Mining operations are constantly seeking to maintain a high return on their investments. The best baseball teams are those with fast and efficient pitching. The right roster and proper resource management is fundamental for both.
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The Blockchain uses consensus protocols. These protocols create an irrefutable system of agreement between various devices on the blockchain network. This is what allows for the increased security, transparency and application of the blockchain to a wide array of technologies.
These protocols are also used to incentivize miners to allocate resources to one coin or another – depending on the type of machines they are operating and the reward for validating transactions.
Hashpower is a term used to describe the amount of computational power a machine can generate – similar to the speed generated by a professional baseball pitcher when they throw a fastball.
Hashing is the process of taking encrypted data from blockchain transactions and deciphering it into outputs that are readable and recognizable – ‘validating the transaction.’
The Efficient & Fast HashBall
The goal of mining is to validate transactions as efficiently as possible.
This means using the least amount of energy (or throwing the fewest amount of pitches), while still achieving great performance – i.e deciphering encrypted inputs faster than others.
Successful mining is about balancing speed, cost and efficiency in search of a healthy profit.
How The Game Has Changed
With cryptocurrencies experiencing wide scale adoption, the industry has seen new mining operations spring up across the globe.
This has led to increased competition and significantly more complicated computations. As such, miners now require greater hashpower in order to access rewards and remain profitable.
In order to generate this additional hashpower, successful mining operations have had to find low cost energy and hyper-efficient, incredibly fast machines.
Top of The First Inning: The Start of Cryptocurrency Mining
The Starting CPU Amateur
In the old days, you didn’t need a lot of power or speed to mine. The first bitcoin miners used factory standard multi core Central Processing Unit (CPUs). The average Joe, with a few spare computers kicking around, was able to participate in the early crypto movement.
The amateur CPU was the only option for mining at the beginning, but just like an amateur pitcher throwing 30mph in the big leagues, CPU mining only lasted so long.
Bottom of the 5th Inning: Middle Innings
The GPU Relief
With Graphics Processing Unit (GPUs) widely available to those in the gaming world, the application of the GPU towards mining was a natural transition.
The computational requirements to mine were still not too high, and a computer savvy person could easily build a machine with two, four, or even 16 GPUs. This type of speed, flexibility and efficiency provided moderate mining success and a decent return on investment (a 50mph Hashball, with a bit of swerve).
However, this method of mining would rapidly change with the introduction of off field-programmable gate arrays. A fast throwing and efficient pitcher – the first ever ‘closer’ in mining.
Top of the Ninth Inning: Nearing the End of The Game
The FPGA Closer
In 2011, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) were all the rage in the mining community.
FPGAs were able to use significantly less power in order to compute the same tasks as GPUs. On top of that, each FPGA could be modified in order to mine a specific cryptocurrency!
Effectively, these machines were able to throw a 90mph Hashball. So, if you were an average joe recreation team, who had just enough capital, you turned into a big-league team overnight. You reaped the benefits quickly and no one was on your level.
While this was the beginning of larger mining operations, the FTPGAs did not last as long as some thought.
Bottom of the Ninth Inning: The Actual End of the Game
The ASIC Game Changing All-star
Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), were introduced in 2013. They ran SHA-256 algorithms, targeting Bitcoin, and were created to handle incredibly heavy computational workloads.
Where most FPGA rigs required modifications in order to properly mine, ASICs were crafted for a specific mining case – which is why they remain the gold standard even to this day.
ASICs changed the way the game was played. Specifically, how mining operations optimize for efficiency in order to reduce cost.
The rise of ASICs meant that instead of pitching at 90mph, mining machines were now able to pitch at 500mph.
When Bitmain, the leading ASIC producer, first came out with its S1 machine, it was such a massive leap, that anyone who could get their hands on one was guaranteed to have a winning season.
Even to this day, Bitmain has upped its game every year, with the release of the S9 a few years ago, and most recently, the S17.
The S17 is such a jump from previous models in terms of power and efficiency, that operations who have been able to get their hands on them are now running circles around their competition.
The Hashball is the secret weapon of every mining operation. It is about speed, efficiency and reduced cost. Hopefully you have a good roster in your bullpen.