Category Archives: GPU Mining

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Crypto Miners Look to Norway and Sweden for Energy Savings

Cryptocurrency miners are reportedly looking to move their operations to Norway and Sweden, with hydroelectricity and other renewables from more developed European countries allowing for cheaper electricity tariff’s beneficial to profits as electricity is the main overhead. Iceland has been a popular location due to the low temperatures which naturally dissipate the heat that is generated.

What is mining?

Cryptocurrency mining consists of two main processes. Verifying and adding transactions to a block in a blockchain, and solving highly complex cryptographic puzzles with a ‘Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm. In a typical PoW blockchain such as Bitcoin, the first of competing hardware to find the solution is rewarded with cryptocurrency. As more miners join the network, growing computational power results in an increasing solving difficulty, requiring more powerful, energy-intensive hardware to mine currencies.

Problems associated with large-scale IT solutions

As with any large IT solution, mining can be energy intensive and has large power requirements. The local power grid needs to be able to cope with the peaks and troughs of the total energy draw in the area. Local powerline infrastructure also needs to be able to cope with heavy loads of power on the lines.

Vast amounts of heat are generated due to resistance in current computer components as they are made of copper. In order to improve the shelf life of the components, cooling is required. Cooling will come in the form of fans or air conditioning, which again requires more power.

With general power needs growing for an expanding population, there is a need to continue to develop more efficient production and distribution methods. Bitcoin mining is an expanding area as well. As per Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, Bitcoin’s current estimated energy consumption is already at 60.24 TWh.

Green power solutions for miners

Currently, China contributes to around 70% of cryptocurrency mining due to its relatively cheap electricity. Growing pollution concerns from coal-fired power have resulted in legislation being introduced to restrict mining in cities such as Beijing. This has led to miners seeking out new locations to set up operations.

In Norway, hydropower contributes to more than 99% of electricity, while Sweden uses a combination of hydropower/nuclear at a 40/40 split.

Both Norway and Sweden have encouraged their countries to welcome cryptocurrency mining. It makes commercial sense, as energy providers will be attracted to the consistent power draw of mining operations that tend to run round the clock. Cheaper renewable power, cooler climates that aid cooling requirements and friendlier crypto legislation in these countries are proving enticing to mining companies.

Future power requirements

If the growth in cryptocurrency energy consumption continues at current rates, it will quickly become unsustainable. Credit Suisse estimates that if Bitcoin’s price were to reach USD 50,000, we would see an increase in the electricity consumption by ten times. With a wider adoption of blockchain among our other growing energy requirements, we will need to take steps towards greener energy solutions.

Rising mining power requirements could stimulate more growth in renewables as more portable variations are quicker to set up compared with nuclear alternatives. Localized renewable power solutions also require less infrastructure compared with nuclear, which often needs to be situated near a water source.

The power requirements of mining have the ability to have a knock-on effect on other markets. Higher demand for renewables will create more jobs and competitive markets lead to innovation.

 

The post Crypto Miners Look to Norway and Sweden for Energy Savings appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Ethereum Markets React to Rumored ASIC Miners

Rumors surrounding a new Ethereum mining rig from leading mining hardware provider Bitmain have resulted inEthereum prices dropping below a one-week high of USD 585. Ethereum isn’t the only blockchain network wary of new Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) mining tech, with Monero already set to resist ASIC mining earlier this week.

Rumors with substance

The stories sparked up when CNBC reported a statement Susquehanna analyst Christopher Rolland had written to clients:

“During our travels through Asia last week, we confirmed that Bitmain has already developed an ASIC [application-specific integrated circuit] for mining Ethereum, and is readying the supply chain for shipments in 2Q18. While Bitmain is likely to be the largest ASIC vendor (currently 70-80% of Bitcoin mining ASICs) and the first to market with this product, we have learned of at least three other companies working on Ethereum ASICs, all at various stages of development.”

Traditionally, Ethereum has been mined using GPUs, but the new ASIC from Bitmain would result in even higher entry barriers for the casual miner. The most devoted of crypto enthusiasts see this as an antithesis to the blockchain ideology; ASIC mining rigs are often at the centre of controversies and are far more expensive than the GPUs used primarily by gamers, outclassing them in mining power.

Cause for controversy

While ASIC chips have been Bitmain’s powerhouses for mining Bitcoin and Bitmain’s mining pools account for significant portions of all the processing power on the global Bitcoin network, they are still finding themselves coming up against a great deal of resistance.

The shakeup comes down to the technology creating such high barriers that lead down a road of centralization. On top of that, GPU mining competition could be threatened by the new hardware, potentially causing GPUs to become obsolete, forcing miners to move to other newer cryptocurrencies despite the fact that GPU mining has proven profitable for Ethereum miners so far.

Even Monero appears to be taking on Bitmain. Earlier in the month, Bitmain announced the latest rollout of purpose-built Monero mining rigs, the Antminer X3. This, according to a post made by Monero, opens plenty of issues for the network and does not fit with its network ethos.

It is not clear what the ASIC boom will bring to the competition of the global mining arena, but the contentious tech could spell an end for GPU cryptocurrency mining and perhaps the majority Ethereum GPU mining.

 

 

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