Bitcoin is a valuable entity nowadays with everybody dreaming of having at least one. However, it is something that can’t be mined right away with ease with CPU present at homes. Cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, may be composed of only 0’s or 1’s, but there is a hell lot of work going behind the scenes, when it comes to actual production or mining.
To have even 1 bitcoin, an individual needs specialized computer hardware with an “Application Specific Integrated Circuit,” or better known as ‘ASIC.’ In layman terms, ASIC miner is a device similar to that of a personal desktop Central Processing Unit (CPU), but containing an ASIC circuit, with the only sole objective of mining one or more cryptocurrencies, more often Bitcoin.
Each ASIC miner is meant to mine designated digital cryptocurrency. So, to mine bitcoin, one would need bitcoin ASIC miner only. Think of an ASIC miner as a computer specifically built to mine bitcoins by solving complex mining algorithms.
ASIC miners are quite expensive not just to manufacture, but even to develop them. But, since they are specifically meant for the job of crypto mining, they are super faster than most of the computers around. This has resulted in an unimaginable demand for ASIC chips, with efficiency now standing at 158 terahashes per second, using only 34.5 joules power per terahash.
ASIC miner has a bright future lying ahead and this can be known from the fact that the global market for cryptocurrency mining hardware is going to grow by an astonishing $12,053 million during the course of only five years from 2022-27.
ASIC Mining – Brief Timeline
ASIC Mining practice began in 2013, when Canaan Creative, a Chinese hardware company manufactured the first ever ASIC miner. Soon after that, big shot companies adapted the approach of ASIC miner manufacturing. When looking inside an ASIC miner, you would typically find – a backup generator to manage disruptions in power while mining, a cooling fan to keep temperature under control due to extensive processing, and an ASIC chip to process code calculations.
There was a step by step evolution before miners came in touch with ASIC mining after which things changed forever.
Understanding The Working
ASIC are not just any general purpose integrated circuits – like microprocessors, read only memory (ROM), random access memory (RAM), or mobile phone microprocessors – but built specifically to mine cryptocurrencies. Initially, bitcoins were meant to be mined with ease on CPUs of desktop computers or laptops. However, as time went on, the popularity of bitcoin increased by leaps and bounds, resulting in more and more miners getting into the network over years, and the mining process gaining a momentum in global acceptance. This resulted in both CPU and Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) not able to cope up with solving the complex mining algorithms, leading to the birth of ASIC miners due to their higher computing capabilities and lesser electricity consumption.
After starting to gain traction in mid 2013, all other mining hardware went for a toss as Bitcoin ASIC miners lead the bandwagon. To give a simple understanding of how an ASIC miner works, it does permutations and combinations in order to find a hash that is less than or equal to the targeted hash. A hash is an absolutely long hexadecimal number whose job is to identify blocks within the block chain, also known as the block hash or block header hash.
The mining of a block is accomplished when miners do try out different guesses before generating a hash that is nearest; or less than or equal to target hash. The process is called hashing and a miner is more likely to earn bitcoin if as many hashes are put to work within a set period. ASIC miners are optimized to handle computations quickly and efficiently for absolute rapid mining.
Benefits and Drawbacks of ASIC
- Efficiency of the machine is an obvious advantage with ASIC in place capable of handling complexities.
- ASIC miners work at a superfast speed in solving the most complex mathematical puzzles with just 10 minutes or less to solve them than somebody else does.
- When a puzzle is resolved by an ASIC miner, the programmer is rewarded heavily with valuable bitcoins, currently standing at a whopping 6.25 bitcoins per block.
- Since ASIC miner consumes high electrical power, it leads to hampering the environment, with 120 Terawatt-hours of energy used per year that is about 0.6% of overall global supply, leaving a major carbon footprint in the atmosphere.
Checklist to Follow before Buying an ASIC miner
It is important to have a deep dive inside the parameters to check for before investing big time into ASIC mining rigs.
- Crypto to mine – Just check whether an ASIC miner is capable of mining the crypto you are targeting as very few of them can be mined using an ASIC miner with the likes of Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum Classic, and a few others using PoW algorithm.
- Location of rig – ASIC miners emit great heat with too much noise, and so ensure to keep them away from home, equipped with cooling capacity or air conditioners so that the machine does not heat up a lot.
- Consumption of power – In spite of the fact that latest ASIC miners are quite energy efficient as compared to that of GPU rigs, they do consume a lot of power, and so wherever the installation is done, ensure to have electrical wiring upgraded to handle the increased load of power.
- Bitcoin mining pool – You can think of joining forces with other ASIC miners in the network by joining a Bitcoin mining pool, wherein you can combine power from your mining rig with that of other ASIC miners in the network, and in return can share rewards for successfully minted blocks. Herein, various parameters come to play such as rewards, criterion, size, and reputation of the mining pool.
- Return on investment – Check whether the ASIC miner you are about to opt for is offering high returns on investment or not considering the ongoing expenses you would be incurring for operating the same.
What to choose – ASIC Mining V/S GPU Mining?
GPU or a graphics processing unit utilize high end graphics cards with the likes of AMD or NVIDIA in order to mine that is significantly cheaper. Whereas Application Specific Integrated ASIC miners are meant specifically to mine cryptocurrencies which means they are way costlier. GPUs come cheap but they are slow and relatively inefficient, whereas ASIC miners are expensive but they are superfast and extremely efficient.
Is It Worthwhile To Invest Into ASIC Miners?
Thanks to an unimaginable surge into the popularity of cryptocurrencies during the course of so many years, allowing ASIC mining to be an absolute booming industry to ride upon. The blockchain fever is here to stay and not dying anytime soon. This led to big shot investors and financial firms getting into ASIC mining by purchasing quite a bunch of ASIC miners to have a mining farm of their own.
Mining cryptocurrencies could be pricey but returns on investment are exceptional if the right kind of ASIC miners are chosen to do the job after doing research. This is why crypto enthusiasts are willing to spend tons on owning ASIC miners. They do accompany environmental hazards to some extent, but there sure is going to be a solution to this in near future.
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