A brief history of bitcoin mining hardware

The only way to earn an 8. Mining bitcoin on a single GPU took very little technical skill.

Nearly anyone with a few hundred bucks could could do it, and computational requirements were still low enough to make it worthwhile.

That would quickly change however, as cryptocurrency began to catch on the community started to get some big ideas on mining hardware. Efforts to scale hash rates through GPUs pushed the limits of consumer computing in novel ways.

Finally, there was a way for the little people to make money using the magic of cryptography and blockchain. It was time for everyone to quit their jobs, plug in a bunch of fairly-affordable mining rigs, and drink pina coladas on the beach. Except mining difficulty continued to rise, and with it, the power requirements would soon become too steep for your average hobbyist to make any money.

What is Bitcoin Mining?

This backdoor was revealed in April, and the massive portion of miners using Bitmain technology made the issue especially concerning. If exercised, Bitmain could theoretically shut down vast amount of the miners on the network and keep their miners running.

This would allow them to effectively take over the Bitcoin network entirely, controlling the production of every block.

Mining pools are networks of computers working together to mine for cryptocurrencies, sharing the rewards in proportion to each miners contribution.

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Both are owned by Bitmain, though how much of the computing power is their hardware as opposed to others contributing their devices is unknown. These rented miners are maintained and operated by Bitmain on behalf of the renters and mine as part of Antpool. While Bitmain may not directly own nearly half the network, they do control an oversized amount of influence over the voting activity of their own pools and other pools. This influence empowers Bitmain to attempt to control the direction of the Bitcoin protocol development.

Segregated Witness SegWit was a controversial Bitcoin protocol change aimed at scaling the network. However, SegWit and AsicBoost are not compatible.