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Should We Get Rid Of Graphics Cards?

Two ASICs vendors — Baikal and Bitman — almost simultaneously have announced the new devices launch designed especially for Monero-oriented mining — an anonymous cryptocurrency which has been mined only with graphics cards until now.

What should miners and pools expect if these ASICs will be implemented? Let’s sort it out with Anton Trusov, Nanopool founder and CTIO at Finom AG.

New Giant N (Baikal) and Antminer X3 (Bitman) chips can potentially spoil the coin mining via graphics cards. However, Monero developers have already notified several times that they will change the hashing algorithm if ASICs will take over the large part of the network.

With each ASICs launch, the network hashrate always boost as such devices 100 times more efficient in blocks calculating. Pool’s technical problems can arise only if ASICs work with a protocol differing from GPU. It takes time to plug it in. However, as far as I know, there is the only one version of Monero protocol, and we support it. Thus, Nanopool users switching from graphics cards to ASICs will be implemented technically painless though hashrate will increase dramatically.

CryptoNote protocol is a foundation of a branch of anonymous cryptocurrencies. It is used for algorithm design of CryptoNight (Monero, ByteCoin, Electroneum) and CryptoNight Lite (AEON currency). Lite is distinguished by the less cache memory at 1 Mb contrary to 2 Mb. Baikal reports that its Giant N works with both algorithms whereas Bitmain declares only CryptoNight support.

Until recently we thought that such algorithms can’t be cracked with ASICs. However, according to some implicit data, there was a hard work on specialized devices designing.

MineXMR pool statistics shows that the share of miners referred to Unknown category (not included into any pool) has increased from 10% up to 80% since December 2017.

We tend to consider that this is a result of individual Bitmain mining based on new ASICs. When devices appear in markets, the situation will come to balance. Regular users will get ASICs and will be able to apply them for Nanopool and other pools. The percentage of pool’s network (amount of detected blocks) will increase since not only the one corporation will have ASICs.

Monero developers can turn the situation in favor of graphics cards mining at any time by changing the hashing algorithm of the cryptocurrency but Nanopool team assert they will get ready for such transformation ahead in time.