What is an ASIC miner?

Initially the cryptocurrency mining was designed so that everyone could run it from their personal computer. However those days have passed. Nowadays, whether you’re mining Bitcoin, Litecoin, DASH or a lot of other cryptocurrencies. The most effective way to do it is with hardware known as ASIC mining.

It is not a desktop PC or a mining rig with graphics cards, but something completely different. The ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) or Integrated Circuits for Specific Applications, are chips that are designed with a singular purpose, ranging from audio processing, to the management of a mobile phone call. However, in the case of cryptocurrency mining, these chips are integrated into specially designed motherboards and power supplies, built in a single unit. It should be noted that this hardware is designed and developed specifically for mining, even at the processor level.

What a Mini ASIC Really Does

In short, mining is the process of performing complicated calculations in the search for a specific number. Mining hardware, whether it is an ASIC miner or a GPU mining equipment, has to do a lot of calculations before finding that number. In systems that are based on proof of work as Bitcoin, the first to find that number receives a reward, which at the time of writing this article, block reward of 12.5 BTC for mined single block.

However, there are so many people and powerful computer systems that are trying to mine Bitcoin, that almost everyone joins a group of miners (mining pool), to try to find that number. That said, miners tend to earn more if they own the hardware faster. That is why the people, who can acquire them, choose the ASIC miners. Because it gives the greatest opportunity to mine cryptocurrencies in exchange for their investment.

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Each cryptocurrency has its own cryptographic hash algorithm. The ASIC miners are designed to mine using that specific algorithm. The ASIC miners for Bitcoin are actually designed to calculate the SHA-256 hash algorithm. In the case of Litecoin, it is the Scrypt algorithm. That means that technically they could extract any other currency that is based on the same algorithm.Although usually people who buy ASIC hardware with a particular currency in mind, mine only that currency.

Why is an ASIC miner better?

ASIC miners are differentiated from a graphic card or CPU mining system, in that the latter are designed to do more than one thing. They work better than other systems focused on more general use.

When it comes to mining cryptocurrencies, what really matters is that the profit obtained by the cryptocurrencies that you mine, is greater than what you spend on hardware and electricity. Those margins may be closer than you think, because cryptocurrency mining can be a costly endeavor. The hardware can be expensive and some of them can represent expenses of hundreds of dollars a year for electricity to operate.

Therefore, when it comes to the mining hardware that you are going to choose, it is extremely important to choose systems that are more efficient and that is where the ASIC miners involved. As they are designed from the beginning to perform the calculations required by a cryptographic hash algorithm. Used by a specific cryptocurrency or a set of cryptocurrencies, and they are incredibly efficient at doing so. Generally, they are usually very powerful, offering a high rate of hash, as well as energy efficient, using much less energy than would consume a more general-purpose hardware equipment to perform the same task.

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This combination of performance and low power consumption makes its operation much cheaper than that of hardware for general use. That is why in the case of Bitcoin and Litecoin, ASIC mining is almost the only way for someone to extract those cryptocurrencies. If the new ASIC miner for Ethereum turns out to be equally successful, the same case could soon be given for this popular cryptocurrency.

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