If you’re brave enough to have dipped your toes into the Wild West that is cryptocurrency, you probably know that people have long since abandoned trying to mine on their desktop computers. Farms of GPUs are all the rage now, but dedicated mining hardware has also enjoyed a following among those who bitcoin mining asic schematic for free serious about their fictitious money. To that end, wrote in to the tip line to tell us about the progress he’s made reverse engineering the control protocol for the Antminer S1. As is often the case, the documentation didn’t have all the details he needed, but it did have a schematic of the BM1380 chip at the heart of the device.
For example, he found that the could set the frequency of the BM1380 as high as he wished without any consideration for thermal overload. This could potentially allow somebody to run the hardware to the point of destruction, à la Stuxnet. Once he figured out how to give the hardware hashes to work on over the UART interface, he setup a little head-to-head competition between the software he wrote to command the Antminer S1 and the official control software. No drop in performance was found between his software and the real deal, which sounds like a win in our book.
Even if he can’t improve on the performance of this particular piece of outdated mining hardware, it still beats doing it by hand on a piece of paper. I wonder if n2 would cool enough to make overclocking worthwhile? Overclocking also increases electricity consumption, and the N2 would add to the cost. It’s probably more cost efficient to run another miner. If your prize is fleeting digital tokens that are bound to be worthless in moments, then no. Because you’ll never get that time back. But if you enjoy super volatile worthless hashes of data, be my guess.
I love how Bitcoin value dropped and everyone suddenly is a critic. Especially considering at least half the arguments used against cryptocurrency also apply to fiat currency. It’s both trust and make belief. Central banks tend to have massive amounts of other countries’ currencies, and also gold, silver etc. Bitcoin is only pseudonymous and there are crypt I currencies much more useful for money laundering now. Government is something which always will establish in a human society, as a power distributing the common resource.
Would it be US government in the White House, or Dominican gang in favela. I don’t believe that government can do effectively what you described. Could it do anything effectively, at all? The past crisis has shown us how vulnerable the system is to different parties manipulating it for their own good.
The fact that fiat currencies can be manipulated when the market demands it can be used for good and for bad. The question is whether the parties with this power have interests aligned with yours, and whether they can be considered competent enough to use it wisely. I’m not quite that sure of either. Crytocurrencies being used by criminals to hide behind is FUD from the early days. I honestly thought we moved past that a long time ago. Blockchain technology means transactions are traceable and it’s not as if we can pretend that fiat currency isn’t used by criminals on a massive scale.
It’s quite likely the value of fiat currency in criminal hands is many times that of all the cryptocurrency combined. Mind you, I’m not advocating cryptocurrency. I don’t even own any, not do I think it’s going to solve all the problems that plague our financial system. It just irks me that most people who criticize cryptocurrency don’t seem to have very sound arguments and understanding of how fiat currency actually works. It’s a lot of emotion, mixed with a fair bit of fear and a few facts taken out of context.