ASCI or application specific integrated circuit machines have arrived in the Bitcoin mining market. The first machine arrived at a miner’s home in late January, and since then, reports have spread of ASCI machines being shipped to miners finding their way into Bitcoin mining rigs.
Since ASCI machines are designed specifically for Bitcoin mining, they are highly efficient machines at what they are designed to do. High-end ASCI machines have a hash rate of over 1 million per second. A typical CPU running Bitcoin mining software has a hash rate of 1.5 per second.
It goes without saying that shipping ASCI machines is a game changer in the Bitcoin world. CPUs are no longer supported by Bitcoin mining software because a 24/7 CPU won’t see Bitcoin for several years, even if the pool is mining.
This trend favors those interested in mining, those who have thousands of dollars to spend on expensive hardware, and early adopters of Bitcoin mining who have made huge profits from their initial mining efforts. These initial profits can be converted into installing the latest and greatest equipment and facilities to continue generating bitcoins in the future.
Miners running relatively powerful GPUs are most affected by ASCI development. The difficulty of successfully mining a Bitcoin block has risen to a level that could make the cost of electricity outweigh the payout a GPU miner would see in Bitcoin year after year.
All these assumptions are closely related to Bitcoin price stability. If Bitcoin stays at the current $30 level, innovation will continue to advance. ASCI has partly contributed to the rally that Bitcoin has seen over the past 2 months. The dollar to bitcoin exchange rate has risen from $10 to $30. It’s hard to find such a profitable investment anywhere on the planet, so it’s only natural that Bitcoin has gained attention in recent days. But will this focus continue? If so, will it bring more scrutiny and volatility to the young digital currency than stability? Relative stability in the long term is a feature that Bitcoin must build upon in order to achieve its original goal of becoming a globally viable and competitive currency.
So will Bitcoin outgrow the current speculative instrument label? The answer lies in the tangled web of variables that span the spectrum of humanity: politics, psychology, finance, fear, freedom, privacy, security…