Book Image

Bitcoin Essentials

By : Albert Szmigielski
Book Image

Bitcoin Essentials

By: Albert Szmigielski

Overview of this book

Blockchain is being billed as the technology of the future. Bitcoin is the first application of that technology. Mining is what makes it all possible. Exploring mining from a practical perspective will help you make informed decisions about your mining setup. Understanding what the future may hold for blockchains, and therefore for mining, will help you position yourself to take advantage of the impending changes. This practical guide starts with an introduction to Bitcoin wallets, as well as mining hardware and software. You will move on to learn about different mining techniques using the CPU, GPU, FPGA, and ultimately the ASIC as an example. After this, you will gain an insight into solo mining and pool mining, and see the differences between the two. The book will then walk you through large-scale mining and the challenges faced during such operations. Finally, you will take a look into the future to see a world where blockchain-based applications are commonplace and mining is ubiquitous.
Table of Contents (15 chapters)
Bitcoin Essentials
About the Author
About the Reviewer

Chapter 4. FPGA Mining

In this chapter, we will take a look at mining with Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). They are microprocessors that can be programmed for a specific purpose. In the case of Bitcoin mining, they are configured to perform the SHA-256 hash function that is used in Bitcoin. FPGAs have a slight advantage over using GPUs for mining. The period of FPGA mining of Bitcoin was rather short (just under a year), as faster machines soon became available. The advent of ASIC technology for Bitcoin mining compelled a lot of miners to make the move from FPGAs to ASICs. Nevertheless, FPGA mining is worth learning about.

We will take a look at the following topics:

  • Setting up mining software and drivers to allow FPGA mining

  • What happens when mining on an FPGA

  • Benchmarks of mining speeds with different FPGAs

  • Pros and cons of FPGA mining

  • FPGA versus other hardware mining

  • The best practices when mining with FPGAs

  • Discussion of profitability