The days of mining Bitcoin from home computers are long gone. Today if you want to mine top cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Litecoin, you need highly-efficient mining hardware. In the early days of Bitcoin mining, the crypto enthusiasts were able to mine Bitcoin with the help of their computer CPU. But with the rising popularity of Bitcoin and other digital coins, the mining difficulty increased. Given the increasing difficulty of solving a hash, more efficient hardware- GPU was released in 2010.
As you might already know, mining is the process by which transactions are verified and added to the public ledger, known as the blockchain. It is through this mining process that new bitcoins are released. And as a reward of solving complex mining algorithms, the crypto miner receives a reward in cryptocurrency.
To participate in crypto mining, you need high-speed internet connectivity, mining software, and powerful hardware. The cryptocurrencies use a unique PoW algorithm like the hashing algorithm of Bitcoin is SHA-256 and Ethereum’s PoW algorithm is known as Ethash. Due to the rising mining difficulty and hash rate, the need for more powerful mining hardware was felt. And this resulted in the introduction of ASIC mining chips. Now you may wonder what ASIC is and why it’s creating a buzz in the crypto world. So, let’s find out what ASIC miner is and why it is better than other mining hardware.
What Is An ASIC?
An application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miner is hardware designed for the sole purpose of mining cryptocurrency. The first ASIC miner was sold in the year 2013 and since then these powerful computer chips are disrupting the crypto space. Typically, ASIC miners are constructed to mine a specific digital currency. Earlier, there were ASIC miners that were designed only to mine Bitcoin but now ASIC miners have been developed for several other coins also, such as Dash and Litecoin.
The application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) are built into specifically-designed motherboards and power supplies, constructed into a single unit. Here the term “Application Specific” implies that the chip is engineered for a specific purpose. The ASIC mining devices are quite similar to the microprocessor and random access memory (RAM) chips in your computer. However, ASICs are more efficient than CPU, GPU and FPGAs because it is designed specifically for one task- mining Bitcoin. The Bitcoin ASIC miners are designed solely to maintain the Bitcoin blockchain or other SHA-256 algorithm coins.
A number of ASIC miners are available these days but not all are equally efficient. Several manufacturers are producing their own ASIC chips and one of the leading mining hardware manufacturers is Bitmain which is known for its powerful AntMiner series.
Why ASIC miners are better?
Mining cryptocurrency can be expensive because it needs hardware and can cost thousands of dollars a year in electricity. To earn profit in mining, it’s necessary that the amount you spend on hardware and electricity is less than the worth of crypto you mine. To maximize your return on investment, you need efficient mining hardware and that’s where ASIC miners come in.
ASIC miners are better than their counterparts because these are designed specifically for mining. The ASICs usually consist of a board with a set of microcircuits, power supply, memory block, fans, and connector. When GPUs became unprofitable, the first ASIC miner was introduced in 2013 which used Blade Block Erupter boards with a 10 GHz/s hashrate at a power consumption of 100 watts. The ASIC miners are designed to efficiently perform the calculations required by a specific cryptographic hash algorithm. As the most powerful hardware, ASICs offer a high “hashrate” and are energy efficient to use far less power. ASICs offer a perfect combination of performance and low-power usage. These two features make ASIC hardware an economical solution for long-run mining operations.
As compared to their CPU and GPU counterparts, ASICs consume much less power per hash. Moreover, setting a GPU rig can be more expensive than purchasing an ASIC miner. Setting up an ASIC is simpler as you only need a power supply. ASIC miners are also better for blockchain and safer for mining. The incidences of hacking and cyber attacks are on the rise but ASICs helps in avoiding such attacks. ASIC enabled cryptocurrency is also protected against botnets and they keep hash power with those who have a vested interest in the currency.
As a complicated process of solving complex problems, miners need hardware that can run through many calculations before finding a specific number that will “solve” the hash function. Given the rising popularity of mining activity, crypto miners are looking to earn more profit with faster and more efficient hardware. This is ASIC miners offer a complete package. So, now if you’re planning to invest in one of these powerful mining units, make sure to consider its power (hashrate), which is usually expressed in Th/s.