Can asic miners be used for ethereum?

The reason there are no Ethereum mining ASICs is the fact that Ethereum's mining algorithm has been designed from the beginning to be resistant to ASICs. ASIC devices have been used to mine other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and litecoin for some time. And now they will soon be available to mine Ethereum. The biggest drawback of using an ASIC is that it is specific to one algorithm, whereas a GPU can be used to mine any coin.

The risk of mining just one coin is very high: if the value of the coin plummets or the developers decide to change the hashing algorithm, the ASIC will become useless. Once an ASIC is launched for a particular coin, the difficulty for that coin increases and the profitability of the ASIC eventually starts to drop. But if someone is not that interested in mining cryptocurrencies, there is less chance that they will buy an ASIC device for mining because ASIC devices are extremely expensive. For miners, however, an ASIC device offers greater efficiency and speed than a traditional GPU, which manufacturers say will allow miners to unlock more value.

Traditional graphics cards have a much broader job description than ASIC devices, such as rendering graphics for visually intensive work like video games and video editing, and so are not as efficient at mining cryptocurrencies as mining ASICs. However, the Ethereum network is not totally immune to ASIC miners, at least in its current state. On the contrary, it has started an intense debate in the community about the merits and demerits of allowing ASIC miners in the Ethereum ecosystem. For example, a chip designed to work in a digital voice recorder or a highly efficient Bitcoin miner is an ASIC.

The introduction of ASIC miners designed for Ethereum would not be in the economic interest of any participant in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, as it would undermine faith in the currency, causing its value to fall, according to Christopher Rolland of Susquehanna Investment Group, who spoke to Bloomberg. For example, Ethereum's core developer Piper Merriam has proposed a code change to make Ethereum's algorithms less effective on ASIC miners. Although ASIC mining equipment is more efficient at processing hash functions - which, in turn, means potentially higher profit margins for miners - its introduction into the Ethereum blockchain has been widely criticised. Starting with an ASIC is easier, and ASICs use less power than GPUs, so electricity costs are lower.

The price of an ASIC miner usually reflects how fast it can process the complex problems used to verify digital cryptocurrency transactions.

David Gerula
David Gerula

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