FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) vs ASIC Crypto Mining ...

How are FPGAs used in trading?

A field-programmable gate array (FPGA) is a chip that can be programmed to suit whatever purpose you want, as often as you want it and wherever you need it. FPGAs provide multiple advantages, including low latency, high throughput and energy efficiency.
To fully understand what FPGAs offer, imagine a performance spectrum. At one end, you have the central processing unit (CPU), which offers a generic set of instructions that can be combined to carry out an array of different tasks. This makes a CPU extremely flexible, and its behaviour can be defined through software. However, CPUs are also slow because they have to select from the available generic instructions to complete each task. In a sense, they’re a “jack of all trades, but a master of none”.
At the other end of the spectrum sit application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). These are potentially much faster because they have been built with a single task in mind, making them a “master of one trade”. This is the kind of chip people use to mine bitcoin, for example. The downside of ASICs is that they can’t be changed, and they cost time and money to develop. FPGAs offer a perfect middle ground: they can be significantly faster than a CPU and are more flexible than ASICs.
FPGAs contain thousands, sometimes even millions, of so-called core logic blocks (CLBs). These blocks can be configured and combined to process any task that can be solved by a CPU. Compared with a CPU, FPGAs aren’t burdened by surplus hardware that would otherwise slow you down. They can therefore be used to carry out specific tasks quickly and effectively, and can even process several tasks simultaneously. These characteristics make them popular across a wide range of sectors, from aerospace to medical engineering and security systems, and of course finance.
How are FPGAs used in the financial services sector?
Speed and versatility are particularly important when buying or selling stocks and other securities. In the era of electronic trading, decisions are made in the blink of an eye. As prices change and orders come and go, companies are fed new information from exchanges and other sources via high-speed networks. This information arrives at high speeds, with time measured in nanoseconds. The sheer volume and speed of data demands a high bandwidth to process it all. Specialized trading algorithms make use of the new information in order to make trades. FPGAs provide the perfect platform to develop these applications, as they allow you to bypass non-essential software as well as generic-purpose hardware.
How do market makers use FPGAs to provide liquidity?
As a market maker, IMC provides liquidity to buyers and sellers of financial instruments. This requires us to price every instrument we trade and to react to the market accordingly. Valuation is a view on what the price of an asset should be, which is handled by our traders and our automated pricing algorithms. When a counterpart wants to buy or sell an asset on a trading venue, our role is to always be there and offer, or bid, a fair price for the asset. FPGAs enable us to perform this key function in the most efficient way possible.
At IMC, we keep a close eye on emerging technologies that can potentially improve our business. We began working with FPGAs more than a decade ago and are constantly exploring ways to develop this evolving technology. We work in a competitive industry, so our engineers have to be on their toes to make sure we’re continuously improving.
What does an FPGA engineer do?
Being an FPGA engineer is all about learning and identifying new solutions to challenges as they arise. A software developer can write code in a software language and know within seconds whether it works, and so deploy it quickly. However, the code will have to go through several abstraction layers and generic hardware components. Although you can deploy the code quickly, you do not get the fastest possible outcome.
As an FPGA engineer, it may take two to three hours of compilation time before you know whether your adjustment will result in the outcome you want. However, you can increase performance at the cost of more engineering time. The day-to-day challenge you face is how to make the process as efficient as possible with the given trade-offs while pushing the boundaries of the FPGA technology.
Skills needed to be an FPGA engineer
Things change extremely rapidly in the trading world, and agility is the name of the game. Unsurprisingly, FPGA engineers tend to enjoy a challenge. To work as an FGPA engineer at a company like IMC, you have to be a great problem-solver, a quick learner and highly adaptable.
What makes IMC a great fit for an FPGA engineer?
IMC offers a great team dynamic. We are a smaller company than many larger technology or finance houses, and we operate very much like a family unit. This means that, as a graduate engineer, you’ll never be far from the action, and you’ll be able to make an impact from day one.
Another key difference is that you’ll get to see the final outcome of your work. If you come up with an idea, we’ll give you the chance to make it work. If it does, you’ll see the results put into practice in a matter of days, which is always a great feeling. If it doesn’t, you’ll get to find out why – so there’s an opportunity to learn and improve for next time.
Ultimately, working at IMC is about having skin in the game. You’ll be entrusted with making your own decisions. And you’ll be working side by side with super smart people who are open-minded and always interested in hearing your ideas. Market making is a technology-dependent process, and we’re all in this together.
Think you have what it takes to make a difference at a technology graduate at IMC? Check out our graduate opportunities page.
submitted by IMC_Trading to u/IMC_Trading [link] [comments]

What is Cryptocurrency Mining?

There are various ways of gaining cryptocurrencies and one major way is through cryptocurrency mining. So, Cryptofactsbc will help you understand what is cryptocurrency Mining and how to mine these cryptos. There is nothing to worry about because we will give you everything you need to know about cryptocurrency mining and suggest some steps to follow if you want to mine cryptocurrencies. Let us dig into our topic for the day, What is cryptocurrency Mining?

Understanding Mining

When we take Gold Mining for example miners go into pits to dig for Gold, others use machines one the surface on the lands to detect possible places where Gold will be located.. They find and wash the gold and refine it and get it ready to be sold. That is how Gold mining is done in the real world but when we come to the crypto world it is slightly different. For our fiat currency, the government decides the quantity to be printed and when to print and circulate them because it is centralised.

Cryptocurrency Mining

Cryptocurrency Mining is the process where by verified transactions are added to a ledger which is known as Blockchain. Crypto coins are decentralized therefore no authority or government persons can order for the circulation of cryptos. Mining Cryptocoins is an arms race that rewards early adopters. Anyone can participate in mining provided they have the necessary materials to start.
I am pretty sure you have heard pf Bitcoins, the first decentralised cryptocurrency that was released in early 2009. Similar digital currencies have crept into the world-wide market since then, including a spin-off from Bitcoin called Bitcoin Cash. You can get in on the cryptocurrency rush if you take the time to learn the basics properly.

Methods of Cryptocurrency Mining

There are various ways of mining and we will look a few methods; Cloud Mining Basically these are some of the cryptocurrencies that can be mined, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Thether, Bitcoin Cash and others. The main cryptocurrency we will talk about it’s mining is Bitcoin. Cloud Mining is process whereby miners pay money to rent some hardware from a host company. A company owns bitcoin hardware and then gives them out on rent so miners in-turn rent part of these bitcoin hardware and utilize them remotely.

CPU Mining

The use of Central Processing Unit of your computer, which is the brain of your computer was the very first method people adopted for mining bitcoins when bitcoins were first launched in the year 2009. Back then the mining difficulty was very low so just your CPU could help your gain some huge fractions of Bitcoins. But as stuff were advancing the mining difficulty increase and became higher so people started to look for something better and higher than a normal CPU.

GPU Mining

When technology was advancing, Graphics Processing Units were created. They are programmable electronic chip or circuit that helps the computer to solve complex problems. Most Especially for gamer to be to install games with high graphics requirements on the computer. GPU become very popular therefore people began to use them to mine for bitcoins and amazingly the mining power of 1 GPU equals about 30 CPUs. So, in order for you to gain higher fractions of bitcoins as mine you need to upgrade whiles the system also advances.

FPGA Mining

Another invention came into the system to out smart the GPU mining which was the FPGA. It is an integrated circuit that also helps the computer to carry out a set of calculations. It is almost 10- 100 times better and faster than GPU mining.

ASIC Mining

The full meaning of ASIC is Application Specific Integrated Circuit and it was a breed of miner that was introduced in the year 2019. The sole purpose of this ASIC was to mine bitcoins so you can imagine how fast it would be.
submitted by cryptofactsbc to u/cryptofactsbc [link] [comments]

Transcript of discussion between an ASIC designer and several proof-of-work designers from #monero-pow channel on Freenode this morning

[08:07:01] lukminer contains precompiled cn/r math sequences for some blocks: https://lukminer.org/2019/03/09/oh-kay-v4r-here-we-come/
[08:07:11] try that with RandomX :P
[08:09:00] tevador: are you ready for some RandomX feedback? it looks like the CNv4 is slowly stabilizing, hashrate comes down...
[08:09:07] how does it even make sense to precompile it?
[08:09:14] mine 1% faster for 2 minutes?
[08:09:35] naturally we think the entire asic-resistance strategy is doomed to fail :) but that's a high-level thing, who knows. people may think it's great.
[08:09:49] about RandomX: looks like the cache size was chosen to make it GPU-hard
[08:09:56] looking forward to more docs
[08:11:38] after initial skimming, I would think it's possible to make a 10x asic for RandomX. But at least for us, we will only make an ASIC if there is not a total ASIC hostility there in the first place. That's better for the secret miners then.
[08:13:12] What I propose is this: we are working on an Ethash ASIC right now, and once we have that working, we would invite tevador or whoever wants to come to HK/Shenzhen and we walk you guys through how we would make a RandomX ASIC. You can then process this input in any way you like. Something like that.
[08:13:49] unless asics (or other accelerators) re-emerge on XMR faster than expected, it looks like there is a little bit of time before RandomX rollout
[08:14:22] 10x in what measure? $/hash or watt/hash?
[08:14:46] watt/hash
[08:15:19] so you can make 10 times more efficient double precisio FPU?
[08:16:02] like I said let's try to be productive. You are having me here, let's work together!
[08:16:15] continue with RandomX, publish more docs. that's always helpful.
[08:16:37] I'm trying to understand how it's possible at all. Why AMD/Intel are so inefficient at running FP calculations?
[08:18:05] midipoet ([email protected]/web/irccloud.com/x-vszshqqxwybvtsjm) has joined #monero-pow
[08:18:17] hardware development works the other way round. We start with 1) math then 2) optimization priority 3) hw/sw boundary 4) IP selection 5) physical implementation
[08:22:32] This still doesn't explain at which point you get 10x
[08:23:07] Weren't you the ones claiming "We can accelerate ProgPoW by a factor of 3x to 8x." ? I find it hard to believe too.
[08:30:20] sure
[08:30:26] so my idea: first we finish our current chip
[08:30:35] from simulation to silicon :)
[08:30:40] we love this stuff... we do it anyway
[08:30:59] now we have a communication channel, and we don't call each other names immediately anymore: big progress!
[08:31:06] you know, we russians have a saying "it was smooth on paper, but they forgot about ravines"
[08:31:12] So I need a bit more details
[08:31:16] ha ha. good!
[08:31:31] that's why I want to avoid to just make claims
[08:31:34] let's work
[08:31:40] RandomX comes in Sep/Oct, right?
[08:31:45] Maybe
[08:32:20] We need to audit it first
[08:32:31] ok
[08:32:59] we don't make chips to prove sw devs that their assumptions about hardware are wrong. especially not if these guys then promptly hardfork and move to the next wrong assumption :)
[08:33:10] from the outside, this only means that hw & sw are devaluing each other
[08:33:24] neither of us should do this
[08:33:47] we are making chips that can hopefully accelerate more crypto ops in the future
[08:33:52] signing, verifying, proving, etc.
[08:34:02] PoW is just a feature like others
[08:34:18] sech1: is it easy for you to come to Hong Kong? (visa-wise)
[08:34:20] or difficult?
[08:34:33] or are you there sometimes?
[08:34:41] It's kind of far away
[08:35:13] we are looking forward to more RandomX docs. that's the first step.
[08:35:31] I want to avoid that we have some meme "Linzhi says they can accelerate XYZ by factor x" .... "ha ha ha"
[08:35:37] right? we don't want that :)
[08:35:39] doc is almost finished
[08:35:40] What docs do you need? It's described pretty good
[08:35:41] so I better say nothing now
[08:35:50] we focus on our Ethash chip
[08:36:05] then based on that, we are happy to walk interested people through the design and what else it can do
[08:36:22] that's a better approach from my view than making claims that are laughed away (rightfully so, because no silicon...)
[08:36:37] ethash ASIC is basically a glorified memory controller
[08:36:39] sech1: tevador said something more is coming (he just did it again)
[08:37:03] yes, some parts of RandomX are not described well
[08:37:10] like dataset access logic
[08:37:37] RandomX looks like progpow for CPU
[08:37:54] yes
[08:38:03] it is designed to reflect CPU
[08:38:34] so any ASIC for it = CPU in essence
[08:39:04] of course there are still some things in regular CPU that can be thrown away for RandomX
[08:40:20] uncore parts are not used, but those will use very little power
[08:40:37] except for memory controller
[08:41:09] I'm just surprised sometimes, ok? let me ask: have you designed or taped out an asic before? isn't it risky to make assumptions about things that are largely unknown?
[08:41:23] I would worry
[08:41:31] that I get something wrong...
[08:41:44] but I also worry like crazy that CNv4 will blow up, where you guys seem to be relaxed
[08:42:06] I didn't want to bring up anything RandomX because CNv4 is such a nailbiter... :)
[08:42:15] how do you guys know you don't have asics in a week or two?
[08:42:38] we don't have experience with ASIC design, but RandomX is simply designed to exactly fit CPU capabilities, which is the best you can do anyways
[08:43:09] similar as ProgPoW did with GPUs
[08:43:14] some people say they want to do asic-resistance only until the vast majority of coins has been issued
[08:43:21] that's at least reasonable
[08:43:43] yeah but progpow totally will not work as advertised :)
[08:44:08] yeah, I've seen that comment about progpow a few times already
[08:44:11] which is no surprise if you know it's just a random sales story to sell a few more GPUs
[08:44:13] RandomX is not permanent, we are expecting to switch to ASIC friendly in a few years if possible
[08:44:18] yes
[08:44:21] that makes sense
[08:44:40] linzhi-sonia: how so? will it break or will it be asic-able with decent performance gains?
[08:44:41] are you happy with CNv4 so far?
[08:45:10] ah, long story. progpow is a masterpiece of deception, let's not get into it here.
[08:45:21] if you know chip marketing it makes more sense
[08:45:24] linzhi-sonia: So far? lol! a bit early to tell, don't you think?
[08:45:35] the diff is coming down
[08:45:41] first few hours looked scary
[08:45:43] I remain skeptical: I only see ASICs being reasonable if they are already as ubiquitous as smartphones
[08:45:46] yes, so far so good
[08:46:01] we kbew the diff would not come down ubtil affter block 75
[08:46:10] yes
[08:46:22] but first few hours it looks like only 5% hashrate left
[08:46:27] looked
[08:46:29] now it's better
[08:46:51] the next worry is: when will "unexplainable" hashrate come back?
[08:47:00] you hope 2-3 months? more?
[08:47:05] so give it another couple of days. will probably overshoot to the downside, and then rise a bit as miners get updated and return
[08:47:22] 3 months minimum turnaround, yes
[08:47:28] nah
[08:47:36] don't underestimate asicmakers :)
[08:47:54] you guys don't get #1 priority on chip fabs
[08:47:56] 3 months = 90 days. do you know what is happening in those 90 days exactly? I'm pretty sure you don't. same thing as before.
[08:48:13] we don't do any secret chips btw
[08:48:21] 3 months assumes they had a complete design ready to go, and added the last minute change in 1 day
[08:48:24] do you know who is behind the hashrate that is now bricked?
[08:48:27] innosilicon?
[08:48:34] hyc: no no, and no. :)
[08:48:44] hyc: have you designed or taped out a chip before?
[08:48:51] yes, many years ago
[08:49:10] then you should know that 90 days is not a fixed number
[08:49:35] sure, but like I said, other makers have greater demand
[08:49:35] especially not if you can prepare, if you just have to modify something, or you have more programmability in the chip than some people assume
[08:50:07] we are chipmakers, we would never dare to do what you guys are doing with CNv4 :) but maybe that just means you are cooler!
[08:50:07] and yes, programmability makes some aspect of turnaround easier
[08:50:10] all fine
[08:50:10] I hope it works!
[08:50:28] do you know who is behind the hashrate that is now bricked?
[08:50:29] inno?
[08:50:41] we suspect so, but have no evidence
[08:50:44] maybe we can try to find them, but we cannot spend too much time on this
[08:50:53] it's probably not so much of a secret
[08:51:01] why should it be, right?
[08:51:10] devs want this cat-and-mouse game? devs get it...
[08:51:35] there was one leak saying it's innosilicon
[08:51:36] so you think 3 months, ok
[08:51:43] inno is cool
[08:51:46] good team
[08:51:49] IP design house
[08:51:54] in Wuhan
[08:52:06] they send their people to conferences with fake biz cards :)
[08:52:19] pretending to be other companies?
[08:52:26] sure
[08:52:28] ha ha
[08:52:39] so when we see them, we look at whatever card they carry and laugh :)
[08:52:52] they are perfectly suited for secret mining games
[08:52:59] they made at most $6 million in 2 months of mining, so I wonder if it was worth it
[08:53:10] yeah. no way to know
[08:53:15] but it's good that you calculate!
[08:53:24] this is all about cost/benefit
[08:53:25] then you also understand - imagine the value of XMR goes up 5x, 10x
[08:53:34] that whole "asic resistance" thing will come down like a house of cards
[08:53:41] I would imagine they sell immediately
[08:53:53] the investor may fully understand the risk
[08:53:57] the buyer
[08:54:13] it's not healthy, but that's another discussion
[08:54:23] so mid-June
[08:54:27] let's see
[08:54:49] I would be susprised if CNv4 ASICs show up at all
[08:54:56] surprised*
[08:54:56] why?
[08:55:05] is only an economic question
[08:55:12] yeah should be interesting. FPGAs will be near their limits as well
[08:55:16] unless XMR goes up a lot
[08:55:19] no, not *only*. it's also a technology question
[08:55:44] you believe CNv4 is "asic resistant"? which feature?
[08:55:53] it's not
[08:55:59] cnv4 = Rabdomx ?
[08:56:03] no
[08:56:07] cnv4=cryptinight/r
[08:56:11] ah
[08:56:18] CNv4 is the one we have now, I think
[08:56:21] since yesterday
[08:56:30] it's plenty enough resistant for current XMR price
[08:56:45] that may be, yes!
[08:56:55] I look at daily payouts. XMR = ca. 100k USD / day
[08:57:03] it can hold until October, but it's not asic resistant
[08:57:23] well, last 24h only 22,442 USD :)
[08:57:32] I think 80 h/s per watt ASICs are possible for CNv4
[08:57:38] linzhi-sonia where do you produce your chips? TSMC?
[08:57:44] I'm cruious how you would expect to build a randomX ASIC that outperforms ARM cores for efficiency, or Intel cores for raw speed
[08:57:48] curious
[08:58:01] yes, tsmc
[08:58:21] Our team did the world's first bitcoin asic, Avalon
[08:58:25] and upcoming 2nd gen Ryzens (64-core EPYC) will be a blast at RandomX
[08:58:28] designed and manufactured
[08:58:53] still being marketed?
[08:59:03] linzhi-sonia: do you understand what xmr wants to achieve, community-wise?
[08:59:14] Avalon? as part of Canaan Creative, yes I think so.
[08:59:25] there's not much interesting oing on in SHA256
[08:59:29] Inge-: I would think so, but please speak
[08:59:32] hyc: yes
[09:00:28] linzhi-sonia: i am curious to hear your thoughts. I am fairly new to this space myself...
[09:00:51] oh
[09:00:56] we are grandpas, and grandmas
[09:01:36] yet I have no problem understanding why ASICS are currently reviled.
[09:01:48] xmr's main differentiators to, let's say btc, are anonymity and fungibility
[09:01:58] I find the client terribly slow btw
[09:02:21] and I think the asic-forking since last may is wrong, doesn't create value and doesn't help with the project objectives
[09:02:25] which "the client" ?
[09:02:52] Monero GUI client maybe
[09:03:12] MacOS, yes
[09:03:28] What exactly is slow?
[09:03:30] linzhi-sonia: I run my own node, and use the CLI and Monerujo. Have not had issues.
[09:03:49] staying in sync
[09:03:49] linzhi-sonia: decentralization is also a key principle
[09:03:56] one that Bitcoin has failed to maintain
[09:04:39] hmm
[09:05:00] looks fairly decentralized to me. decentralization is the result of 3 goals imo: resilient, trustless, permissionless
[09:05:28] don't ask a hardware maker about physical decentralization. that's too ideological. we focus on logical decentralization.
[09:06:11] physical decentralization is important. with bulk of bitnoin mining centered on Chinese hydroelectric dams
[09:06:19] have you thought about including block data in the PoW?
[09:06:41] yes, of course.
[09:07:39] is that already in an algo?
[09:08:10] hyc: about "centered on chinese hydro" - what is your source? the best paper I know is this: https://coinshares.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Mining-Whitepaper-Final.pdf
[09:09:01] linzhi-sonia: do you mine on your ASICs before you sell them?
[09:09:13] besides testing of course
[09:09:45] that paper puts Chinese btc miners at 60% max
[09:10:05] tevador: I think everybody learned that that is not healthy long-term!
[09:10:16] because it gives the chipmaker a cost advantage over its own customers
[09:10:33] and cost advantage leads to centralization (physical and logical)
[09:10:51] you guys should know who finances progpow and why :)
[09:11:05] but let's not get into this, ha ha. want to keep the channel civilized. right OhGodAGirl ? :)
[09:11:34] tevador: so the answer is no! 100% and definitely no
[09:11:54] that "self-mining" disease was one of the problems we have now with asics, and their bad reputation (rightfully so)
[09:13:08] I plan to write a nice short 2-page paper or so on our chip design process. maybe it's interesting to some people here.
[09:13:15] basically the 5 steps I mentioned before, from math to physical
[09:13:32] linzhi-sonia: the paper you linked puts 48% of bitcoin mining in Sichuan. the total in China is much more than 60%
[09:13:38] need to run it by a few people to fix bugs, will post it here when published
[09:14:06] hyc: ok! I am just sharing the "best" document I know today. it definitely may be wrong and there may be a better one now.
[09:14:18] hyc: if you see some reports, please share
[09:14:51] hey I am really curious about this: where is a PoW algo that puts block data into the PoW?
[09:15:02] the previous paper I read is from here http://hackingdistributed.com/2018/01/15/decentralization-bitcoin-ethereum/
[09:15:38] hyc: you said that already exists? (block data in PoW)
[09:15:45] it would make verification harder
[09:15:49] linzhi-sonia: https://the-eye.eu/public/Books/campdivision.com/PDF/Computers%20General/Privacy/bitcoin/meh/hashimoto.pdf
[09:15:51] but for chips it would be interesting
[09:15:52] we discussed the possibility about a year ago https://www.reddit.com/Monero/comments/8bshrx/what_we_need_to_know_about_proof_of_work_pow/
[09:16:05] oh good links! thanks! need to read...
[09:16:06] I think that paper by dryja was original
[09:17:53] since we have a nice flow - second question I'm very curious about: has anyone thought about in-protocol rewards for other functions?
[09:18:55] we've discussed micropayments for wallets to use remote nodes
[09:18:55] you know there is a lot of work in other coins about STARK provers, zero-knowledge, etc. many of those things very compute intense, or need to be outsourced to a service (zether). For chipmakers, in-protocol rewards create an economic incentive to accelerate those things.
[09:19:50] whenever there is an in-protocol reward, you may get the power of ASICs doing something you actually want to happen
[09:19:52] it would be nice if there was some economic reward for running a fullnode, but no one has come up with much more than that afaik
[09:19:54] instead of fighting them off
[09:20:29] you need to use asics, not fight them. that's an obvious thing to say for an asicmaker...
[09:20:41] in-protocol rewards can be very powerful
[09:20:50] like I said before - unless the ASICs are so useful they're embedded in every smartphone, I dont see them being a positive for decentralization
[09:21:17] if they're a separate product, the average consumer is not going to buy them
[09:21:20] now I was talking about speedup of verifying, signing, proving, etc.
[09:21:23] they won't even know what they are
[09:22:07] if anybody wants to talk about or design in-protocol rewards, please come talk to us
[09:22:08] the average consumer also doesn't use general purpose hardware to secure blockchains either
[09:22:14] not just for PoW, in fact *NOT* for PoW
[09:22:32] it requires sw/hw co-design
[09:23:10] we are in long-term discussions/collaboration over this with Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash. just talk right now.
[09:23:16] this was recently published though suggesting more uptake though I guess https://btcmanager.com/college-students-are-the-second-biggest-miners-of-cryptocurrency/
[09:23:29] I find it pretty hard to believe their numbers
[09:24:03] well
[09:24:09] sorry, original article: https://www.pcmag.com/news/366952/college-kids-are-using-campus-electricity-to-mine-crypto
[09:24:11] just talk, no? rumors
[09:24:18] college students are already more educated than the average consumer
[09:24:29] we are not seeing many such customers anymore
[09:24:30] it's data from cisco monitoring network traffic
[09:24:33] and they're always looking for free money
[09:24:48] of course anyone with "free" electricity is inclined to do it
[09:24:57] but look at the rates, cannot make much money
[09:26:06] Ethereum is a bloated collection of bugs wrapped in a UI. I suppose they need all the help they can get
[09:26:29] Bitcoin Cash ... just another get rich quick scheme
[09:26:38] hmm :)
[09:26:51] I'll give it back to you, ok? ha ha. arrogance comes before the fall...
[09:27:17] maye we should have a little fun with CNv4 mining :)
[09:27:25] ;)
[09:27:38] come on. anyone who has watched their track record... $75M lost in ETH at DAO hack
[09:27:50] every smart contract that comes along is just waiting for another hack
[09:27:58] I just wanted to throw out the "in-protocol reward" thing, maybe someone sees the idea and wants to cowork. maybe not. maybe it's a stupid idea.
[09:29:18] linzhi-sonia: any thoughts on CN-GPU?
[09:29:55] CN-GPU has one positive aspect - it wastes chip area to implement all 18 hash algorithms
[09:30:19] you will always hear roughly the same feedback from me:
[09:30:52] "This algorithm very different, it heavy use floating point operations to hurt FPGAs and general purpose CPUs"
[09:30:56] the problem is, if it's profitable for people to buy ASIC miners and mine, it's always more profitable for the manufacturer to not sell and mine themselves
[09:31:02] "hurt"
[09:31:07] what is the point of this?
[09:31:15] it totally doesn't work
[09:31:24] you are hurting noone, just demonstrating lack of ability to think
[09:31:41] what is better: algo designed for chip, or chip designed for algo?
[09:31:43] fireice does it on daily basis, CN-GPU is a joke
[09:31:53] tevador: that's not really true, especially in a market with such large price fluctuations as cryptocurrency
[09:32:12] it's far less risky to sell miners than mine with them and pray that price doesn't crash for next six months
[09:32:14] I think it's great that crypto has a nice group of asicmakers now, hw & sw will cowork well
[09:32:36] jwinterm yes, that's why they premine them and sell after
[09:32:41] PoW is about being thermodynamically and cryptographically provable
[09:32:45] premining with them is taking on that risk
[09:32:49] not "fork when we think there are asics"
[09:32:51] business is about risk minimization
[09:32:54] that's just fear-driven
[09:33:05] Inge-: that's roughly the feedback
[09:33:24] I'm not saying it hasn't happened, but I think it's not so simple as saying "it always happens"
[09:34:00] jwinterm: it has certainly happened on BTC. and also on XMR.
[09:34:19] ironically, please think about it: these kinds of algos indeed prove the limits of the chips they were designed for. but they don't prove that you cannot implement the same algo differently! cannot!
[09:34:26] Risk minimization is not starting a business at all.
[09:34:34] proof-of-gpu-limit. proof-of-cpu-limit.
[09:34:37] imagine you have a money printing machine, would you sell it?
[09:34:39] proves nothing for an ASIC :)
[09:35:05] linzhi-sonia: thanks. I dont think anyone believes you can't make a more efficient cn-gpu asic than a gpu - but that it would not be orders of magnitude faster...
[09:35:24] ok
[09:35:44] like I say. these algos are, that's really ironic, designed to prove the limitatios of a particular chip in mind of the designer
[09:35:50] exactly the wrong way round :)
[09:36:16] like the cache size in RandomX :)
[09:36:18] beautiful
[09:36:29] someone looked at GPU designs
[09:37:31] linzhi-sonia can you elaborate? Cache size in RandomX was selected to fit CPU cache
[09:37:52] yes
[09:38:03] too large for GPU
[09:38:11] as I said, we are designing the algorithm to exactly fit CPU capabilities, I do not claim an ASIC cannot be more efficient
[09:38:16] ok!
[09:38:29] when will you do the audit?
[09:38:35] will the results be published in a document or so?
[09:38:37] I claim that single-chip ASIC is not viable, though
[09:39:06] you guys are brave, noone disputes that. 3 anti-asic hardforks now!
[09:39:18] 4th one coming
[09:39:31] 3 forks were done not only for this
[09:39:38] they had scheduled updates in the first place
[09:48:10] Monero is the #1 anti-asic fighter
[09:48:25] Monero is #1 for a lot of reasons ;)
[09:48:40] It's the coin with the most hycs.
[09:48:55] mooooo
[09:59:06] sneaky integer overflow, bug squished
[10:38:00] p0nziph0ne ([email protected]/vpn/privateinternetaccess/p0nziph0ne) has joined #monero-pow
[11:10:53] The convo here is wild
[11:12:29] it's like geo-politics at the intersection of software and hardware manufacturing for thermoeconomic value.
[11:13:05] ..and on a Sunday.
[11:15:43] midipoet: hw and sw should work together and stop silly games to devalue each other. to outsiders this is totally not attractive.
[11:16:07] I appreciate the positive energy here to try to listen, learn, understand.
[11:16:10] that's a start
[11:16:48] <-- p0nziph0ne ([email protected]/vpn/privateinternetaccess/p0nziph0ne) has quit (Quit: Leaving)
[11:16:54] we won't do silly mining against xmr "community" wishes, but not because we couldn'd do it, but because it's the wrong direction in the long run, for both sides
[11:18:57] linzhi-sonia: I agree to some extent. Though, in reality, there will always be divergence between social worlds. Not every body has the same vision of the future. Reaching societal consensus on reality tomorrow is not always easy
[11:20:25] absolutely. especially at a time when there is so much profit to be made from divisiveness.
[11:20:37] someone will want to make that profit, for sure
[11:24:32] Yes. Money distorts.
[11:24:47] Or wealth...one of the two
[11:26:35] Too much physical money will distort rays of light passing close to it indeed.
submitted by jwinterm to Monero [link] [comments]

Mining for Profitability - Horizen (formerly ZenCash) Thanks Early GPU Miners

Mining for Profitability - Horizen (formerly ZenCash) Thanks Early GPU Miners
Thank you for inviting Horizen to the GPU mining AMA!
ZEN had a great run of GPU mining that lasted well over a year, and brought lots of value to the early Zclassic miners. It is mined using Equihash protocol, and there have been ASIC miners available for the algorithm since about June of 2018. GPU mining is not really profitable for Horizen at this point in time.
We’ve got a lot of miners in the Horizen community, and many GPU miners also buy ASIC miners. Happy to talk about algorithm changes, security, and any other aspect of mining in the questions below. There are also links to the Horizen website, blog post, etc. below.
So, if I’m not here to ask you to mine, hold, and love ZEN, what can I offer? Notes on some of the lessons I’ve learned about maximizing mining profitability. An update on Horizen - there is life after moving on from GPU mining. As well as answering your questions during the next 7 days.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mining for Profitability - Horizen (formerly ZenCash) Thanks Early GPU Miners

Author: Rolf Versluis - co-founder of Horizen

In GPU mining, just like in many of the activities involved with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, there is both a cycle and a progression. The Bitcoin price cycle is fairly steady, and by creating a personal handbook of actions to take during the cycle, GPU miners can maximize their profitability.
Maximizing profitability isn't the only aspect of GPU mining that is important, of course, but it is helpful to be able to invest in new hardware, and be able to have enough time to spend on building and maintaining the GPU miners. If it was a constant process that also involved losing money, then it wouldn't be as much fun.

Technology Progression

For a given mining algorithm, there is definitely a technology progression. We can look back on the technology that was used to mine Bitcoin and see how it first started off as Central Processing Unit (CPU) mining, then it moved to Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) mining, then Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), and then Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC).
Throughout this evolution we have witnessed a variety of unsavory business practices that unfortunately still happen on occasion, like ASIC Miner manufacturers taking pre-orders 6 months in advance, GPU manufacturers creating commercial cards for large farms that are difficult for retail customers to secure and ASIC Miner manufacturers mining on gear for months before making it available for sale.
When a new crypto-currency is created, in many cases a new mining algorithm is created also. This is important, because if an existing algorithm was used, the coin would be open to a 51% attack from day one, and may not even be able to build a valid blockchain.
Because there's such a focus on profitable software, developers for GPU mining applications are usually able to write a mining application fairly rapidly, then iterate it to the limit of current GPU technology. If it looks like a promising new cryptocurrency, FPGA stream developers and ASIC Hardware Developers start working on their designs at the same time.
The people who create the hashing algorithms run by the miners are usually not very familiar with the design capabilities of Hardware manufacturers. Building application-specific semiconductors is an industry that's almost 60 years old now, and FPGA’s have been around for almost 35 years. This is an industry that has very experienced engineers using advanced design and modeling tools.
Promising cryptocurrencies are usually ones that are deploying new technology, or going after a big market, and who have at least a team of talented software developers. In the best case, the project has a full-stack business team involving development, project management, systems administration, marketing, sales, and leadership. This is the type of project that attracts early investment from the market, which will drive the price of the coin up significantly in the first year.
For any cryptocurrency that's a worthwhile investment of time, money, and electricity for the hashing, there will be a ASIC miners developed for it. Instead of fighting this technology progression, GPU miners may be better off recognizing it as inevitable, and taking advantage of the cryptocurrency cycle to maximize GPU mining profitability instead.

Cryptocurrency Price Cycle

For quality crypto projects, in addition to the one-way technology progression of CPU -> GPU -> FPGA -> ASIC, there is an upward price progression. More importantly, there is a cryptocurrency price cycle that oscillates around an overall upgrade price progression. Plotted against time, a cycle with an upward progressions looks like a sine wave with an ever increasing average value, which is what we see so far with the Bitcoin price.

Cryptocurrency price cycle and progression for miners
This means mining promising new cryptocurrencies with GPU miners, holding them as the price rises, and being ready to sell a significant portion in the first year. Just about every cryptocurrency is going to have a sharp price rise at some point, whether through institutional investor interest or by being the target of a pump-and-dump operation. It’s especially likely in the first year, while the supply is low and there is not much trading volume or liquidity on exchanges.
Miners need to operate in the world of government money, as well as cryptocurrency. The people who run mining businesses at some point have to start selling their mining proceeds to pay the bills, and to buy new equipment as the existing equipment becomes obsolete. Working to maximize profitability means more than just mining new cryptocurrencies, it also means learning when to sell and how to manage money.

Managing Cash for Miners

The worst thing that can happen to a business is to run out of cash. When that happens, the business usually shuts down and goes into bankruptcy. Sometimes an investor comes in and picks up the pieces, but at the point the former owners become employees.
There are two sides to managing cash - one is earning it, the other is spending it, and the cryptocurrency price cycle can tell the GPU miner when it is the best time to do certain things. A market top and bottom is easy to recognize in hindsight, and harder to see when in the middle of it. Even if a miner is able to recognize the tops and bottoms, it is difficult to act when there is so much hype and positivity at the top of the cycle, and so much gloom and doom at the bottom.
A decent rule of thumb for the last few cycles appears to be that at the top and bottom of the cycle BTC is 10x as expensive compared to USD as the last cycle. Newer crypto projects tend to have bigger price swings than Bitcoin, and during the rising of the pricing cycle there is the possibility that an altcoin will have a rise to 100x its starting price.
Taking profits from selling altcoins during the rise is important, but so is maintaining a reserve. In order to catch a 100x move, it may be worth the risk to put some of the altcoin on an exchange and set a very high limit order. For the larger cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin it is important to set trailing sell stops on the way up, and to not buy back in for at least a month if a sell stop gets triggered. Being able to read price charts, see support and resistance areas for price, and knowing how to set sell orders are an important part of mining profitability.

Actions to Take During the Cycle

As the cycle starts to rise from the bottom, this is a good time to buy mining hardware - it will be inexpensive. Also to mine and buy altcoins, which are usually the first to see a price rise, and will have larger price increases than Bitcoin.
On the rise of the cycle, this is a good time to see which altcoins are doing well from a project fundamentals standpoint, and which ones look like they are undergoing accumulation from investors.
Halfway through the rise of the cycle is the time to start selling altcoins for the larger project cryptos like Bitcoin. Miners will miss some of the profit at the top of the cycle, but will not run out of cash by doing this. This is also the time to stop buying mining hardware. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to pick up that same hardware used for a fraction of the price at the next bottom.
As the price nears the top of the cycle, sell enough Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to meet the following projected costs:
  • Mining electricity costs for the next 12 months
  • Planned investment into new miners for the next cycle
  • Additional funds needed for things like supporting a family or buying a Lambo
  • Taxes on all the capital gains from the sale of cryptocurrencies
It may be worth selling 70-90% of crypto holdings, maintaining a reserve in case there is second upward move caused by government bankruptcies. But selling a large part of the crypto is helpful to maintaining profitability and having enough cash reserves to make it through the bottom part of the next cycle.
As the cycle has peaked and starts to decline, this is a good time to start investing in mining facilities and other infrastructure, brush up on trading skills, count your winnings, and take some vacation.
At the bottom of the cycle, it is time to start buying both used and new mining equipment. The bottom can be hard to recognize.
If you can continue to mine all the way through bottom part of the cryptocurrency pricing cycle, paying with the funds sold near the top, you will have a profitable and enjoyable cryptocurrency mining business. Any cryptocurrency you are able to hold onto will benefit from the price progression in the next higher cycle phase.

An Update on Horizen - formerly ZenCash

The team at Horizen recognizes the important part that GPU miners played in the early success of Zclassic and ZenCash, and there is always a welcoming attitude to any of ZEN miners, past and present. About 1 year after ZenCash launched, ASIC miners became available for the Equihash algorithm. Looking at a chart of mining difficulty over time shows when it was time for GPU miners to move to mining other cryptocurrencies.

Horizen Historical Block Difficulty Graph
Looking at the hashrate chart, it is straightforward to see that ASIC miners were deployed starting June 2018. It appears that there was a jump in mining hashrate in October of 2017. This may have been larger GPU farms switching over to mine Horizen, FPGA’s on the network, or early version of Equihash ASIC miners that were kept private.
The team understands the importance of the cryptocurrency price cycle as it affects the funds from the Horizen treasury and the investments that can be made. 20% of each block mined is sent to the Horizen non-profit foundation for use to improve the project. Just like miners have to manage money, the team has to decide whether to spend funds when the price is high or convert it to another form in preparation for the bottom part of the cycle.
During the rise and upper part of the last price cycle Horizen was working hard to maximize the value of the project through many different ways, including spending on research and development, project management, marketing, business development with exchanges and merchants, and working to create adoption in all the countries of the world.
During the lower half of the cycle Horizen has reduced the team to the essentials, and worked to build a base of users, relationships with investors, exchanges, and merchants, and continue to develop the higher priority software projects. Lower priority software development, going to trade shows, and paying for business partnerships like exchanges and applications have all been completely stopped.
Miners are still a very important part of the Horizen ecosystem, earning 60% of the block reward. 20% goes to node operators, with 20% to the foundation. In the summer of 2018 the consensus algorithm was modified slightly to make it much more difficult for any group of miners to perform a 51% attack on Horizen. This has so far proven effective.
The team is strong, we provide monthly updates on a YouTube live stream on the first Wednesday of each month where all questions asked during the stream are addressed, and our marketing team works to develop awareness of Horizen worldwide. New wallet software was released recently, and it is the foundation application for people to use and manage their ZEN going forward.
Horizen is a Proof of Work cryptocurrency, and there is no plan to change that by the current development team. If there is a security or centralization concern, there may be change to the algorithm, but that appears unlikely at this time, as the hidden chain mining penalty looks like it is effective in stopping 51% attacks.
During 2019 and 2020 the Horizen team plans to release many new software updates:
  • Sidechains modification to main software
  • Sidechain Software Development Kit
  • Governance and Treasury application running on a sidechain
  • Node tracking and payments running on a sidechain
  • Conversion from blockchain to a Proof of Work BlockDAG using Equihash mining algorithm
After these updates are working well, the team will work to transition Horizen over to a governance model where major decisions and the allocation of treasury funds are done through a form of democratic voting. At this point all the software developed by Horizen is expected to be open source.
When the governance is transitioned, the project should be as decentralized as possible. The goal of decentralization is to enable resilience and preventing the capture of the project by regulators, government, criminal organizations, large corporations, or a small group of individuals.
Everyone involved with Horizen can be proud of what we have accomplished together so far. Miners who were there for the early mining and growth of the project played a large part in securing the network, evangelizing to new community members, and helping to create liquidity on new exchanges. Miners are still a very important part of the project and community. Together we can look forward to achieving many new goals in the future.

Here are some links to find out more about Horizen.
Horizen Website – https://horizen.global
Horizen Blog – https://blog.horizen.global
Horizen Reddit - https://www.reddit.com/Horizen/
Horizen Discord – https://discord.gg/SuaMBTb
Horizen Github – https://github.com/ZencashOfficial
Horizen Forum – https://forum.horizen.global/
Horizen Twitter – https://twitter.com/horizenglobal
Horizen Telegram – https://t.me/horizencommunity
Horizen on Bitcointalk – https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2047435.0
Horizen YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/c/Horizen/
Buy or Sell Horizen
Horizen on CoinMarketCap – https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/zencash/

About the Author:

Rolf Versluis is Co-Founder and Executive Advisor of the privacy oriented cryptocurrency Horizen. He also operates multiple private cryptocurrency mining facilities with hundreds of operational systems, and has a blog and YouTube channel on crypto mining called Block Operations.
Rolf applies his engineering background as well as management and leadership experience from running a 60 person IT company in Atlanta and as a US Navy nuclear submarine officer operating out of Hawaii to help grow and improve the businesses in which he is involved.
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Thank you again for the Ask Me Anything - please do. I'll be checking the post and answering questions actively from 28 Feb to 6 Mar 2019 - Rolf
submitted by Blockops to gpumining [link] [comments]

AMA with Sinovate, a new GPU friendly coin with new innovations to the space

SINOVATE
What SINOVATE is aiming on Cryptocurrency Market?
SINOVATE is created for Innovation and it aims to keep bringing never before seen Innovations in the crypto market.
What is Infinity Nodes, why different from Classical Masternode System? Infinity Nodes are groundbreaking evolved masternodes that solves the inflation problem. Traditional masternodes start with high ROI but with very large inflation and that inflation is what inevitably makes them fail.
What is IDS, why is it better than cloud storage? And size providers how to get/ earn SIN?
IDS = Incorruptible Data Storage.
IDS is a peer-to-peer private networking system, which will permit transactions and storage between miners and Infinity Node owners. Competitors including Sia, Storj, BitTorrent and even IPFS solutions reward individuals for serving and hosting content on their hard drive space, which requires a 24/7 uptime for computers. User hard drives must remain open and the rewards received must justify the costs incurred for leaving computer online.
In IDS, the private networking of decentralized storage relies solely on the SINOVATE Blockchain, with only node owners receiving rewards as compensation for utilising their hard drive resources to run an Infinity Node. Node owners will get rewards both from the Infinity Nodes and from storing confidential data.
IDS will have 5 steps of evolution.
SINOVATE has 533 tp/s. How are you planning to use this as a use case?
Scalability is one of the biggest problems in cryptocurrencies. POS only or centralized cryptocurrencies have higher scalability but are not suitable for the original Satoshi plan. Satoshi Nakamoto’s dream was everybody to mine their own coins without being centralized so SINOVATE blockchain not only is the most scalable POW cryptocurrency but will also have much more increased scalability in the future. Mass adoption requires high scalability especially when it will be used in real life as a payment means. Are we going to see SINOVATE Payment System in the future?
SINOVATE payment gateway will be released this year with high scalability and less than 3 seconds transaction times with the help of FlashSend.
What is SINOVATE aiming with X25X Algorithm?
SINOVATE formerly SUQA always aimed at the ordinary user starting with the X22i custom algorithm and upgraded to X25X to fight the big hardware companies so everyone can mine their own coin without letting ASIC,FPGA companies dominate the network.
Algo Comparison Chart
We are committed to remaining ASIC / FPGA resistant and such use an ever evolving algorithm, the latest variation named X25X launched with the last update. It is protected from difficulty attacks using Dark Gravity Wave v3 and raises the memory requirements compared to X22i bt a factor of five making it harder for ASIC / FPGA to implement.
What is Komodo dPOW , and when is the plan implementation on SINOVATE?
dPoW diagram
KOMODO DPoW is a working and trusted 51 % Attack protection technology to prevent any kind of malicious attacks by the help of notarized data of Bitcoin, KOMODO and SINOVATE chain.
What is the current status on mobile wallets? We saw a mobile wallet trailer.
Mobile wallets will be released in July 2019 as a custom good looking wallet tailored to the specific needs of SIN Blockchain
What is the plan for adoption in real life SINOVATE?
Our team draws from a large diversity of skills from many areas of business and across many different industries. This allows us to design and hone the experience of interacting with the SINOVATE Blockchain at many levels, from developers, business leaders and operational levels, down to the end-user experience.
This allows us to develop software and user experiences from the perspective of all involved, ensuring that the end user is the primary focus.
What is the current financial status on SINOVATE?
SINOVATE are transparent about the financial status of the foundation and the activity taken with funds. We regularly publish updates and the latest one for June is here.
What partnerships will there be in the future?
Besides the Masternodes related partnerships, SINOVATE partnered with KOMODO for the integration of dPoW 51% attack protection, which will be active at the end of July or early August 2019.
As the foundation’s mission is to grow the space for all. We are happy to work with all projects and businesses both by learning from the great work others have undertaken and offering something back to other projects with our open source code.
With Governance what can it do for the community?
Decentralized governance is the future of any successful blockchain project, SINOVATE believes that blockchain will be ubiquitous in the underlying infrastructure and services in the future of everyday life. Having fair voting for developments, marketing and innovations of the SINOVATE chain will be very important for everyone.
Hopefully that covers as an introduction, please fire away below with any questions you might have for us and feel free to join sinovate for the latest news!
Edit - Thanks for the great questions and discussion. First round answered by our CEO u/cryplander, feel free to shoot more :)
submitted by nick_badlands to gpumining [link] [comments]

The Problem with PoW

The Problem with PoW
Miners have always had it rough..
"Frustrated Miners"

The Problem with PoW
(and what is being done to solve it)

Proof of Work (PoW) is one of the most commonly used consensus mechanisms entrusted to secure and validate many of today’s most successful cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin being one. Battle-hardened and having weathered the test of time, Bitcoin has demonstrated the undeniable strength and reliability of the PoW consensus model through sheer market saturation, and of course, its persistency.
In addition to the cost of powerful computing hardware, miners prove that they are benefiting the network by expending energy in the form of electricity, by solving and hashing away complex math problems on their computers, utilizing any suitable tools that they have at their disposal. The mathematics involved in securing proof of work revolve around unique algorithms, each with their own benefits and vulnerabilities, and can require different software/hardware to mine depending on the coin.
Because each block has a unique and entirely random hash, or “puzzle” to solve, the “work” has to be performed for each block individually and the difficulty of the problem can be increased as the speed at which blocks are solved increases.

Hashrates and Hardware Types

While proof of work is an effective means of securing a blockchain, it inherently promotes competition amongst miners seeking higher and higher hashrates due to the rewards earned by the node who wins the right to add the next block. In turn, these higher hash rates benefit the blockchain, providing better security when it’s a result of a well distributed/decentralized network of miners.
When Bitcoin first launched its genesis block, it was mined exclusively by CPUs. Over the years, various programmers and developers have devised newer, faster, and more energy efficient ways to generate higher hashrates; some by perfecting the software end of things, and others, when the incentives are great enough, create expensive specialized hardware such as ASICs (application-specific integrated circuit). With the express purpose of extracting every last bit of hashing power, efficiency being paramount, ASICs are stripped down, bare minimum, hardware representations of a specific coin’s algorithm.
This gives ASICS a massive advantage in terms of raw hashing power and also in terms of energy consumption against CPUs/GPUs, but with significant drawbacks of being very expensive to design/manufacture, translating to a high economic barrier for the casual miner. Due to the fact that they are virtual hardware representations of a single targeted algorithm, this means that if a project decides to fork and change algorithms suddenly, your powerful brand-new ASIC becomes a very expensive paperweight. The high costs in developing and manufacturing ASICs and the associated risks involved, make them unfit for mass adoption at this time.
Somewhere on the high end, in the vast hashrate expanse created between GPU and ASIC, sits the FPGA (field programmable gate array). FPGAs are basically ASICs that make some compromises with efficiency in order to have more flexibility, namely they are reprogrammable and often used in the “field” to test an algorithm before implementing it in an ASIC. As a precursor to the ASIC, FPGAs are somewhat similar to GPUs in their flexibility, but require advanced programming skills and, like ASICs, are expensive and still fairly uncommon.

2 Guys 1 ASIC

One of the issues with proof of work incentivizing the pursuit of higher hashrates is in how the network calculates block reward coinbase payouts and rewards miners based on the work that they have submitted. If a coin generated, say a block a minute, and this is a constant, then what happens if more miners jump on a network and do more work? The network cannot pay out more than 1 block reward per 1 minute, and so a difficulty mechanism is used to maintain balance. The difficulty will scale up and down in response to the overall nethash, so if many miners join the network, or extremely high hashing devices such as ASICs or FPGAs jump on, the network will respond accordingly, using the difficulty mechanism to make the problems harder, effectively giving an edge to hardware that can solve them faster, balancing the network. This not only maintains the block a minute reward but it has the added side-effect of energy requirements that scale up with network adoption.
Imagine, for example, if one miner gets on a network all alone with a CPU doing 50 MH/s and is getting all 100 coins that can possibly be paid out in a day. Then, if another miner jumps on the network with the same CPU, each miner would receive 50 coins in a day instead of 100 since they are splitting the required work evenly, despite the fact that the net electrical output has doubled along with the work. Electricity costs miner’s money and is a factor in driving up coin price along with adoption, and since more people are now mining, the coin is less centralized. Now let’s say a large corporation has found it profitable to manufacture an ASIC for this coin, knowing they will make their money back mining it or selling the units to professionals. They join the network doing 900 MH/s and will be pulling in 90 coins a day, while the two guys with their CPUs each get 5 now. Those two guys aren’t very happy, but the corporation is. Not only does this negatively affect the miners, it compromises the security of the entire network by centralizing the coin supply and hashrate, opening the doors to double spends and 51% attacks from potential malicious actors. Uncertainty of motives and questionable validity in a distributed ledger do not mix.
When technology advances in a field, it is usually applauded and welcomed with open arms, but in the world of crypto things can work quite differently. One of the glaring flaws in the current model and the advent of specialized hardware is that it’s never ending. Suppose the two men from the rather extreme example above took out a loan to get themselves that ASIC they heard about that can get them 90 coins a day? When they join the other ASIC on the network, the difficulty adjusts to keep daily payouts consistent at 100, and they will each receive only 33 coins instead of 90 since the reward is now being split three ways. Now what happens if a better ASIC is released by that corporation? Hopefully, those two guys were able to pay off their loans and sell their old ASICs before they became obsolete.
This system, as it stands now, only perpetuates a never ending hashrate arms race in which the weapons of choice are usually a combination of efficiency, economics, profitability and in some cases control.

Implications of Centralization

This brings us to another big concern with expensive specialized hardware: the risk of centralization. Because they are so expensive and inaccessible to the casual miner, ASICs and FPGAs predominantly remain limited to a select few. Centralization occurs when one small group or a single entity controls the vast majority hash power and, as a result, coin supply and is able to exert its influence to manipulate the market or in some cases, the network itself (usually the case of dishonest nodes or bad actors).
This is entirely antithetical of what cryptocurrency was born of, and since its inception many concerted efforts have been made to avoid centralization at all costs. An entity in control of a centralized coin would have the power to manipulate the price, and having a centralized hashrate would enable them to affect network usability, reliability, and even perform double spends leading to the demise of a coin, among other things.
The world of crypto is a strange new place, with rapidly growing advancements across many fields, economies, and boarders, leaving plenty of room for improvement; while it may feel like a never-ending game of catch up, there are many talented developers and programmers working around the clock to bring us all more sustainable solutions.

The Rise of FPGAs

With the recent implementation of the commonly used coding language C++, and due to their overall flexibility, FPGAs are becoming somewhat more common, especially in larger farms and in industrial setting; but they still remain primarily out of the hands of most mining enthusiasts and almost unheard of to the average hobby miner. Things appear to be changing though, one example of which I’ll discuss below, and it is thought by some, that soon we will see a day when mining with a CPU or GPU just won’t cut it any longer, and the market will be dominated by FPGAs and specialized ASICs, bringing with them efficiency gains for proof of work, while also carelessly leading us all towards the next round of spending.
A perfect real-world example of the effect specialized hardware has had on the crypto-community was recently discovered involving a fairly new project called VerusCoin and a fairly new, relatively more economically accessible FPGA. The FPGA is designed to target specific alt-coins whose algo’s do not require RAM overhead. It was discovered the company had released a new algorithm, kept secret from the public, which could effectively mine Verus at 20x the speed of GPUs, which were the next fastest hardware types mining on the Verus network.
Unfortunately this was done with a deliberately secret approach, calling the Verus algorithm “Algo1” and encouraging owners of the FPGA to never speak of the algorithm in public channels, admonishing a user when they did let the cat out of the bag. The problem with this business model is that it is parasitic in nature. In an ecosystem where advancements can benefit the entire crypto community, this sort of secret mining approach also does not support the philosophies set forth by the Bitcoin or subsequent open source and decentralization movements.
Although this was not done in the spirit of open source, it does hint to an important step in hardware innovation where we could see more efficient specialized systems within reach of the casual miner. The FPGA requires unique sets of data called a bitstream in order to be able to recognize each individual coin’s algorithm and mine them. Because it’s reprogrammable, with the support of a strong development team creating such bitstreams, the miner doesn’t end up with a brick if an algorithm changes.

All is not lost thanks to.. um.. Technology?

Shortly after discovering FPGAs on the network, the Verus developers quickly designed, tested, and implemented a new, much more complex and improved algorithm via a fork that enabled Verus to transition smoothly from VerusHash 1.0 to VerusHash 2.0 at block 310,000. Since the fork, VerusHash 2.0 has demonstrated doing exactly what it was designed for- equalizing hardware performance relative to the device being used while enabling CPUs (the most widely available “ASICs”) to mine side by side with GPUs, at a profit and it appears this will also apply to other specialized hardware. This is something no other project has been able to do until now. Rather than pursue the folly of so many other projects before it- attempting to be “ASIC proof”, Verus effectively achieved and presents to the world an entirely new model of “hardware homogeny”. As the late, great, Bruce Lee once said- “Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.”
In the design of VerusHash 2.0, Verus has shown it doesn’t resist progress like so many other new algorithms try to do, it embraces change and adapts to it in the way that water becomes whatever vessel it inhabits. This new approach- an industry first- could very well become an industry standard and in doing so, would usher in a new age for proof of work based coins. VerusHash 2.0 has the potential to correct the single largest design flaw in the proof of work consensus mechanism- the ever expanding monetary and energy requirements that have plagued PoW based projects since the inception of the consensus mechanism. Verus also solves another major issue of coin and net hash centralization by enabling legitimate CPU mining, offering greater coin and hashrate distribution.
Digging a bit deeper it turns out the Verus development team are no rookies. The lead developer Michael F Toutonghi has spent decades in the field programming and is a former Vice President and Technical Fellow at Microsoft, recognized founder and architect of Microsoft's .Net platform, ex-Technical Fellow of Microsoft's advertising platform, ex-CTO, Parallels Corporation, and an experienced distributed computing and machine learning architect. The project he helped create employs and makes use of a diverse myriad of technologies and security features to form one of the most advanced and secure cryptocurrency to date. A brief description of what makes VerusCoin special quoted from a community member-
"Verus has a unique and new consensus algorithm called Proof of Power which is a 50% PoW/50% PoS algorithm that solves theoretical weaknesses in other PoS systems (Nothing at Stake problem for example) and is provably immune to 51% hash attacks. With this, Verus uses the new hash algorithm, VerusHash 2.0. VerusHash 2.0 is designed to better equalize mining across all hardware platforms, while favoring the latest CPUs over older types, which is also one defense against the centralizing potential of botnets. Unlike past efforts to equalize hardware hash-rates across different hardware types, VerusHash 2.0 explicitly enables CPUs to gain even more power relative to GPUs and FPGAs, enabling the most decentralizing hardware, CPUs (due to their virtually complete market penetration), to stay relevant as miners for the indefinite future. As for anonymity, Verus is not a "forced private", allowing for both transparent and shielded (private) transactions...and private messages as well"

If other projects can learn from this and adopt a similar approach or continue to innovate with new ideas, it could mean an end to all the doom and gloom predictions that CPU and GPU mining are dead, offering a much needed reprieve and an alternative to miners who have been faced with the difficult decision of either pulling the plug and shutting down shop or breaking down their rigs to sell off parts and buy new, more expensive hardware…and in so doing present an overall unprecedented level of decentralization not yet seen in cryptocurrency.
Technological advancements led us to the world of secure digital currencies and the progress being made with hardware efficiencies is indisputably beneficial to us all. ASICs and FPGAs aren’t inherently bad, and there are ways in which they could be made more affordable and available for mass distribution. More than anything, it is important that we work together as communities to find solutions that can benefit us all for the long term.

In an ever changing world where it may be easy to lose sight of the real accomplishments that brought us to this point one thing is certain, cryptocurrency is here to stay and the projects that are doing something to solve the current problems in the proof of work consensus mechanism will be the ones that lead us toward our collective vision of a better world- not just for the world of crypto but for each and every one of us.
submitted by Godballz to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Profitable Crypto Mining: ASIC vs GPU, Which One Is Better?

Profitable Crypto Mining: ASIC vs GPU, Which One Is Better?
If you’re new to mining you probably have multiple questions running through your head right now. Good news is that it gets easier with time, assuming that you do your homework and research, and we will try to help you out.
One of the common questions is whether one should choose GPU or ASIC mining and we definitely have some advice on that topic.
When we’re considering classic POW mining we can quickly rule out CPU hardware for not being efficient and FPGA hardware because of its high costs. This leaves you with ASIC and GPU to choose from.

https://preview.redd.it/igev3y4v8pv31.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=2a0c9271fc36252181d086e74101d13875619c80

Buying Mining Equipment

Let’s get things straight — you won’t be able to buy ASIC devices in any of you local electronic shops, even in the biggest ones. There are two ways you can get this hardware: buying it online which shouldn’t be a problem these days unless that’s the newest model you’re after. Second option is to find a local company that sells ASIC equipment.
Also, you can try to purchase the equipment directly from the manufacture company, however, mind the huge customs and delivery fees if the company is located abroad.
It is highly recommended to test ASICs before buying them to make sure the equipment works properly.
GPU or graphics cards and other equipment that you will need to build your very own mining farm can be easily purchased at a regular computer store. The only problem you may have is getting the right set of hardware, so make sure to come prepared.
When buying a used (second-hand) graphics card don’t forget to test it.
What’s better?
If you’re not into hardware and have no clue how to set up a farm by yourself buying ASIC equipment would be a better option as you won’t need to build anything yourself.

Warranty Policy

In general, an official warranty policy for ASIC hardware is up to 180 days since the equipment was shipped to the buyer. When the seller is confident about the quality of their equipment, they can offer their personal 1 month warranty.
When you’re buying computer hardware in most of the cases you are getting full 2 year warranty policy including exchange or repairments of the equipment.
What’s better?
Warranty policy is especially important when you have no chance to check the equipment yourself or when you’re buying large inventory of it. Also, if you plan to go with overclocking, you will probably need a decent warranty as well.
We need to add that when you’re using the equipment accordingly and conduct regular maintenance both ASIC and GPU can work past the warranty period.

Setting Up Process

With ASICs it’s simple: you plug and connect it, pick a pool to join and start mining right away.
With GPU, it’s a little complicated. First, you need to build your farm. You will need a framework, motherboard with installed CPU and cooling, storage unit, power supply, risers and video cards. If you have no experience with assembling computer hardware you’re gonna need to save some time and prepare to put extra effort. Once your rig is ready you will have to install OS and optimize it which is usually even harder than setting up a rig. But luckily we’ve got a solution for that. CoinFly can do the work for you and help you with setting up and optimizing your equipment.
What’s better?
Although ASICs are very easy, you shouldn’t quickly give up on GPU mining. If assembling computer hardware is not a big problem for you, CoinFly will help you with setting it up.

Maintenance

ASIC equipment won’t give you too much trouble: it’s safe, stable, and doesn’t require any special knowledge. Maintenance includes cleaning off dust and oiling the fans.
When dealing with rigs, you will have to work a little harder and study the basics about at least graphics cards’ temperatures and operational frequency. A stable workflow depends heavily on the software and as it has a tendency to fail, it could become a problem. Unless you’re using CoinFly — our system will notify you in case of emergency so you can tune your equipment online.
What’s better?
Once again, when it comes to maintaining ASICs are almost trouble-free. GPU rigs are a bit tricky but when using the right tools like CoinFly to monitor their work, it can serve you just fine.

The Noise

ASICs are loud: when you’re in a room with a working ASIC you’re gonna need to shout, so people can hear you.
GPU farms have no such problem. Some of them are almost silent and that doesn’t affect the cooling process at all.
What’s better?
Maybe the level of noise your equipment makes was not the first issue on your list but we recommend you to consider it. ASICs are suitable only for the commercial and industrial premises.

Mining

ASICs can work with only one algorithm and mine one or several types of cryptocurrencies and are perfect for mining Bitcoin and its forks.
GPU rigs are universal: you can mine a huge variety of coins if you set your miner right.
What’s better?
If you want to mine Bitcoin, you gotta go with ASIC. But think again if that’s what you’re really after. After all, you can choose mining any altcoin that you’d like with your GPU rig and then simply exchange it to BTC. And if you’re lucky enough to mine a coin that will do good ASICs do not give you that choice, however, their mining capability is higher.

Relevance of the Equipment

ASICs are quickly getting out of date as the new models come along. Back in the day, the new versions used to come out every half a year and they were 10 times more efficient. In general, you need to change your ASIC hardware every year.
GPU equipment can perfectly serve you for 2 to 3 years and if you wish to sell the graphics card afterwards that wouldn’t be a problem either.
What’s better?
In terms of relevance, it’s probably reasonable to go with the GPU.

Return on Investment

In the long run, the profitableness of ASICs is higher but because the new models are being released quite frequently you cannot expect huge profits. It is always important to do your research and get the most relevant equipment.
GPU hardware will take its time to pay you back but it also depends if you manage to find the right coin to mine that will eventually increase your profits.
What’s better?
ASIC mining is definitely a good option for those who don’t want to constantly monitor the crypto market.
But in the case that you’re interested in what’s happening in the crypto space and you also have time to do your own research, the GPU farm would the better choice. If you’re not willing to spend your efforts on that, CoinFly Autopilot mode will help you mine the most profitable coin on the market automatically.

Conclusion

ASICs are great for people who can provide a non-residential space for mining and not willing to spend too much time and effort for setting up the equipment and stay updated with the latest trends in the crypto industry.
GPU rigs are suitable for mining at home and won’t scare away all the crypto and computer enthusiasts. If you’re just starting your mining journey but not sure how to do it, we recommend to register on CoinFly. From setting up your hardware to tuning it online and picking the best coin to mine at the moment — we’ve got you covered!
submitted by coinfly to CoinFly [link] [comments]

Cryptocurrency Mining History : Journey to PoC

Cryptocurrency just like any other technological development has given birth to many side industries and trends like ICO, white paper writing, and mining etc… just the cryptocurrency itself rises, falls and changes to adapt real life conditions, so does its side industries and trends. Today we are going to be focusing on mining. How it has risen, fell and adapted through the journey of cryptocurrency till date.
Without going into details crypto mining is the process by which new blocks are validated and added to the blockchain. It first took to main stream in January 2009 when the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto launched the bitcoin white paper within which he/she/they proposed the first mining consensus mechanism called proof of work (Pow).
The PoW consensus mechanism required that one should spend a certain amount of computational power to solve a cryptographic problem (nounce) in other to have the have the right to pack/verify the next block on the blockchain. In this mechanism, the more computational power one possesses the more rights they have over the packing of the next block. The quest for faster hardware has seen significant changes in the types of hard ware dominating the PoW mining community.
Back in 2009 when bitcoin first started a normal pc and its processing power worked just fine. In fact a pc with an i7 Intel processor could mine up to 50btc per day but back then it almost nothing since btc was only some few cents. When the difficulty of the network became significantly high, simple computer processing units could not match the competitiveness and so miners settled for something more powerful, the high end graphic processors (GPU). This is when the era of rigs began It was in 2010. People would combine GPUs together in mining rigs on a mother board usually in order of 6 per rig some miners operated farms containing many of these rigs. Of course with greater power came greater network difficulty and so the search for faster hard ware let to implementation of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) in June 2012. A further search for faster, less consuming and cheaper hard ware let us to where we are today. In the year 2013, Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) miners were introduced. One ASIC miner processes 1500H/s which is 100 times processing power of CPU and GPU. But all this speed and efficiency achievements brought about another problem one which touches the core of cryptocurrency itself. The idea of decentralization was gradually fading away as wealthy and big companies are the once who could afford and build the miners therefore centralizing mining around the rich, there was a called for ASIC resistant consensus mechanism.
A movement for ASIC resistant PoW algorithms began the idea is to make ASIC mining impossible or at least make it such that using ASIC doesn’t give a miner any additional advantage as to using CPU . In 2013 the MONERO the famous privacy coin proposed CryptoNight an ASIC resistant PoW consensus at least that is how they intended it to be. But things have proven much more difficult in practice than they had anticipated as ASIC producers keep matching up to every barrier put in place the PoW designers at a rate faster than it takes to build these barriers. MONERO for example has to fork every now and then in other to keep the CryptoNight ASIC resistant a trick which is still not working as reported by their CEO “We [also] saw that this was very unsustainable. … It takes a lot to keep [hard forking] again and again for one. For two, it may decentralize mining but it centralizes in another area. It centralizes on the developers because now there’s a lot of trust in developers to keep hard forking.” Another PoW ASIC resistance algorithm is the RamdonX and there are many others but could quickly imagine that the barriers to ASIC mining in these ASIC resistance algorithm would eventually be broken by the ASIC miners and so a total shift from PoW mining to other consensus mechanisms which are ASIC resistance from core were proposed some of which are in use today.
Entered the Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. PoS was first introduced in 2013 by the PeerCoin team. Here, a validator’s right to mine is proportionate to his/heit economic value in the network simple put the more amounts of coins you have the more mining rights you get. Apart from PeerCoin, NEO and LISK also use POS and soon to follow is EThereum. There are different variations to PoS including but not limited to delegated proof of stake DPoS, masternode proof of stake MPoS each of which seek to improve on something in the POS. This is a very good ASIC resistance consensus mechanism but it still doesn’t solves the centralization problem as the rich always have the power to more coins and have more mining rights plus it is also expensive to start. And then we have gotten many other proposals to combat this among which are Proof of Weight (PoW) and Proof of Capacity (PoC). We take more interest in PoC it is the latest and gives the best solution to all our mining challenges consensus as of now.
Proof of Capacity was first was described 2013 in the Proofs of Space paper by Dziembowski, Faust, Kolmogorov and Pietrzak and it is now being used in Burst. The main factor that separates all the mining mechanisms is the resource used. These resources which miners spend in other to have mining rights is a measure of ensuring that one has expense a none-trivial amount of effort in making a statement. The resource being spent in PoC is disk space. This is less expensive since many people already have some unused space lying around and space is a cheap resource in the field of tech. it has no discrimination over topography… it really solves lots of centralized problems present in all most other consensus. If the future is now then one could say the future of crypto mining is PoC.
submitted by seekchain to u/seekchain [link] [comments]

Avalon might be getting a $200 million investment and 20nm technology to become the leader of the mining market

Avalon might be getting a $200 million investment and 20nm technology to become the leader of the mining market submitted by tntpie to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

The Problem with PoW


Miners have always had it rough..
"Frustrated Miners"


The Problem with PoW
(and what is being done to solve it)

Proof of Work (PoW) is one of the most commonly used consensus mechanisms entrusted to secure and validate many of today’s most successful cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin being one. Battle-hardened and having weathered the test of time, Bitcoin has demonstrated the undeniable strength and reliability of the PoW consensus model through sheer market saturation, and of course, its persistency.
In addition to the cost of powerful computing hardware, miners prove that they are benefiting the network by expending energy in the form of electricity, by solving and hashing away complex math problems on their computers, utilizing any suitable tools that they have at their disposal. The mathematics involved in securing proof of work revolve around unique algorithms, each with their own benefits and vulnerabilities, and can require different software/hardware to mine depending on the coin.
Because each block has a unique and entirely random hash, or “puzzle” to solve, the “work” has to be performed for each block individually and the difficulty of the problem can be increased as the speed at which blocks are solved increases.
Hashrates and Hardware Types
While proof of work is an effective means of securing a blockchain, it inherently promotes competition amongst miners seeking higher and higher hashrates due to the rewards earned by the node who wins the right to add the next block. In turn, these higher hash rates benefit the blockchain, providing better security when it’s a result of a well distributed/decentralized network of miners.
When Bitcoin first launched its genesis block, it was mined exclusively by CPUs. Over the years, various programmers and developers have devised newer, faster, and more energy efficient ways to generate higher hashrates; some by perfecting the software end of things, and others, when the incentives are great enough, create expensive specialized hardware such as ASICs (application-specific integrated circuit). With the express purpose of extracting every last bit of hashing power, efficiency being paramount, ASICs are stripped down, bare minimum, hardware representations of a specific coin’s algorithm.
This gives ASICS a massive advantage in terms of raw hashing power and also in terms of energy consumption against CPUs/GPUs, but with significant drawbacks of being very expensive to design/manufacture, translating to a high economic barrier for the casual miner. Due to the fact that they are virtual hardware representations of a single targeted algorithm, this means that if a project decides to fork and change algorithms suddenly, your powerful brand-new ASIC becomes a very expensive paperweight. The high costs in developing and manufacturing ASICs and the associated risks involved, make them unfit for mass adoption at this time.
Somewhere on the high end, in the vast hashrate expanse created between GPU and ASIC, sits the FPGA (field programmable gate array). FPGAs are basically ASICs that make some compromises with efficiency in order to have more flexibility, namely they are reprogrammable and often used in the “field” to test an algorithm before implementing it in an ASIC. As a precursor to the ASIC, FPGAs are somewhat similar to GPUs in their flexibility, but require advanced programming skills and, like ASICs, are expensive and still fairly uncommon.
2 Guys 1 ASIC
One of the issues with proof of work incentivizing the pursuit of higher hashrates is in how the network calculates block reward coinbase payouts and rewards miners based on the work that they have submitted. If a coin generated, say a block a minute, and this is a constant, then what happens if more miners jump on a network and do more work? The network cannot pay out more than 1 block reward per 1 minute, and so a difficulty mechanism is used to maintain balance. The difficulty will scale up and down in response to the overall nethash, so if many miners join the network, or extremely high hashing devices such as ASICs or FPGAs jump on, the network will respond accordingly, using the difficulty mechanism to make the problems harder, effectively giving an edge to hardware that can solve them faster, balancing the network. This not only maintains the block a minute reward but it has the added side-effect of energy requirements that scale up with network adoption.
Imagine, for example, if one miner gets on a network all alone with a CPU doing 50 MH/s and is getting all 100 coins that can possibly be paid out in a day. Then, if another miner jumps on the network with the same CPU, each miner would receive 50 coins in a day instead of 100 since they are splitting the required work evenly, despite the fact that the net electrical output has doubled along with the work. Electricity costs miner’s money and is a factor in driving up coin price along with adoption, and since more people are now mining, the coin is less centralized. Now let’s say a large corporation has found it profitable to manufacture an ASIC for this coin, knowing they will make their money back mining it or selling the units to professionals. They join the network doing 900 MH/s and will be pulling in 90 coins a day, while the two guys with their CPUs each get 5 now. Those two guys aren’t very happy, but the corporation is. Not only does this negatively affect the miners, it compromises the security of the entire network by centralizing the coin supply and hashrate, opening the doors to double spends and 51% attacks from potential malicious actors. Uncertainty of motives and questionable validity in a distributed ledger do not mix.
When technology advances in a field, it is usually applauded and welcomed with open arms, but in the world of crypto things can work quite differently. One of the glaring flaws in the current model and the advent of specialized hardware is that it’s never ending. Suppose the two men from the rather extreme example above took out a loan to get themselves that ASIC they heard about that can get them 90 coins a day? When they join the other ASIC on the network, the difficulty adjusts to keep daily payouts consistent at 100, and they will each receive only 33 coins instead of 90 since the reward is now being split three ways. Now what happens if a better ASIC is released by that corporation? Hopefully, those two guys were able to pay off their loans and sell their old ASICs before they became obsolete.
This system, as it stands now, only perpetuates a never ending hashrate arms race in which the weapons of choice are usually a combination of efficiency, economics, profitability and in some cases control.
Implications of Centralization
This brings us to another big concern with expensive specialized hardware: the risk of centralization. Because they are so expensive and inaccessible to the casual miner, ASICs and FPGAs predominantly remain limited to a select few. Centralization occurs when one small group or a single entity controls the vast majority hash power and, as a result, coin supply and is able to exert its influence to manipulate the market or in some cases, the network itself (usually the case of dishonest nodes or bad actors).
This is entirely antithetical of what cryptocurrency was born of, and since its inception many concerted efforts have been made to avoid centralization at all costs. An entity in control of a centralized coin would have the power to manipulate the price, and having a centralized hashrate would enable them to affect network usability, reliability, and even perform double spends leading to the demise of a coin, among other things.
The world of crypto is a strange new place, with rapidly growing advancements across many fields, economies, and boarders, leaving plenty of room for improvement; while it may feel like a never-ending game of catch up, there are many talented developers and programmers working around the clock to bring us all more sustainable solutions.
The Rise of FPGAs
With the recent implementation of the commonly used coding language C++, and due to their overall flexibility, FPGAs are becoming somewhat more common, especially in larger farms and in industrial setting; but they still remain primarily out of the hands of most mining enthusiasts and almost unheard of to the average hobby miner. Things appear to be changing though, one example of which I’ll discuss below, and it is thought by some, that soon we will see a day when mining with a CPU or GPU just won’t cut it any longer, and the market will be dominated by FPGAs and specialized ASICs, bringing with them efficiency gains for proof of work, while also carelessly leading us all towards the next round of spending.
A perfect real-world example of the effect specialized hardware has had on the crypto-community was recently discovered involving a fairly new project called VerusCoin and a fairly new, relatively more economically accessible FPGA. The FPGA is designed to target specific alt-coins whose algo’s do not require RAM overhead. It was discovered the company had released a new algorithm, kept secret from the public, which could effectively mine Verus at 20x the speed of GPUs, which were the next fastest hardware types mining on the Verus network.
Unfortunately this was done with a deliberately secret approach, calling the Verus algorithm “Algo1” and encouraging owners of the FPGA to never speak of the algorithm in public channels, admonishing a user when they did let the cat out of the bag. The problem with this business model is that it is parasitic in nature. In an ecosystem where advancements can benefit the entire crypto community, this sort of secret mining approach also does not support the philosophies set forth by the Bitcoin or subsequent open source and decentralization movements.
Although this was not done in the spirit of open source, it does hint to an important step in hardware innovation where we could see more efficient specialized systems within reach of the casual miner. The FPGA requires unique sets of data called a bitstream in order to be able to recognize each individual coin’s algorithm and mine them. Because it’s reprogrammable, with the support of a strong development team creating such bitstreams, the miner doesn’t end up with a brick if an algorithm changes.
All is not lost thanks to.. um.. Technology?
Shortly after discovering FPGAs on the network, the Verus developers quickly designed, tested, and implemented a new, much more complex and improved algorithm via a fork that enabled Verus to transition smoothly from VerusHash 1.0 to VerusHash 2.0 at block 310,000. Since the fork, VerusHash 2.0 has demonstrated doing exactly what it was designed for- equalizing hardware performance relative to the device being used while enabling CPUs (the most widely available “ASICs”) to mine side by side with GPUs, at a profit and it appears this will also apply to other specialized hardware. This is something no other project has been able to do until now. Rather than pursue the folly of so many other projects before it- attempting to be “ASIC proof”, Verus effectively achieved and presents to the world an entirely new model of “hardware homogeny”. As the late, great, Bruce Lee once said- “Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.”
In the design of VerusHash 2.0, Verus has shown it doesn’t resist progress like so many other new algorithms try to do, it embraces change and adapts to it in the way that water becomes whatever vessel it inhabits. This new approach- an industry first- could very well become an industry standard and in doing so, would usher in a new age for proof of work based coins. VerusHash 2.0 has the potential to correct the single largest design flaw in the proof of work consensus mechanism- the ever expanding monetary and energy requirements that have plagued PoW based projects since the inception of the consensus mechanism. Verus also solves another major issue of coin and net hash centralization by enabling legitimate CPU mining, offering greater coin and hashrate distribution.
Digging a bit deeper it turns out the Verus development team are no rookies. The lead developer Michael F Toutonghi has spent decades in the field programming and is a former Vice President and Technical Fellow at Microsoft, recognized founder and architect of Microsoft's .Net platform, ex-Technical Fellow of Microsoft's advertising platform, ex-CTO, Parallels Corporation, and an experienced distributed computing and machine learning architect. The project he helped create employs and makes use of a diverse myriad of technologies and security features to form one of the most advanced and secure cryptocurrency to date. A brief description of what makes VerusCoin special quoted from a community member-
"Verus has a unique and new consensus algorithm called Proof of Power which is a 50% PoW/50% PoS algorithm that solves theoretical weaknesses in other PoS systems (Nothing at Stake problem for example) and is provably immune to 51% hash attacks. With this, Verus uses the new hash algorithm, VerusHash 2.0. VerusHash 2.0 is designed to better equalize mining across all hardware platforms, while favoring the latest CPUs over older types, which is also one defense against the centralizing potential of botnets. Unlike past efforts to equalize hardware hash-rates across different hardware types, VerusHash 2.0 explicitly enables CPUs to gain even more power relative to GPUs and FPGAs, enabling the most decentralizing hardware, CPUs (due to their virtually complete market penetration), to stay relevant as miners for the indefinite future. As for anonymity, Verus is not a "forced private", allowing for both transparent and shielded (private) transactions...and private messages as well"
If other projects can learn from this and adopt a similar approach or continue to innovate with new ideas, it could mean an end to all the doom and gloom predictions that CPU and GPU mining are dead, offering a much needed reprieve and an alternative to miners who have been faced with the difficult decision of either pulling the plug and shutting down shop or breaking down their rigs to sell off parts and buy new, more expensive hardware…and in so doing present an overall unprecedented level of decentralization not yet seen in cryptocurrency.
Technological advancements led us to the world of secure digital currencies and the progress being made with hardware efficiencies is indisputably beneficial to us all. ASICs and FPGAs aren’t inherently bad, and there are ways in which they could be made more affordable and available for mass distribution. More than anything, it is important that we work together as communities to find solutions that can benefit us all for the long term.
In an ever changing world where it may be easy to lose sight of the real accomplishments that brought us to this point one thing is certain, cryptocurrency is here to stay and the projects that are doing something to solve the current problems in the proof of work consensus mechanism will be the ones that lead us toward our collective vision of a better world- not just for the world of crypto but for each and every one of us.
submitted by Godballz to EtherMining [link] [comments]

The Problem with PoW

The Problem with PoW

Miners have always had it rough..
"Frustrated Miners"


The Problem with PoW
(and what is being done to solve it)

Proof of Work (PoW) is one of the most commonly used consensus mechanisms entrusted to secure and validate many of today’s most successful cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin being one. Battle-hardened and having weathered the test of time, Bitcoin has demonstrated the undeniable strength and reliability of the PoW consensus model through sheer market saturation, and of course, its persistency.
In addition to the cost of powerful computing hardware, miners prove that they are benefiting the network by expending energy in the form of electricity, by solving and hashing away complex math problems on their computers, utilizing any suitable tools that they have at their disposal. The mathematics involved in securing proof of work revolve around unique algorithms, each with their own benefits and vulnerabilities, and can require different software/hardware to mine depending on the coin.
Because each block has a unique and entirely random hash, or “puzzle” to solve, the “work” has to be performed for each block individually and the difficulty of the problem can be increased as the speed at which blocks are solved increases.
Hashrates and Hardware Types
While proof of work is an effective means of securing a blockchain, it inherently promotes competition amongst miners seeking higher and higher hashrates due to the rewards earned by the node who wins the right to add the next block. In turn, these higher hash rates benefit the blockchain, providing better security when it’s a result of a well distributed/decentralized network of miners.
When Bitcoin first launched its genesis block, it was mined exclusively by CPUs. Over the years, various programmers and developers have devised newer, faster, and more energy efficient ways to generate higher hashrates; some by perfecting the software end of things, and others, when the incentives are great enough, create expensive specialized hardware such as ASICs (application-specific integrated circuit). With the express purpose of extracting every last bit of hashing power, efficiency being paramount, ASICs are stripped down, bare minimum, hardware representations of a specific coin’s algorithm.
This gives ASICS a massive advantage in terms of raw hashing power and also in terms of energy consumption against CPUs/GPUs, but with significant drawbacks of being very expensive to design/manufacture, translating to a high economic barrier for the casual miner. Due to the fact that they are virtual hardware representations of a single targeted algorithm, this means that if a project decides to fork and change algorithms suddenly, your powerful brand-new ASIC becomes a very expensive paperweight. The high costs in developing and manufacturing ASICs and the associated risks involved, make them unfit for mass adoption at this time.
Somewhere on the high end, in the vast hashrate expanse created between GPU and ASIC, sits the FPGA (field programmable gate array). FPGAs are basically ASICs that make some compromises with efficiency in order to have more flexibility, namely they are reprogrammable and often used in the “field” to test an algorithm before implementing it in an ASIC. As a precursor to the ASIC, FPGAs are somewhat similar to GPUs in their flexibility, but require advanced programming skills and, like ASICs, are expensive and still fairly uncommon.
2 Guys 1 ASIC
One of the issues with proof of work incentivizing the pursuit of higher hashrates is in how the network calculates block reward coinbase payouts and rewards miners based on the work that they have submitted. If a coin generated, say a block a minute, and this is a constant, then what happens if more miners jump on a network and do more work? The network cannot pay out more than 1 block reward per 1 minute, and so a difficulty mechanism is used to maintain balance. The difficulty will scale up and down in response to the overall nethash, so if many miners join the network, or extremely high hashing devices such as ASICs or FPGAs jump on, the network will respond accordingly, using the difficulty mechanism to make the problems harder, effectively giving an edge to hardware that can solve them faster, balancing the network. This not only maintains the block a minute reward but it has the added side-effect of energy requirements that scale up with network adoption.
Imagine, for example, if one miner gets on a network all alone with a CPU doing 50 MH/s and is getting all 100 coins that can possibly be paid out in a day. Then, if another miner jumps on the network with the same CPU, each miner would receive 50 coins in a day instead of 100 since they are splitting the required work evenly, despite the fact that the net electrical output has doubled along with the work. Electricity costs miner’s money and is a factor in driving up coin price along with adoption, and since more people are now mining, the coin is less centralized. Now let’s say a large corporation has found it profitable to manufacture an ASIC for this coin, knowing they will make their money back mining it or selling the units to professionals. They join the network doing 900 MH/s and will be pulling in 90 coins a day, while the two guys with their CPUs each get 5 now. Those two guys aren’t very happy, but the corporation is. Not only does this negatively affect the miners, it compromises the security of the entire network by centralizing the coin supply and hashrate, opening the doors to double spends and 51% attacks from potential malicious actors. Uncertainty of motives and questionable validity in a distributed ledger do not mix.
When technology advances in a field, it is usually applauded and welcomed with open arms, but in the world of crypto things can work quite differently. One of the glaring flaws in the current model and the advent of specialized hardware is that it’s never ending. Suppose the two men from the rather extreme example above took out a loan to get themselves that ASIC they heard about that can get them 90 coins a day? When they join the other ASIC on the network, the difficulty adjusts to keep daily payouts consistent at 100, and they will each receive only 33 coins instead of 90 since the reward is now being split three ways. Now what happens if a better ASIC is released by that corporation? Hopefully, those two guys were able to pay off their loans and sell their old ASICs before they became obsolete.
This system, as it stands now, only perpetuates a never ending hashrate arms race in which the weapons of choice are usually a combination of efficiency, economics, profitability and in some cases control.
Implications of Centralization
This brings us to another big concern with expensive specialized hardware: the risk of centralization. Because they are so expensive and inaccessible to the casual miner, ASICs and FPGAs predominantly remain limited to a select few. Centralization occurs when one small group or a single entity controls the vast majority hash power and, as a result, coin supply and is able to exert its influence to manipulate the market or in some cases, the network itself (usually the case of dishonest nodes or bad actors).
This is entirely antithetical of what cryptocurrency was born of, and since its inception many concerted efforts have been made to avoid centralization at all costs. An entity in control of a centralized coin would have the power to manipulate the price, and having a centralized hashrate would enable them to affect network usability, reliability, and even perform double spends leading to the demise of a coin, among other things.
The world of crypto is a strange new place, with rapidly growing advancements across many fields, economies, and boarders, leaving plenty of room for improvement; while it may feel like a never-ending game of catch up, there are many talented developers and programmers working around the clock to bring us all more sustainable solutions.
The Rise of FPGAs
With the recent implementation of the commonly used coding language C++, and due to their overall flexibility, FPGAs are becoming somewhat more common, especially in larger farms and in industrial setting; but they still remain primarily out of the hands of most mining enthusiasts and almost unheard of to the average hobby miner. Things appear to be changing though, one example of which I’ll discuss below, and it is thought by some, that soon we will see a day when mining with a CPU or GPU just won’t cut it any longer, and the market will be dominated by FPGAs and specialized ASICs, bringing with them efficiency gains for proof of work, while also carelessly leading us all towards the next round of spending.
A perfect real-world example of the effect specialized hardware has had on the crypto-community was recently discovered involving a fairly new project called VerusCoin and a fairly new, relatively more economically accessible FPGA. The FPGA is designed to target specific alt-coins whose algo’s do not require RAM overhead. It was discovered the company had released a new algorithm, kept secret from the public, which could effectively mine Verus at 20x the speed of GPUs, which were the next fastest hardware types mining on the Verus network.
Unfortunately this was done with a deliberately secret approach, calling the Verus algorithm “Algo1” and encouraging owners of the FPGA to never speak of the algorithm in public channels, admonishing a user when they did let the cat out of the bag. The problem with this business model is that it is parasitic in nature. In an ecosystem where advancements can benefit the entire crypto community, this sort of secret mining approach also does not support the philosophies set forth by the Bitcoin or subsequent open source and decentralization movements.
Although this was not done in the spirit of open source, it does hint to an important step in hardware innovation where we could see more efficient specialized systems within reach of the casual miner. The FPGA requires unique sets of data called a bitstream in order to be able to recognize each individual coin’s algorithm and mine them. Because it’s reprogrammable, with the support of a strong development team creating such bitstreams, the miner doesn’t end up with a brick if an algorithm changes.
All is not lost thanks to.. um.. Technology?
Shortly after discovering FPGAs on the network, the Verus developers quickly designed, tested, and implemented a new, much more complex and improved algorithm via a fork that enabled Verus to transition smoothly from VerusHash 1.0 to VerusHash 2.0 at block 310,000. Since the fork, VerusHash 2.0 has demonstrated doing exactly what it was designed for- equalizing hardware performance relative to the device being used while enabling CPUs (the most widely available “ASICs”) to mine side by side with GPUs, at a profit and it appears this will also apply to other specialized hardware. This is something no other project has been able to do until now. Rather than pursue the folly of so many other projects before it- attempting to be “ASIC proof”, Verus effectively achieved and presents to the world an entirely new model of “hardware homogeny”. As the late, great, Bruce Lee once said- “Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.”
In the design of VerusHash 2.0, Verus has shown it doesn’t resist progress like so many other new algorithms try to do, it embraces change and adapts to it in the way that water becomes whatever vessel it inhabits. This new approach- an industry first- could very well become an industry standard and in doing so, would usher in a new age for proof of work based coins. VerusHash 2.0 has the potential to correct the single largest design flaw in the proof of work consensus mechanism- the ever expanding monetary and energy requirements that have plagued PoW based projects since the inception of the consensus mechanism. Verus also solves another major issue of coin and net hash centralization by enabling legitimate CPU mining, offering greater coin and hashrate distribution.
Digging a bit deeper it turns out the Verus development team are no rookies. The lead developer Michael F Toutonghi has spent decades in the field programming and is a former Vice President and Technical Fellow at Microsoft, recognized founder and architect of Microsoft's .Net platform, ex-Technical Fellow of Microsoft's advertising platform, ex-CTO, Parallels Corporation, and an experienced distributed computing and machine learning architect. The project he helped create employs and makes use of a diverse myriad of technologies and security features to form one of the most advanced and secure cryptocurrency to date. A brief description of what makes VerusCoin special quoted from a community member-
"Verus has a unique and new consensus algorithm called Proof of Power which is a 50% PoW/50% PoS algorithm that solves theoretical weaknesses in other PoS systems (Nothing at Stake problem for example) and is provably immune to 51% hash attacks. With this, Verus uses the new hash algorithm, VerusHash 2.0. VerusHash 2.0 is designed to better equalize mining across all hardware platforms, while favoring the latest CPUs over older types, which is also one defense against the centralizing potential of botnets. Unlike past efforts to equalize hardware hash-rates across different hardware types, VerusHash 2.0 explicitly enables CPUs to gain even more power relative to GPUs and FPGAs, enabling the most decentralizing hardware, CPUs (due to their virtually complete market penetration), to stay relevant as miners for the indefinite future. As for anonymity, Verus is not a "forced private", allowing for both transparent and shielded (private) transactions...and private messages as well"
If other projects can learn from this and adopt a similar approach or continue to innovate with new ideas, it could mean an end to all the doom and gloom predictions that CPU and GPU mining are dead, offering a much needed reprieve and an alternative to miners who have been faced with the difficult decision of either pulling the plug and shutting down shop or breaking down their rigs to sell off parts and buy new, more expensive hardware…and in so doing present an overall unprecedented level of decentralization not yet seen in cryptocurrency.
Technological advancements led us to the world of secure digital currencies and the progress being made with hardware efficiencies is indisputably beneficial to us all. ASICs and FPGAs aren’t inherently bad, and there are ways in which they could be made more affordable and available for mass distribution. More than anything, it is important that we work together as communities to find solutions that can benefit us all for the long term.
In an ever changing world where it may be easy to lose sight of the real accomplishments that brought us to this point one thing is certain, cryptocurrency is here to stay and the projects that are doing something to solve the current problems in the proof of work consensus mechanism will be the ones that lead us toward our collective vision of a better world- not just for the world of crypto but for each and every one of us.
submitted by Godballz to gpumining [link] [comments]

The Problem with PoW

"Frustrated Miners"

The Problem with PoW
(and what is being done to solve it)

Proof of Work (PoW) is one of the most commonly used consensus mechanisms entrusted to secure and validate many of today’s most successful cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin being one. Battle-hardened and having weathered the test of time, Bitcoin has demonstrated the undeniable strength and reliability of the PoW consensus model through sheer market saturation, and of course, its persistency.
In addition to the cost of powerful computing hardware, miners prove that they are benefiting the network by expending energy in the form of electricity, by solving and hashing away complex math problems on their computers, utilizing any suitable tools that they have at their disposal. The mathematics involved in securing proof of work revolve around unique algorithms, each with their own benefits and vulnerabilities, and can require different software/hardware to mine depending on the coin.
Because each block has a unique and entirely random hash, or “puzzle” to solve, the “work” has to be performed for each block individually and the difficulty of the problem can be increased as the speed at which blocks are solved increases.

Hashrates and Hardware Types

While proof of work is an effective means of securing a blockchain, it inherently promotes competition amongst miners seeking higher and higher hashrates due to the rewards earned by the node who wins the right to add the next block. In turn, these higher hash rates benefit the blockchain, providing better security when it’s a result of a well distributed/decentralized network of miners.
When Bitcoin first launched its genesis block, it was mined exclusively by CPUs. Over the years, various programmers and developers have devised newer, faster, and more energy efficient ways to generate higher hashrates; some by perfecting the software end of things, and others, when the incentives are great enough, create expensive specialized hardware such as ASICs (application-specific integrated circuit). With the express purpose of extracting every last bit of hashing power, efficiency being paramount, ASICs are stripped down, bare minimum, hardware representations of a specific coin’s algorithm.
This gives ASICS a massive advantage in terms of raw hashing power and also in terms of energy consumption against CPUs/GPUs, but with significant drawbacks of being very expensive to design/manufacture, translating to a high economic barrier for the casual miner. Due to the fact that they are virtual hardware representations of a single targeted algorithm, this means that if a project decides to fork and change algorithms suddenly, your powerful brand-new ASIC becomes a very expensive paperweight. The high costs in developing and manufacturing ASICs and the associated risks involved, make them unfit for mass adoption at this time.
Somewhere on the high end, in the vast hashrate expanse created between GPU and ASIC, sits the FPGA (field programmable gate array). FPGAs are basically ASICs that make some compromises with efficiency in order to have more flexibility, namely they are reprogrammable and often used in the “field” to test an algorithm before implementing it in an ASIC. As a precursor to the ASIC, FPGAs are somewhat similar to GPUs in their flexibility, but require advanced programming skills and, like ASICs, are expensive and still fairly uncommon.

2 Guys 1 ASIC

One of the issues with proof of work incentivizing the pursuit of higher hashrates is in how the network calculates block reward coinbase payouts and rewards miners based on the work that they have submitted. If a coin generated, say a block a minute, and this is a constant, then what happens if more miners jump on a network and do more work? The network cannot pay out more than 1 block reward per 1 minute, and so a difficulty mechanism is used to maintain balance. The difficulty will scale up and down in response to the overall nethash, so if many miners join the network, or extremely high hashing devices such as ASICs or FPGAs jump on, the network will respond accordingly, using the difficulty mechanism to make the problems harder, effectively giving an edge to hardware that can solve them faster, balancing the network. This not only maintains the block a minute reward but it has the added side-effect of energy requirements that scale up with network adoption.
Imagine, for example, if one miner gets on a network all alone with a CPU doing 50 MH/s and is getting all 100 coins that can possibly be paid out in a day. Then, if another miner jumps on the network with the same CPU, each miner would receive 50 coins in a day instead of 100 since they are splitting the required work evenly, despite the fact that the net electrical output has doubled along with the work. Electricity costs miner’s money and is a factor in driving up coin price along with adoption, and since more people are now mining, the coin is less centralized. Now let’s say a large corporation has found it profitable to manufacture an ASIC for this coin, knowing they will make their money back mining it or selling the units to professionals. They join the network doing 900 MH/s and will be pulling in 90 coins a day, while the two guys with their CPUs each get 5 now. Those two guys aren’t very happy, but the corporation is. Not only does this negatively affect the miners, it compromises the security of the entire network by centralizing the coin supply and hashrate, opening the doors to double spends and 51% attacks from potential malicious actors. Uncertainty of motives and questionable validity in a distributed ledger do not mix.
When technology advances in a field, it is usually applauded and welcomed with open arms, but in the world of crypto things can work quite differently. One of the glaring flaws in the current model and the advent of specialized hardware is that it’s never ending. Suppose the two men from the rather extreme example above took out a loan to get themselves that ASIC they heard about that can get them 90 coins a day? When they join the other ASIC on the network, the difficulty adjusts to keep daily payouts consistent at 100, and they will each receive only 33 coins instead of 90 since the reward is now being split three ways. Now what happens if a better ASIC is released by that corporation? Hopefully, those two guys were able to pay off their loans and sell their old ASICs before they became obsolete.
This system, as it stands now, only perpetuates a never ending hashrate arms race in which the weapons of choice are usually a combination of efficiency, economics, profitability and in some cases control.

Implications of Centralization

This brings us to another big concern with expensive specialized hardware: the risk of centralization. Because they are so expensive and inaccessible to the casual miner, ASICs and FPGAs predominantly remain limited to a select few. Centralization occurs when one small group or a single entity controls the vast majority hash power and, as a result, coin supply and is able to exert its influence to manipulate the market or in some cases, the network itself (usually the case of dishonest nodes or bad actors).
This is entirely antithetical of what cryptocurrency was born of, and since its inception many concerted efforts have been made to avoid centralization at all costs. An entity in control of a centralized coin would have the power to manipulate the price, and having a centralized hashrate would enable them to affect network usability, reliability, and even perform double spends leading to the demise of a coin, among other things.
The world of crypto is a strange new place, with rapidly growing advancements across many fields, economies, and boarders, leaving plenty of room for improvement; while it may feel like a never-ending game of catch up, there are many talented developers and programmers working around the clock to bring us all more sustainable solutions.

The Rise of FPGAs

With the recent implementation of the commonly used coding language C++, and due to their overall flexibility, FPGAs are becoming somewhat more common, especially in larger farms and in industrial setting; but they still remain primarily out of the hands of most mining enthusiasts and almost unheard of to the average hobby miner. Things appear to be changing though, one example of which I’ll discuss below, and it is thought by some, that soon we will see a day when mining with a CPU or GPU just won’t cut it any longer, and the market will be dominated by FPGAs and specialized ASICs, bringing with them efficiency gains for proof of work, while also carelessly leading us all towards the next round of spending.
A perfect real-world example of the effect specialized hardware has had on the crypto-community was recently discovered involving a fairly new project called Verus Coin (https://veruscoin.io/) and a fairly new, relatively more economically accessible FPGA. The FPGA is designed to target specific alt-coins whose algo’s do not require RAM overhead. It was discovered the company had released a new algorithm, kept secret from the public, which could effectively mine Verus at 20x the speed of GPUs, which were the next fastest hardware types mining on the Verus network.
Unfortunately this was done with a deliberately secret approach, calling the Verus algorithm “Algo1” and encouraging owners of the FPGA to never speak of the algorithm in public channels, admonishing a user when they did let the cat out of the bag. The problem with this business model is that it is parasitic in nature. In an ecosystem where advancements can benefit the entire crypto community, this sort of secret mining approach also does not support the philosophies set forth by the Bitcoin or subsequent open source and decentralization movements.
Although this was not done in the spirit of open source, it does hint to an important step in hardware innovation where we could see more efficient specialized systems within reach of the casual miner. The FPGA requires unique sets of data called a bitstream in order to be able to recognize each individual coin’s algorithm and mine them. Because it’s reprogrammable, with the support of a strong development team creating such bitstreams, the miner doesn’t end up with a brick if an algorithm changes.

All is not lost thanks to.. um.. Technology?

Shortly after discovering FPGAs on the network, the Verus developers quickly designed, tested, and implemented a new, much more complex and improved algorithm via a fork that enabled Verus to transition smoothly from VerusHash 1.0 to VerusHash 2.0 at block 310,000. Since the fork, VerusHash 2.0 has demonstrated doing exactly what it was designed for- equalizing hardware performance relative to the device being used while enabling CPUs (the most widely available “ASICs”) to mine side by side with GPUs, at a profit and it appears this will also apply to other specialized hardware. This is something no other project has been able to do until now. Rather than pursue the folly of so many other projects before it- attempting to be “ASIC proof”, Verus effectively achieved and presents to the world an entirely new model of “hardware homogeny”. As the late, great, Bruce Lee once said- “Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.”
In the design of VerusHash 2.0, Verus has shown it doesn’t resist progress like so many other new algorithms try to do, it embraces change and adapts to it in the way that water becomes whatever vessel it inhabits. This new approach- an industry first- could very well become an industry standard and in doing so, would usher in a new age for proof of work based coins. VerusHash 2.0 has the potential to correct the single largest design flaw in the proof of work consensus mechanism- the ever expanding monetary and energy requirements that have plagued PoW based projects since the inception of the consensus mechanism. Verus also solves another major issue of coin and net hash centralization by enabling legitimate CPU mining, offering greater coin and hashrate distribution.
Digging a bit deeper it turns out the Verus development team are no rookies. The lead developer Michael F Toutonghi has spent decades in the field programming and is a former Vice President and Technical Fellow at Microsoft, recognized founder and architect of Microsoft's .Net platform, ex-Technical Fellow of Microsoft's advertising platform, ex-CTO, Parallels Corporation, and an experienced distributed computing and machine learning architect. The project he helped create employs and makes use of a diverse myriad of technologies and security features to form one of the most advanced and secure cryptocurrency to date. A brief description of what makes VerusCoin special quoted from a community member-
"Verus has a unique and new consensus algorithm called Proof of Power which is a 50% PoW/50% PoS algorithm that solves theoretical weaknesses in other PoS systems (Nothing at Stake problem for example) and is provably immune to 51% hash attacks. With this, Verus uses the new hash algorithm, VerusHash 2.0. VerusHash 2.0 is designed to better equalize mining across all hardware platforms, while favoring the latest CPUs over older types, which is also one defense against the centralizing potential of botnets. Unlike past efforts to equalize hardware hash-rates across different hardware types, VerusHash 2.0 explicitly enables CPUs to gain even more power relative to GPUs and FPGAs, enabling the most decentralizing hardware, CPUs (due to their virtually complete market penetration), to stay relevant as miners for the indefinite future. As for anonymity, Verus is not a "forced private", allowing for both transparent and shielded (private) transactions...and private messages as well"

If other projects can learn from this and adopt a similar approach or continue to innovate with new ideas, it could mean an end to all the doom and gloom predictions that CPU and GPU mining are dead, offering a much needed reprieve and an alternative to miners who have been faced with the difficult decision of either pulling the plug and shutting down shop or breaking down their rigs to sell off parts and buy new, more expensive hardware…and in so doing present an overall unprecedented level of decentralization not yet seen in cryptocurrency.
Technological advancements led us to the world of secure digital currencies and the progress being made with hardware efficiencies is indisputably beneficial to us all. ASICs and FPGAs aren’t inherently bad, and there are ways in which they could be made more affordable and available for mass distribution. More than anything, it is important that we work together as communities to find solutions that can benefit us all for the long term.

In an ever changing world where it may be easy to lose sight of the real accomplishments that brought us to this point one thing is certain, cryptocurrency is here to stay and the projects that are doing something to solve the current problems in the proof of work consensus mechanism will be the ones that lead us toward our collective vision of a better world- not just for the world of crypto but for each and every one of us.
submitted by Godballz to CryptoTechnology [link] [comments]

Why is getting into FPGA's such a crappy experience?

I'm a hobbyist and this is my first venture into FPGA's. I understand how FPGA works in theory. It's just a bunch of combinational logic connected by clock-connected flip-flops, whose topology and combinational functions can be programmed with a high level language. I bought a Xilinx board from embeddedmicro.com and I'm going to work through their tutorials.
All I want to be able to do is specify a bunch of like registers and crap, and how to connect them with clocked flip-flops to do some really basic stuff like a simple CPU with 1-2 custom instructions or something. So why do I have to download a GIANT SIX GIGABYTE FILE TO DO THAT? What could this software possibly be doing that it needs to be that big?
In a sane world, all I'd need is a board and a simple compiler which just takes the high-level language and turns it into the topology file to upload to the board. But in the insanity in which I am currently living, I have to download some gigantic IDE that is going to be huge and probably slower than mining bitcoins on an NES. I don't know because IT'S STILL DOWNLOADING.
So to even get to the download, I had to log into the website, register, and give them a name and a physical address (and God forbid I should leave the "Company" field empty!). The Licensing crap on their website looks like you need an MBA to understand it. This company sells pieces of hardware, FFS! Why in Stallman's name can't they just make the software FOSS and let anyone download it instead of all this BS about WEBPACK this and annual upgrade that?
Xilinx, in case you haven't noticed, in order for anyone to actually use your software, THEY HAVE TO BUY A CHIP OR BOARD AND YOU CAN MAKE MONEY OFF YOUR CUSTOMERS THAT WAY. CHARGING FOR SOFTWARE OR HAVING A BYZANTINE PROCESS FOR GETTING A FREE LICENSE MAKES ZERO SENSE FOR A HARDWARE COMPANY.
Anyone know a place where you can just buy an FPGA board, plug it into a USB port, sudo apt-get install some FOSS compiler, type your Verilog or VHDL or whatever into emacs, run 2-5 commands and have a running design?
If such a place doesn't exist, some startup needs to disrupt this industry. If you make it easy for people to develop for your HW, those devs will be inclined buy your product just to make their lives easier.
submitted by white_nerdy to FPGA [link] [comments]

The rise of specialized hardware (particularly FPGAs) and its impact on the mining community

The rise of specialized hardware (particularly FPGAs) and its impact on the mining community

Proof of Work (PoW) is one of the most commonly used consensus mechanisms entrusted to secure and validate many of today’s most successful cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin being one. Battle-hardened and having weathered the test of time, Bitcoin has demonstrated the undeniable strength and reliability of the PoW consensus model through sheer market saturation, and of course, its persistency.

In addition to the cost of powerful computing hardware, miners prove that they are benefiting the network by expending energy in the form of electricity, by solving and hashing away complex math problems on their computers, utilizing any suitable tools that they have at their disposal. The mathematics involved in securing proof of work revolve around unique algorithms, each with their own benefits and vulnerabilities, and can require different software/hardware to mine depending on the coin.

Because each block has a unique and entirely random hash, or “puzzle” to solve, the “work” has to be performed for each block individually and the difficulty of the problem can be increased as the speed at which blocks are solved increases.

Hashrates and Hardware Types
While proof of work is an effective means of securing a blockchain, it inherently promotes competition amongst miners seeking higher and higher hashrates due to the rewards earned by the node who wins the right to add the next block. In turn, these higher hash rates benefit the blockchain, providing better security when it’s a result of a well distributed/decentralized network of miners.

When Bitcoin first launched its genesis block, it was mined exclusively by CPUs. Over the years, various programmers and developers have devised newer, faster, and more energy efficient ways to generate higher hashrates; some by perfecting the software end of things, and others, when the incentives are great enough, create expensive specialized hardware such as ASICs (application-specific integrated circuit). With the express purpose of extracting every last bit of hashing power, efficiency being paramount, ASICs are stripped down, bare minimum, hardware representations of a specific coin’s algorithm.

This gives ASICS a massive advantage in terms of raw hashing power and also in terms of energy consumption against CPUs/GPUs, but with significant drawbacks of being very expensive to design/manufacture, translating to a high economic barrier for the casual miner. Due to the fact that they are virtual hardware representations of a single targeted algorithm, this means that if a project decides to fork and change algorithms suddenly, your powerful brand-new ASIC becomes a very expensive paperweight. The high costs in developing and manufacturing ASICs and the associated risks involved, make them unfit for mass adoption at this time.

Somewhere on the high end, in the vast hashrate expanse created between GPU and ASIC, sits the FPGA (field programmable gate array). FPGAs are basically ASICs that make some compromises with efficiency in order to have more flexibility, namely they are reprogrammable and often used in the “field” to test an algorithm before implementing it in an ASIC. As a precursor to the ASIC, FPGAs are somewhat similar to GPUs in their flexibility, but require advanced programming skills and, like ASICs, are expensive and still fairly uncommon.

The Arms Race of the Geek
One of the issues with proof of work incentivizing the pursuit of higher hashrates is in how the network calculates block reward coinbase payouts and rewards miners based on the work that they have submitted. If a coin generated, say a block a minute, and this is a constant, then what happens if more miners jump on a network and do more work? The network cannot pay out more than 1 block reward per 1 minute, and so a difficulty mechanism is used to maintain balance. The difficulty will scale up and down in response to the overall nethash, so if many miners join the network, or extremely high hashing devices such as ASICs or FPGAs jump on, the network will respond accordingly, using the difficulty mechanism to make the problems harder, effectively giving an edge to hardware that can solve them faster, balancing the network. This not only maintains the block a minute reward but it has the added side-effect of energy requirements that scale up with network adoption.

Imagine, for example, if one miner gets on a network all alone with a CPU doing 50 MH/s and is getting all 100 coins that can possibly be paid out in a day. Then, if another miner jumps on the network with the same CPU, each miner would receive 50 coins in a day instead of 100 since they are splitting the required work evenly, despite the fact that the net electrical output has doubled along with the work. Electricity costs miner’s money and is a factor in driving up coin price along with adoption, and since more people are now mining, the coin is less centralized. Now let’s say a large corporation has found it profitable to manufacture an ASIC for this coin, knowing they will make their money back mining it or selling the units to professionals. They join the network doing 900 MH/s and will be pulling in 90 coins a day, while the two guys with their CPUs each get 5 now. Those two guys aren’t very happy, but the corporation is. Not only does this negatively affect the miners, it compromises the security of the entire network by centralizing the coin supply and hashrate, opening the doors to double spends and 51% attacks from potential malicious actors. Uncertainty of motives and questionable validity in a distributed ledger do not mix.

When technology advances in a field, it is usually applauded and welcomed with open arms, but in the world of crypto things can work quite differently. One of the glaring flaws in the current model and the advent of specialized hardware is that it’s never ending. Suppose the two men from the rather extreme example above took out a loan to get themselves that ASIC they heard about that can get them 90 coins a day? When they join the other ASIC on the network, the difficulty adjusts to keep daily payouts consistent at 100, and they will each receive only 33 coins instead of 90 since the reward is now being split three ways. Now what happens if a better ASIC is released by that corporation? Hopefully, those two guys were able to pay off their loans and sell their old ASICs before they became obsolete.

This system, as it stands now, only perpetuates a never ending hashrate arms race in which the weapons of choice are usually a combination of efficiency, economics, profitability and in some cases control.

Implications of Centralization
This brings us to another big concern with expensive specialized hardware: the risk of centralization. Because they are so expensive and inaccessible to the casual miner, ASICs and FPGAs predominantly remain limited to a select few. Centralization occurs when one small group or a single entity controls the vast majority hash power and, as a result, coin supply and is able to exert its influence to manipulate the market or in some cases, the network itself (usually the case of dishonest nodes or bad actors).

This is entirely antithetical of what cryptocurrency was born of, and since its inception many concerted efforts have been made to avoid centralization at all costs. An entity in control of a centralized coin would have the power to manipulate the price, and having a centralized hashrate would enable them to affect network usability, reliability, and even perform double spends leading to the demise of a coin, among other things.

The world of crypto is a strange new place, with rapidly growing advancements across many fields, economies, and boarders, leaving plenty of room for improvement; while it may feel like a never-ending game of catch up, there are many talented developers and programmers working around the clock to bring us all more sustainable solutions.

The Rise of FPGAs
With the recent implementation of the commonly used coding language C++, and due to their overall flexibility, FPGAs are becoming somewhat more common, especially in larger farms and in industrial setting; but they still remain primarily out of the hands of most mining enthusiasts and almost unheard of to the average hobby miner. Things appear to be changing though, one example of which I’ll discuss below, and it is thought by some, that soon we will see a day when mining with a CPU or GPU just won’t cut it any longer, and the market will be dominated by FPGAs and specialized ASICs, bringing with them efficiency gains for proof of work, while also carelessly leading us all towards the next round of spending.

A real-world example of the effect specialized hardware has had on the crypto-community was recently discovered involving a fairly new project called Verus Coin (https://veruscoin.io/) and a fairly new, relatively more economically accessible FPGA. The FPGA is designed to target specific alt-coins whose algo’s do not require RAM overhead. It was discovered the company had released a new algorithm, kept secret from the public, which could effectively mine Verus at 20x the speed of GPUs, which were the next fastest hardware types mining on the Verus network.

Unfortunately this was done with a deliberately secret approach, calling the Verus algorithm “Algo1” and encouraging owners of the FPGA to never speak of the algorithm in public channels, admonishing a user when they did let the cat out of the bag. The problem with this business model is that it is parasitic in nature. In an ecosystem where advancements can benefit the entire crypto community, this sort of secret mining approach also does not support the philosophies set forth by the Bitcoin or subsequent open source and decentralization movements.

Although this was not done in the spirit of open source, it does hint to an important step in hardware innovation where we could see more efficient specialized systems within reach of the casual miner. The FPGA requires unique sets of data called a bitstream in order to be able to recognize each individual coin’s algorithm and mine them. Because it’s reprogrammable, with the support of a strong development team creating such bitstreams, the miner doesn’t end up with a brick if an algorithm changes.

Inclusive Hardware Equalization, Security, Decentralization
Shortly after discovering FPGAs on the network, the Verus developers quickly designed, tested, and implemented a new, much more complex and improved algorithm via a fork that enabled Verus to transition smoothly from VerusHash 1.0 to VerusHash 2.0 at block 310,000. Since the fork, VerusHash 2.0 has demonstrated doing exactly what it was designed for- equalizing hardware performance relative to the device being used while enabling CPUs (the most widely available “ASICs”) to mine side by side with GPUs, at a profit and it appears this will also apply to other specialized hardware. This is something no other project has been able to do until now. Rather than pursue the folly of so many other projects before it- attempting to be “ASIC proof”, Verus effectively achieved and presents to the world an entirely new model of “hardware homogeny”. As the late, great, Bruce Lee once said- “Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.”

In the design of VerusHash 2.0, Verus has shown it doesn’t resist progress like so many other new algorithms try to do, it embraces change and adapts to it in the way that water becomes whatever vessel it inhabits. This new approach- an industry first- could very well become an industry standard and in doing so, would usher in a new age for proof of work based coins. VerusHash 2.0 has the potential to correct the single largest design flaw in the proof of work consensus mechanism- the ever expanding monetary and energy requirements that have plagued PoW based projects since the inception of the consensus mechanism. Verus also solves another major issue of coin and net hash centralization by enabling legitimate CPU mining, offering greater coin and hashrate distribution.

If other projects adopt Verus’ new algorithm- VerusHash 2.0, it could mean an end to all the doom and gloom predictions that CPU and GPU mining are dead, offering a much needed reprieve and an alternative to miners who have been faced with the difficult decision of either pulling the plug and shutting down shop or breaking down their rigs to sell off parts and buy new, more expensive hardware…and in so doing presents an overall unprecedented level of decentralization not seen in cryptocurrency.

Technological advancements led us to the world of secure digital currencies and the progress being made with hardware efficiencies is indisputably beneficial to us all. ASICs and FPGAs aren’t inherently bad, and there are ways in which they could be made more affordable and available for mass distribution. More than anything, it is important that we work together as communities to find solutions that can benefit us all for the long term.

In an ever changing world where it may be easy to lose sight of the real accomplishments that brought us to this point one thing is certain, VerusHash 2.0 is a shining beacon of hope and a lasting testament to the project’s unwavering dedication to it’s vision of a better world- not just for the world of crypto but for each and every one of us.
submitted by Godballz to CryptoTechnology [link] [comments]

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