ASIC Mining: Relevant? Profitable? How`s it Going in 2018

The future of mining of many leading cryptocurrencies is rather uncertain in the long term. As the number of Bitcoin users increases and as more coins are produced, mining becomes more complex and expensive. In addition, Bitcoin’s architecture provides a gradual reduction in the reward for each generated block. Ten years ago miners received 50 Bitcoins per one block, but as every new 210,000 blocks (approximately every 4 years) appear, this amount is reduced in half. Mining is also affected by electricity prices, as it requires a lot of energy, and the cryptocurrency market conditions in general.

What`s ASIC and what problems does it solve?

As the complexity of Bitcoin blocks generation increased, it became no longer profitable to mine this virtual currency using graphic cards (GPU-mining) or processors (CPU-mining). More processing power was required to make calculations, so the first equipment, specially designed for Bitcoin mining appeared in China around 2012. These were ASIC-miners. ASIC stands for “application-specific integrated circuit”. In fact this technology was invented long before cryptocurrency market, back in the early 1980s. At that time the British company Sinclair Research installed ASIC on personal computers to advance their graphic performance.

ASIC is a chip that performs a strictly defined type of work. That’s why it does its job better and faster than other chips that are responsible for solving multiple tasks. So, in our case, ASIC miners can calculate algorithms of particular cryptocurrencies blockchain much faster and much more efficient than graphic cards or processors, involved in many other activities. Currently it is no longer profitable or even possible to mine some digital currencies (first of all BTC) in any other way except ASIC. ASIC miners solve the problem of processing power lack, but here’s more to come. They also help reduce power consumption – the second major problem of cryptocurrency mining. One graphic card is usually not enough to ensure really profitable mining so miners need many of them which means they also have to pay a lot for electricity. ASIC miners can advance this process – they take less space, reduce electricity costs and increase processing power.

ASIC miners are blocks that include a frame, a cooler, an ASIC chip, a memory block, and connectors for external devices.

What to mine using ASIC-miners?

ASIC-miners were initially designed to mine Bitcoin and still are first of all associated with this virtual currency. However, later special equipment appeared that was able to calculate algorithms of other cryptocurrencies. Today users can mine a number of coins using ASIC-miners, for example:

  • Bitcoin Cash, BitcoinDark, Namecoin (SHA-256 algorithm)
  • Dash ( X11 algorithm)
  • Ethereum, Ethereum Classic (Ethash algorithm)
  • Litecoin, Dogecoin (Scrypt algorithm)
  • Zcash (Equihash algorithm)

At the same time, some cryptocurrencies (for example Ethereum) can also be mined using graphic cards.

So, is it profitable?

Well, it’s not possible to calculate a general profitability rate of ASIC-miners, as it depends on a type of a device, cryptocurrency that is mined, electricity costs, etc. Rates of virtual currencies are rather volatile and unstable, which means that today it can take for example 6 month to get a payback of a couple thousand dollars spent on equipment purchase and related costs, while tomorrow one might waite for 1.5 years or more. One way or another, the “mining euphoria” is decreasing, and already in 2017 – the golden year for cryptocurrency industry – some began to talk about twilight times for mining. Today those who want to join ASIC mining have to make considerable investments which is basically too expensive for many users. Yes, there are still some Bitcoins to mine and other cryptocurrencies are also quite interesting. Indeed, mining is no longer the same as it used to be, but it’s not over yet. Anyway, before going down into a cryptocurrency mine and start extracting digital coins, you’d better consider if it’s easier and cheaper just to purchase some.

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Bitcoin Mining: How Are the Most Popular Coins Mined Today?

How to mine BTС today?

Quite a lot of people really managed to make a fortune out of Bitcoin mining. And many still manage to do so today. In this article, The Coin Shark will tell what mining is, how the most popular cryptocurrency is mined today, when the latest Bitcoin will be mined, what are the prospects of the digital currency mining industry and other things that every crypto-enthusiast is interested in.

Content:
(please, click the topic to scroll down to it)

  1. What is mining?
  2. How is Bitcoin mined?
  3. How many Bitcoins can be mined and what’s the time period for that?
  4. Types of Bitcoin mining
  5. Prospects of Bitcoin mining
  6. Conclusion 

1. What is mining?

Today, even those who are not really familiar with cryptocurrencies have definitely heard something about mining. However, it is not always clear what it actually is.

Mining is a computing operation. In fact, this is a kind of an attempt to solve a complex mathematical problem. The particular “X” that must be found as the result of the calculations is called a hash. If it is successfully found a new block is generated in the cryptocurrency blockchain. A block is a structural unit where the information about cryptocurrency transactions is recorded. It is sometimes not that easy to get all those terms, so let`s take a look at a rather simple example: a block is a kind of a banknote. Any banknote is a legal tender only if it looks in a certain way. It has a special design, watermarks, other security features, particular density, etc. Each banknote must meet certain specified parameters, otherwise, you will not manage to buy something for it and it will be just a piece of paper. The same thing with cryptocurrencies! Transactions are confirmed by being recorded into the blocks, and the blocks must be valid, must have a particular form. To meet this form, to generate a valid block, a hash with required parameters should be found as the result of computing operations. And that is exactly what miners are responsible for!

2. How is Bitcoin mined?

Bitcoin is a Proof-of-Work algorithm-based digital currency, that is why BTC is mineable. Proof of work actually means that transactions are confirmed, and the blocks are generated only if a certain work is done – new coins are issued only when one has managed to find the hash and create a new valid block. Every new block is generated approximately once every ten minutes. The Bitcoin code is written in such a way that, depending on the computing power in the network, the difficulty of the hash varies. In other words, the more powerful the miners are, the more difficult it is for them to find the hash. That is how the system maintains the balance between the available computing power and the complexity of the calculations. It does not matter whether only several personal computers are engaged in Bitcoin mining (as it was in 2009) or huge industrial mining farms (as it is happening today) – it will always take approximately ten minutes to generate every new block.

So, when miners do their calculations successfully and manage to find the hash, they are rewarded. This reward used to be as huge as 50 BTC. However, back then the number of coins was not actually a significant fortune. According to the Bitcoin code, this reward decreases by half every 210 thousand blocks. Since each block of Bitcoin is generated in about 10 minutes, it takes about four years to get 210 thousand blocks. So, every four years the reward is reduced by half. In 2012, there was the first reduction from 50 BTC to 25. The next reduction took place in 2016. Today miners get 12.5 Bitcoins for each generated block.

3. How many Bitcoins can be mined and what’s the time period for that?

It is only possible to mine a total of 21 million BTC. This maximum amount of cryptocurrency is provided by its programming code. First of all, this limitation is designed to prevent inflation and preserve the value of Bitcoin. Actually, those things are usually valuable, that have a limited supply, and if Bitcoin had an unlimited emission, like Ethereum and some other virtual currencies, it would have been potentially subject to inflation. As of mid-October 2018, according to coinmarketcap, the number of BTC coins in circulation reached 17,332,325, which means that only a bit more than 3.5 million coins remain to be mined. It would seem not a big deal – almost all Bitcoins have already been mined! But truth is, it will take more than a century to mine the remaining coins!

So, let’s see how long will it take for miners to get all Bitcoins. To calculate this, we should make several mathematical operations. Of course, these operations are not as complicated as those required to find Bitcoin hash. The computing power of your calculator will be enough! So that is what we have:

The reward is reduced by half every 210 thousand blocks (approximately once every four years). Accordingly, the number of coins issued will decrease every four years. So, 10.5 million BTC was issued during the first “four-year cycle”, when the reward for each block was 50 BTC. Then the number of coins is reduced by half with each cycle. According to this formula, the very last BTC will be mined about the year 2140! Interestingly, in the first seven “four-year cycles”, miners will extract 99% of the coins, and it will take more than a century to get the remaining 1%.

4. Types of Bitcoin mining

About ten years ago, when the first peer-to-peer decentralized payment system with a cryptographically protected digital cash (yep, it’s all about Bitcoin) was launched, there was only one, or perhaps several miners, in the network. Probably it was an ordinary PC or laptop owned by Satoshi Nakamoto – the mysterious Bitcoin developer – and maybe some other PCs owned by those involved in the development of Bitcoin. So initially users were able to mine Bitcoin using their own devices. The computing power of their processors was enough to perform necessary calculations and find Bitcoin hash. This type of mining was called CPU-mining. However, with the growing popularity of Bitcoin, more and more people joined the system, the load and difficulty increased, and eventually, it became clear that even the most powerful PC had not enough power to mine Bitcoin effectively. A casual user with his laptop was left behind. And the reason is that a probability of getting a reward is equal to the ratio of your individual computing power to the power of the entire network. So a new solution was found – users started mining Bitcoins using the computing power of video cards. That new type of mining was called GPU-mining. Several video cards were connected to a computer and the entire powerful device used special software to mine BTC. Today, a number of cryptocurrencies can still be mined using processors or video cards, but this is not working out with Bitcoin. To be able to find Bitcoin has users should make really complex calculations and special high-performance devices are required. These are ASIC-miners – a special equipment with high computing power and price.

Today users who have special equipment for BTC mining combine their computing power in special mining pools. Pools are groups of miners who use their computing power together and jointly perform the operations necessary to obtain Bitcoin hash. The probability of getting a reward is much higher than if users mine the cryptocurrency solely. This reward is then distributed in proportion to the computing power “invested” by each individual miner.

Moreover, cloud mining is also relatively popular. This, in fact, means that a user simply rents computing power from owners of large mining farms, who are often the manufacturers of mining equipment. Despite the fact that today this type of mining is gradually becoming less attractive, it still has its advantages – users do not need to buy equipment, place it, set up, maintain its operation, update hardware, pay for electricity, etc.

5. Prospects of Bitcoin mining

Many believe that the mining era is almost over and there are some reasons for this. After all, as we have already figured out, even the cryptocurrency code itself provides a reduction of the reward. If Bitcoin rate does not increase significantly, nobody will be interested in running expensive mining equipment and earning a couple of thousand satoshi (1 satoshi is 0.00000001 BTC).

Today mining is a fairly centralized industry with and it is rather difficult for beginners to join it. Especially for those who do not have a lot of money. Even owners of huge industrial mining farms experience some problems. For example, some of them realize that the equipment they used in 2017 cannot provide the same profitability in 2018. Today BTC mining is largely controlled by mining pools one hand and owners of huge industrial mining farms on the other and this tendency for mining to become more centralized is likely here to stay.

6. Conclusion

So, Bitcoin mining is not a “gold rush” anymore. The increased difficulty made it way more centralized and way less available for casual users. Today, mining still provides big profit for those who own huge mining farms or at least some high-performance equipment. The Bitcoin rate is far from the historical maximum, but nevertheless, it remains quite significant, and most importantly, according to many experts, has prospects for an even greater increase. However, today it is practically impossible to make money on mining without big preliminary investments. Mining prospects depend on the rate of cryptocurrency, and on the other hand, are also predetermined by the Bitcoin programming code itself. However, this predetermination can be defined differently. Yes, the reward is reduced every four years, so mining can become less appealing in the future. But this reduction can be compensated if Bitcoin price increases. Anyway, today many crypto enthusiasts consider other mining options. Sometimes it is easier to mine other coins, and then, if desired, exchange them for Bitcoin. One thing is clear – the mining industry has been changing, and the time will tell,  what will happen to it in the medium term.

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BTCC Opens Its HQ in South Korea

BTCC Opens Its HQ in South Korea (alien, space)

Crypto exchange BTCC decided to expand its services worldwide, launching its business in South Korea. The platform will set a beta-version on October 31 this year, and the debut appointed in November.

The exchange stated that it will provide not only the trading, buying/selling services, but also a possibility to create own a wallet, a mining pool and a consumer payments service. There is still no information about the coins listed on exchange.

A person, called Lee Jae-beom, will be a head of BTCC’s operations in Korea. He claimed that BTCC Korea planed to demonstrate a new vision of cryptocurrencies.

BTCC is a Chinese cryptocurrency exchange which was formerly expelled from mainland China due to inconsistency with the rules. Then it was moved to Hong Kong, where it support trading of five cryptocurrencies. We remind you

Bitcoin Is in Danger: Chinese Hegemony Over the Industry

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Dollar-Pegged Stablecoins Exceeded the Price Point of $1

Stablecoins (cosmonaut)

Although the main feature of stablecoins should be their unchanged price (namely, 1 unit of the currency they are backed up by), it seems like cryptocurrency is just not meant to stay stable.

Here is the chart of how much the major US-tied stablecoins are currently worth:


Source: CoinDesk

As we can see, all of the stablecoins went up the actual 1-dollar price limit, only Tether dropped a little bit.

Given the fact, that stablecoins are influenced by many factors, including volume in circulation, it seems like they will never be able to be fixed at one particular price. Thus, Roger Ver was right in his assumptions.  

We remind you:

Roger Ver: Stablecoins Aren’t Stable

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Cryptocurrency Prices Today, October 17: Cryptocurrencies Are Relatively Stable

Cryptocurrency Prices Today (pumpkin)

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Cardano, Stellar, IOTA, Dash, Monero: Cryptocurrency prices

According to the Coin360 online platform, Bitcoin (BTC) lost 0.71% over the past 24 hours. The price at the time of writing is $6580 per coin.

Cryptocurrencies stay both in the red and green zones:

Bitcoin Cash lost 1.59% over the past 24 hours and costs $455 per coin;

Ripple added 3.68% and is $0.47 in price;

EOS lost 0.54%, and its cost is $5.43;

Litecoin dropped by 2.43%, and its price is $53;

Cardano added 0.83%, and its value is $0.076;

Stellar grew by 2.93% and costs $0.23;

IOTA lost 0.48%, and its cost is $0.50;

Dash fell by 0.84%, and its price is $163;

Monero decreased by 1% and costs $106.

Over the past 24 hours, Ethereum lost 0.57%. The cost of the coin is $209.

The total market capitalization is $212 billion. Bitcoin accounts for 53.7% of the total. In monetary terms, it is $114 billion.

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BitPay Has Added Two Stablecoins to the Listing

The service, which provides payment processing services for Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, BitPay reported on its official Twitter that it now supports USDBin Coin (USDC), which was created by the blockchain-based startup company Circle and Gemini Dollar (GUSD) launched by the Winklevoss brothers.

The value of each of these coins is pegged to the value of the US dollar at a 1:1 ratio, so there’s no risk of value change or price volatility for holders. Holders can redeem these “stable coins” directly for US dollars via Gemini (for GUSD) or Circle (for USDC) exchange accounts,” said BitPay representatives in their blog.

We remind you that on September 15, OKEx added four stablecoin to its listing: TrueUSD (TUSD), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), USD Coin (USDC) and Paxos Standard Token (PAX).

OKEx Adds 4 Stablebcoins To Its Listing

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A Church in Russia Was Mining Crypto Illegally

A protestant church in Siberia was accused of illegitimate cryptocurrency mining which resulted in the huge volume of electricity consumption. The church was fined by the court and forced to pay over 1 million roubles (around 16.5 thousand dollars).

The church “Grace” received electricity at a subsidized price and used the excess power for mining. The illegal activities continued from May to August of 2018.

Despite all the evidence that the police have, the church representatives deny all the accusations and claim that such an amount of electricity was required to heat the building of the church and print out religious hand-out materials.

We remind you:

Google Chrome Will Launch Extensions for Protection from Illegitimate Mining and Cryptocurrency Theft

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