From Gold Rush to Arms Race: Why Bitcoin Mining is Heading North

From Gold Rush to Arms Race: Why Bitcoin Mining is Heading North

The face of industrial-scale bitcoin mining is changing with every passing month, having already pushed far beyond the bounds once envisioned, perhaps, by the hobby miners of four years ago. The landscape is much different now. Many large-scale mines are shifting from warehouse set-ups to data centers better equipped to deliver the massive power and cooling resources necessary to compete in a steadily accelerating industry. CoinDesk spoke with executives from some of the biggest hardware companies in the mining space. During those discussions a picture emerged of an industry undergoing a....


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ASIC bitcoin miner arms race: the definitive CoinDesk roundup

Why do ASIC mining hardware manufacturers give their products names like Klondike and GoldStrike? It's because bitcoin mining is like a gold rush. People are rushing to stake a claim to a limited resource, and they need the best equipment that they can to mine it. After GPUs and FPGAs, the rush is on to produce ASIC-based miners that are faster and more power efficient than their predecessors. The market is flooded with vendors promising the next, greatest ASIC hardware. But all that glitters is not gold. Here is a roundup of what's on offer (and what's actually shipping, which isn't....

Inside Butterfly Labs: The ASIC bitcoin mining arms race

CoinDesk's Daniel Cawrey recently visited and toured the facilities at Butterfly Labs, one of the most prominent and written about producers of bitcoin mining technology. In this second part of this series, he reports on the factors involved in the bitcoin mining arms race. Now that Butterfly Labs is shipping ASIC bitcoin miners at a steady pace, their production plus that of Avalon and mining pools like ASICMiner are causing the mining difficulty to go up quite quickly. What this means is that it takes more computational power to complete proof of work algorithms. It means that a race is....

Why Bitcoin Mining Can No Longer Ignore Moore's Law

The bitcoin mining industry has witnessed massive change over the past two years. The technological arms race launched by ASIC makers quickly put an end to GPU and FPGA (field-programmable gate array) mining, but much like the Cold War arms race, additional investments may prove unsustainable in the long run due to ROI constraints. Currently, miners are hitting the wall. Technology is the first problem. Most miners are already using the latest nodes, namely 28nm and 20nm processors offered by TSMC and GlobalFoundries, while the first 14nm/16nm FinFET ASICs are expected next year. Yet....

Bitcoin and Gold “Miners Multiple” Points To Drastically Different Price Peaks

Throughout history, the story has always been about silver and gold. But since Bitcoin was born, gold now has to compete with a better-built, digital counterpart. The arms race for the fastest-growing safe haven asset is on, and currently, Bitcoin is in the lead despite such an enormous head start by the precious metal. That’s also likely to continue, according to a mathematic formula dubbed the “Miners Multiple” that says Bitcoin will reach substantially better […]

Inside North America's '$8m-a-Month' Bitcoin Mining Operation

In a perfect world where mining difficulty was lower, bitcoin prices were higher and a warehouse full of mining rigs could be run by one man, Dave Carlson, the owner of North America's largest bitcoin mining operation, could be earning $8m a month. However, just like reports of bitcoin's death, reports of Carlson's personal earnings are, unfortunately for him, exaggerated. With the mainstream media continuing to paint bitcoin as a modern-day gold rush, Carlson's rags-to-riches story has been of particular interest, even if it hasn't always been put in the proper context. To be fair,....