Bitcoin Mining: The next decade of sustainable crypto innovation starts today

The crypto-mining industry has had a phenomenal record of growth and innovation in the last decade, but this is only the beginning.

Since the creation of the first crypto currency over a decade ago, many have often been skeptical about its legitimacy, and some have even dismissed it as a fraud. But by 2020, this paradigm seemed to have changed. What has emerged is a shared recognition that Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital assets are here to stay and will play a key role in the future of global finance.

This is not a far-fetched vision reserved for cryptanalysts: financial actors who traditionally distrusted cryptomonads now express confidence in their potential for disruption. JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, for example, have recently reversed their initial opposition to cryptomonads, becoming some of the latest to offer new banking services and offerings to the digital asset market.

As optimism and appreciation of the long-term potential of cryptomonies continues to grow, so will opportunities for revenue expansion among ecosystem players. The Bitcoin miners, for example, saw their upline figures increase by nearly 50% month over month in November, as Bitcoin prices rose by more than 60% to over $18,000 during the same time period. However, in a highly competitive environment, success has been largely limited to a few industry leaders, while for many it remains elusive.

For miners, access to highly advanced mining equipment – with the highest level of power and cost efficiency, and the fastest processing speeds – remains the most critical factor in ensuring competitive advantage.

The evolution

The crypto-mining industry has undergone a succession of substantial transformations to reach the current advanced technical state. In its beginnings, mining was done using simple computers without any complex or high-powered devices. The general purpose central processing units, or CPUs, were all that was needed to produce Bitcoin. This led to a rapid expansion of the Bitcoin network, as the lure of easy money caused an influx of new entrants, so much so that these first-generation miners couldn’t keep up with demand, making them obsolete in just one year.

Graphical processing units were then introduced, making Bitcoin mining more efficient and profitable. Combining multiple GPUs became commonplace as miners sought to further increase their performance and mining capacity while maximizing profits. Despite these advances, the second generation of miners did not stand the test of time due to their high power consumption and lack of long-term efficiency.

In 2011, field-programmable logic gate arrays, or FPGAs, emerged as the next logical step forward. They were fast, highly energy efficient, offered better performance and easier cooling than their predecessors. However, FPGA miners were short-lived and eventually replaced by ASICs, which, to this day, remain the dominant technology for the Bitcoin mining industry. Designed, built and optimized for the sole purpose of mining, ASICs are recognized for their superior alignment of power consumption, performance and cost – about one million times more energy efficient and 50 million times faster in Bitcoin mining than CPUs used in 2009.

The way forward

In fact, cryptomint mining has come a long way. In addition to performance-related advances, there have also been notable improvements in the environmental aspect of the technology, such as greater energy efficiency and faster hash rates. With a growing emphasis on sustainability, this trend is likely to continue as chip design vendors seek to develop innovative solutions to meet this evolving demand.

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Two main areas of development come to mind. First, the re-engineering of existing mining equipment to use radically less energy; and second, the reprogramming of existing mining chips to allow the use of hybrid energy for optimal cost performance.