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Monday 20 November 2017
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ASIC Mining For the Rest of Us

Taking a closer look at the Gridseed ASIC miners

Between Bloomberg’s flawed but prominent obituary of the small-scale Bitcoin mining industry, to brand name miner manufacturers facing lawsuits from unhappy customers, the prevailing attitude is things are not well in the cryptocurrency mining sector. Most people think:  Mining is not profitable unless one makes a massive investment in the mid six figures; many companies that produce Bitcoin miners can’t deliver as promised or deliver at all.

While Bitcoin commands most of the attention from media and investors, there are also other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Dogecoin and Peercoin that are collectively known as Altcoins. Unlike the Bitcoin market, Altcoin markets do not have similar saturation levels. That means that mining is much more accessible, and doesn’t require a major investment in equipment.

Fortunately there’s an alternative with the Gridseed ASIC mining kit and “Altcoins”. Both CPU and GPGPU Altcoin mining is much more efficient than it used to be, but when scaled up heat and power draw proves to be a problem.  Until now the small altcoin mining community had to rely simply on CPUs or GPGPU (when the CPU is assisted by the GPU) computing to mine coins. Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) which are the only way to profitably mine bitcoins were not available to mine Altcoins because they are specifically designed to attack the SHA256 encryption algorithm used in Bitcoin, while Altcoins use a different algorithm called SCRYPT.

Like well known ASIC miners from companies like KnC or Butterfly Labs, Gridseed miners are also ASIC based. The difference is each Gridseed runs at a few hundred kilohash, making it possible to scale up or scale down depending on requirements. Users can link the Gridseeds to a host computer via USB or use a Raspberry Pi running CGMiner as a controller.

Gridseed miners require less than 400W of power, meaning that they will work with a standard PC powersupply and standard wall outlet (whereas some ASIC Bitcoin miners require a specialized high voltage line). When used with a Scrypt Altcoin multipool they will still prove profitable considering the lower per-unit cost and power requirements.

Entry level users looking to get into the mining business may want to consider a Gridseed miner for its low entry level cost and power requirements.




Sam Reynolds

Sam Reynolds is a Canadian journalist based in Taipei. He accepts Bitcoin tips: 161c47euYYWeVuomvF7s8wrFbsaGvjvmbu