems that are used to verify digital cryptocurrency transactions. The higher the number, the faster the problems can be solved. Starting in July, ASIC mining company Bitmain will release a model that can be used specifically to mine the ethereum cryptocurrency.
Ethereum developers are worried about ASICs because they could be too good at mining ethereum. ASIC devices have been used to mine other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and litecoin for some time now. And now they’re soon becoming available to mine ethereum. Once ASIC devices become available for ethereum miners, ethereum developers are worried they’ll negatively impact the very essence of ether as a cryptocurrency.
One of the fears is that they’ll drive away a large number of casual or amateur ether miners who use graphics card to mine ethereum. The belief is that ASIC ether-mining devices will be so powerful that mining with graphics cards won’t be profitable anymore. So, casual miners with graphics cards will stop mining. In turn, fewer ethereum miners means the ethereum cryptocurrency would become less decentralized, and it could inch further and further into something that resembles the traditional centralized banking system. The introduction of ASIC miners designed for ethereum “would not be in the economic best interests of any participant in a cryptocurrency ecosystem as it would weaken faith in the currency, causing its value to fall,” according to Susquehanna Investment Group’s Christopher Rolland, who spoke with Bloomberg. Why don’t casual or amateur ethereum miners simply buy ASIC machines? Indeed, anyone can buy an ASIC from companies like Bitmain.
But then again, remember that ASIC machines can only do one thing: Mine cryptocurrency. You’d have to willingly invest in an ASIC device that can only be used for crypto-mining. Meanwhile, a lot of people have graphics cards for their work or hobbies. They aren’t necessarily investments purely dedicated to cryptocurrency mining, and they have a less limited value than ASIC devices. I have one of the most powerful graphics cards available in my PC designed to play video games.
And while I have this graphics card, I might as well set it to mine for cryptocurrencies while I’m not playing a game to get the financial reward. But if someone isn’t that interested in cryptocurrency mining, there’s less chance they’ll buy an ASIC device to mine because ASIC devices are extremely expensive. Graphic cards fit in perfectly with ethereum developers’ vision where the project was run by a “world computer,” according to Bloomberg. Millions of people already have graphics cards that can contribute to the decentralized ethereum ledger. 2,150 Antminer E3 designed for etherum mining. Enter hashrate data for responsive chart! The diff change is the rate at which the network difficulty is changing every month.
Diff change is used for the estimated future profits graph and break-even analysis. Typically in crypto, network difficulty tends to increase over time, meaning a miner will generate less crypto with the same hardware. Accounting for this changing difficulty is essential to generate long term profitability predictions. The diff change value is calculated by looking at the current difficulty and comparing it to the 12 hour moving average of the difficulty one month ago. Diff Change value is very large. Future profitability estimates may be inaccurate.
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Consider making Diff Change smaller or turning off Dynamic Difficulty. Hashrate is the only value you need to input to use this calculator, we do the rest of the work for you! Make sure that you have the correct hashrate suffix selected. The Break-Even Analysis feature can help you predict how long it will take to become profitable for a given setup. If the network difficulty is increasing quickly, this will greatly increase your break-even time. The diff change can be excluded from the calculation by toggling the “Use Diff Change” switch.
Why is my break-even time 0 or never? If your break-even time is 0 you have likely forgotten to input your hardware cost below. This is likely due to a large diff change value which causes your predicted profitability to turn negative in the future. You could try lowering the diff change for a less agressive prediction or disable it altogether.
Recurring costs are fixed costs such as rent or internet. This value, along with power costs are subtracted from your revenue to give profit. The profitability chart can help you visualize your long term mining projections. This view assumes the price of the coin will stay the same.
A high diff change will cause you to generate fewer coins in the future. It can be used to predict the total cost to operate your mine over a given period of time. Price Change allows you to factor in the changing price of the currency into your projections. Why does Price Change default to 0? It is impossible to predict what the price of any coin will be in the future, we leave the price predictions up to you. How does this value factor into the calculations?
It depends on what Selling Profile is set to. For more details, click on the question mark beside the Selling Profile field found directly below Price Change. Selling Profile tells the calculator how to use the Price Change value. Price Change must be set to something other than 0 to have any effect on the profitability projections. 25 into the Sell Monthly field.
Enter the characters you see below Sorry, we just need to make sure you’re not a robot. Join over 94,000 students, learn all you need to know about Bitcoin. One Email a Day, 7 Days in a Row. What Is Bitcoin Mining and Is It Profitable in 2018? The following post will give you an in-depth understanding of what Bitcoin mining is, how it works, and—most importantly—whether it’s still profitable today. I’ll do my best to keep it simple, as always. What is Bitcoin mining and how does it work?
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Why do we even need Bitcoin mining? Bitcoin is a decentralized alternative to the banking system. This means that the system can operate and transfer funds from one account to the other without any central authority. With a trusted central authority, transferring money is easy. 50 from your account and add it to someone else’s account. In this example, the bank has all the power because the bank is the only one that is allowed to update the ledger that holds the balances of everyone in the system.
But how do you create a system that has a decentralized ledger? How do you give someone the ability to update the ledger without giving them too much power—in case they become corrupt or negligent in their work? Who Wants to Be a Banker? How Bitcoin mining works In short, anyone who wants to participate in updating the ledger of Bitcoin transactions, known as the blockchain, can do so. All you need is to guess a random number that solves an equation generated by the system. Of course, this guessing is all done by your computer.
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The more powerful your computer is, the more guesses you can make in a second, increasing your chances of winning this game. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the mining process: 1. Once your mining computer comes up with the right guess, your mining program determines which of the current pending transactions will be grouped together into the next block of transactions. The block you’ve created, along with your solution, is sent to the whole network so other computers can validate it. It’s a bit similar to a Rubik’s cube: The solution is very hard to achieve but very easy to validate. Each computer that validates your solution updates its copy of the Bitcoin transaction ledger with the transactions that you chose to include in the block. Additionally, you get paid any transaction fees that were attached to the transactions you inserted into the next block.
All the transactions in the block you’ve just entered are now confirmed by the Bitcoin network and are virtually irreversible. Here’s a two-minute video showing the process of blocks and confirmations. So that’s Bitcoin mining in a nutshell. But if you think about it, the mining part is just a by-product of the transaction confirmation process. So the name is a bit misleading, since the main goal of mining is to maintain the ledger in a decentralized manner.
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As you can imagine, since mining is based on a form of guessing, for each block, a different miner will guess the number and be granted the right to update the blockchain. Of course, the miners with more computing power will succeed more often, but due to the law of statistical probability, it’s highly unlikely that the same miner will succeed every time. Satoshi Nakamoto, who invented Bitcoin, crafted the rules for mining in a way that the more mining power the network has, the harder it is to guess the answer to the mining math problem. So the difficulty of the mining process is actually self-adjusting to the accumulated mining power the network possesses. This is known as mining difficulty. Why on earth did Satoshi do this? Well, he wanted to create a steady flow of new bitcoins into the system.
In a sense, this was done to keep inflation in check. Now, remember, this is on average. We can have two blocks being added minute after minute and then wait an hour for the next block. In the long run, this will even out to ten minutes on average. The evolution of Bitcoin miners When Bitcoin first started out, there weren’t a lot of miners out there. Bitcoin back in 2009, since mining difficulty was low. As Bitcoin started to catch on, people looked for more powerful mining solutions.
Gradually, people moved to GPU mining. GPUs were originally intended to allow gamers to run computer games with intense graphics requirements. Because of their architecture, they became popular in the field of cryptography, and around 2011, people also started using them to mine bitcoins. For reference, the mining power of one GPU equals that of around 30 CPUs. Another evolution came later on with FPGA mining. FPGA is a piece of hardware that can be connected to a computer in order to run a set of calculations. The downside is that they’re harder to configure, which is why they weren’t as commonly used in mining as GPUs.
Finally, around 2013, a new breed of miner was introduced: the ASIC miner. ASIC stands for application specific integrated circuit, and these were pieces of hardware manufactured solely for the purpose of mining Bitcoin. Unlike GPUs, CPUs, and FPGAs, they couldn’t be used to do anything else. Their function was hardcoded into the machine. Today, ASIC miners are the current mining standard.