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Author Topic: Why ASIC's Should Not Be The Future Of Crypto Currencies  (Read 10507 times)
Inaba
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October 24, 2012, 03:41:25 AM
 #41

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So if FPGA's are better than GPU's in every way (like ASIC's), why didn't everyone switch to FPGA's? Why can't you buy a Bitcoin FPGA at your local computer store? Your answer is in my original post. The answer is centralized distribution, as well as problems with supply/demand. Which is also the reason i own GPU's, and not FPGA's. As well as many others. Even though i wanted some! I feel we may have a repeat of this all over again with ASIC's.

Huh... this is actually a pretty interesting statement and illustrates a completely separate, seemingly unrelated point very well.

Why didn't everyone switch to FPGAs?  First off, all the serious miners did, or if not "switched" they added FPGAs to their farm.  The small time/hobby miners continued to mine on GPUs, because that's what they had/what they were already invested in.  There is virtually no large scale miners that remained solely on GPUs, only the hobby miners remained in the GPU arena exclusively.  But this illustrates the point that so many people just want to ignore or deny, but you can see it in action right here.

Why do people still mine on GPUs?  Because they are still profitable.  That's the short, simply and really only answer.  They do it because they turn a profit.  When GPUs stop turning a profit, they will stop.  The same can be said for FPGAs, people will continue to mine on them while they still turn a profit, even in the face of gen2 ASICs.  What does this mean for the ASICs though?

It simply means power efficiency is the most important aspect of an ASIC.  I do wholeheartedly admit that the first two weeks of mining on ASICs is all going to be about hashing power and whoever gets the most hashing power first will be the winner, as it were.  After the first few weeks (two, three, four?) it will be about the power... and as you look down the road to 6 months, or a year, or even two years, as long as an ASIC is profitable, people will still mine on it.  Just like people are still mining on GPUs. 

So the transition from CPU -> GPU is just like the transition from GPU -> FPGA which is just like the transition from FGPA -> ASIC, with the exception of the fact that there's no transition any time soon from ASIC.  It's the end of the line and you'll see stepwise improvements from here on out, not 10x or 100x increase in efficiency and hashing power.  If your first gen ASIC is power efficient, you can be mining on it through at least 3 generations of ASICs, unlike CPU, GPU and FPGAs which always had the specter of new technology making old technology obsolete.

If you're searching these lines for a point, you've probably missed it.  There was never anything there in the first place.
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October 24, 2012, 04:42:31 AM
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I simply believe there will be problems with the distribution, not ASIC in general.

You seem to be equating the success of bitcoin with the number of human beings using mining equipment. I'd say there's an optimal number somewhere, maybe a few thousand people, that are needed to keep the diversity of mining healthy. Too few people and you risk one set of problems. Too many people and you have another set of problems. But the primary reason for mining is to secure the network. ASICs will bring much increased security to the blockchain, as long as there's enough of them. And by all accounts, there are plenty of people pre-ordering ASICs, so there's nothing to worry about. Not everyone that uses bitcoin needs to be a miner. In fact, we don't want everyone to be a miner. There is much overhead with being a miner. It's not appropriate for everyone.

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October 24, 2012, 04:56:11 AM
 #43


So the transition from CPU -> GPU is just like the transition from GPU -> FPGA which is just like the transition from FGPA -> ASIC, with the exception of the fact that there's no transition any time soon from ASIC.  It's the end of the line and you'll see stepwise improvements from here on out, not 10x or 100x increase in efficiency and hashing power.  If your first gen ASIC is power efficient, you can be mining on it through at least 3 generations of ASICs, unlike CPU, GPU and FPGAs which always had the specter of new technology making old technology obsolete.

This is an excellent point. 


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October 24, 2012, 09:38:30 AM
 #44

@MysteryMiner, you call BFL a scam, where is the proof that BFL has scammed anyone? Can you name a single person that has bought a product from BFL that they didn't receive or didn't receive a requested refund that is not in accordance with published policies?

It appears to me that you don't understand the manufacturing process of an ASCI product so let me give you a short description of the process. First you have the prototyping stage. This is often done with an FPGA as an FPGA is easily reprogrammed to optimize a product. Once the program is finalized for the FPGA you then give that to the ASIC foundry. Weeks or months later you have your ASICs.

BFL is the only Bitcoin ASIC product producer that has shown pictures of their product offerings. MysteryMiner why aren't you calling other Bitcion ASIC producers scammers? Have you seen any pictures from them, aren't they also taking pre-orders? BFL has been shipping FPGA miners for months, get the hint?

MysteryMiner, I wonder if you will have the honor to retract your false statements about BFL and apologize once BFL's ASIC products begin shipping. It's one thing to say 'I think their scammers' or 'it sounds like a scam to me' but it's another thing entirely to call a company a scam. I wont mention that your statements appear to be libelous. If your in the US, BFL could take legal action against you. If your in the UK libelous laws are much tougher. I am not suggesting they would but I do expect from you a 'bring it on bitch' reply. But it does no good to sue someone that doesn't have the assets to recover in a victorious law suit.

MysteryMiner I know what your going to say an employee/founder/investor has a criminal history. If you think that someone is willing to risk 10-30 years in prison for a second conviction maybe that says more about how you would act, your thinking and how you value money. Let us not forget that it was you MysteryMiner that said "And I would be able to synchronize my computer when I come out of jail if something bad happens." That is a prophetic statement of how you live your life. And when you use terms like 'faggotry' intending it to be an insult it makes you look like your sexually insecure. MysteryMiner are you insecure with your sexuality?

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October 24, 2012, 10:49:50 AM
 #45

People who are worried about ASIC distribution can simply become ASIC resellers, I'd assume. Buy lots more than you need then resell them.

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October 24, 2012, 11:43:24 AM
 #46

Good discussion. However there is one very poor argument being pushed against the OP which I must expose.

Many of you are saying that as ASICs are a threat to the network security it is imperative that the public get easy access to this before a potentially malicious entity does. Well no shit captain obvious, but the error is you are saying this in itself will be a good thing.

His point is that such a weakness is a sort of unforseen 'design fault' in bitcoin, and so attempting to fix the fault by flooding the market is not going to cause a benefit. Total hashrate is irrelevant, only the relative difficulty of the hashing between honest miners and the malicious is important.

A 'weak' highly parallelisable algo will always be open to this attack vector.

So bitcoin will probably survive this event, but to say its a big advantage just because total hashrate will increase 100x is ridiculous imo.

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October 24, 2012, 03:20:45 PM
 #47

@MysteryMiner, you call BFL a scam, where is the proof that BFL has scammed anyone? Can you name a single person that has bought a product from BFL that they didn't receive or didn't receive a requested refund that is not in accordance with published policies?

It appears to me that you don't understand the manufacturing process of an ASCI product so let me give you a short description of the process. First you have the prototyping stage. This is often done with an FPGA as an FPGA is easily reprogrammed to optimize a product. Once the program is finalized for the FPGA you then give that to the ASIC foundry. Weeks or months later you have your ASICs.

BFL is the only Bitcoin ASIC product producer that has shown pictures of their product offerings. MysteryMiner why aren't you calling other Bitcion ASIC producers scammers? Have you seen any pictures from them, aren't they also taking pre-orders? BFL has been shipping FPGA miners for months, get the hint?

MysteryMiner, I wonder if you will have the honor to retract your false statements about BFL and apologize once BFL's ASIC products begin shipping. It's one thing to say 'I think their scammers' or 'it sounds like a scam to me' but it's another thing entirely to call a company a scam. I wont mention that your statements appear to be libelous. If your in the US, BFL could take legal action against you. If your in the UK libelous laws are much tougher. I am not suggesting they would but I do expect from you a 'bring it on bitch' reply. But it does no good to sue someone that doesn't have the assets to recover in a victorious law suit.

MysteryMiner I know what your going to say an employee/founder/investor has a criminal history. If you think that someone is willing to risk 10-30 years in prison for a second conviction maybe that says more about how you would act, your thinking and how you value money. Let us not forget that it was you MysteryMiner that said "And I would be able to synchronize my computer when I come out of jail if something bad happens." That is a prophetic statement of how you live your life. And when you use terms like 'faggotry' intending it to be an insult it makes you look like your sexually insecure. MysteryMiner are you insecure with your sexuality?

I lol'd.
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October 24, 2012, 03:30:58 PM
 #48

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So if FPGA's are better than GPU's in every way (like ASIC's)
They aren't. FPGA are much more expensive than a GPU and hash less. But they consume much much less energy.

ASIC are better in everything and a LOT better
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October 24, 2012, 03:39:03 PM
 #49

FPGA are much more expensive than a GPU and hash less. But they consume much much less energy.

Agree cost-wise they hash less. But on all other fronts FPGA hash more than a GPU. Per measure of a) energy b) temperature c) size/volume
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October 24, 2012, 03:42:44 PM
 #50

ASIC's are just going to speed up the process of centralizing the money, and making the poor poorer and the rich richer to an even greater extent than things are already.

I agree with this. Technology speeds everything up, even the stages of greed and elitism. Bitcoin has very much gone from a moral ground of "any schmuck can earn!" to "You need a week's salary of an investment to earn." to "Only those with the ability to take a large financial risk can earn"

That said, morality goes out the window when there is money involved. It will be interesting to see if there is a morality shift to alternate currencies and equally interesting to try to determine if it's a morality shift or a financial shift. There is a lot of money invested in hardware which WILL work with those alternate currencies. For the past couple of days, PPCOIN is running around 175% more profitable to mine than BTC so perhaps it has already begun.

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October 24, 2012, 03:50:59 PM
 #51

ASIC's are just going to speed up the process of centralizing the money, and making the poor poorer and the rich richer to an even greater extent than things are already.

I agree with this. Technology speeds everything up, even the stages of greed and elitism. Bitcoin has very much gone from a moral ground of "any schmuck can earn!" to "You need a week's salary of an investment to earn." to "Only those with the ability to take a large financial risk can earn"

That said, morality goes out the window when there is money involved. It will be interesting to see if there is a morality shift to alternate currencies and equally interesting to try to determine if it's a morality shift or a financial shift. There is a lot of money invested in hardware which WILL work with those alternate currencies. For the past couple of days, PPCOIN is running around 175% more profitable to mine than BTC so perhaps it has already begun.
So $150 is a large financial risk?   Roll Eyes

I don't see the step towards ASICs as being morally questionable, myself.  It's still "any schmuck can earn" in my book when there's $150 ASICs available.
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October 24, 2012, 04:08:11 PM
 #52

ASIC's are just going to speed up the process of centralizing the money, and making the poor poorer and the rich richer to an even greater extent than things are already.

I agree with this. Technology speeds everything up, even the stages of greed and elitism. Bitcoin has very much gone from a moral ground of "any schmuck can earn!" to "You need a week's salary of an investment to earn." to "Only those with the ability to take a large financial risk can earn"

That said, morality goes out the window when there is money involved. It will be interesting to see if there is a morality shift to alternate currencies and equally interesting to try to determine if it's a morality shift or a financial shift. There is a lot of money invested in hardware which WILL work with those alternate currencies. For the past couple of days, PPCOIN is running around 175% more profitable to mine than BTC so perhaps it has already begun.
So $150 is a large financial risk?   Roll Eyes

I don't see the step towards ASICs as being morally questionable, myself.  It's still "any schmuck can earn" in my book when there's $150 ASICs available.

$150? Who has $150 ASICs? You must mean in some not-so-distant future.
I don't believe that a $150 ASIC device would be worth plugging in.

Assuming we're in that future and the difficulty has risen... and assuming you don't have free electricity....

If the current $600 FPGA devices are $150, would they be worth plugging in?
There is no $150 GPU device which is worth plugging in now, never mind the future.
There is no $150 CPU which is worth plugging in.

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October 24, 2012, 04:11:15 PM
 #53

ASIC's are just going to speed up the process of centralizing the money, and making the poor poorer and the rich richer to an even greater extent than things are already.

I agree with this. Technology speeds everything up, even the stages of greed and elitism. Bitcoin has very much gone from a moral ground of "any schmuck can earn!" to "You need a week's salary of an investment to earn." to "Only those with the ability to take a large financial risk can earn"

That said, morality goes out the window when there is money involved. It will be interesting to see if there is a morality shift to alternate currencies and equally interesting to try to determine if it's a morality shift or a financial shift. There is a lot of money invested in hardware which WILL work with those alternate currencies. For the past couple of days, PPCOIN is running around 175% more profitable to mine than BTC so perhaps it has already begun.
So $150 is a large financial risk?   Roll Eyes

I don't see the step towards ASICs as being morally questionable, myself.  It's still "any schmuck can earn" in my book when there's $150 ASICs available.

$150? Who has $150 ASICs? You must mean in some not-so-distant future.
I don't believe that a $150 ASIC device would be worth plugging in.

Assuming we're in that future and the difficulty has risen... and assuming you don't have free electricity....

If the current $600 FPGA devices are $150, would they be worth plugging in?
There is no $150 GPU device which is worth plugging in now, never mind the future.
There is no $150 CPU which is worth plugging in.
I guess you just want free money thrown at you then?
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October 24, 2012, 04:12:29 PM
 #54

I really can't fathom how people could think that bitcoin could stay in the "everyone can print their own money!" phase for any extended period of time AND have any value what-so-ever.  The two ideas are in direct conflict with each other.  The moment that something becomes of high enough value the people with more starting resources will always, always, always, no matter what BS you tell yourself, be able to acquire more of it than those without starting resources. Morality has nothing to do with it. It's all about Economics 101.  

This goes for gold, USD, bitcoin, litecoin, poopcoin, piratecoin, durpcoin, whatever.  

This is why litecoin is promoted only by people who are emo-mad that they didn't get enough BTC mined before the big boom. They're just hoping they can convince enough people to raise LTC value enough that they can dump and just move over to whatever BS they come up with next.  Either it's that explanation, or they are just too stupid to grasp economic principals taught in American elementary schools.  I'll let them decide.

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October 24, 2012, 04:20:38 PM
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I guess you just want free money thrown at you then?

Don't be ridiculous.

No one said anything about free money.

The OP was trying to say that ASICs will further exclude "any schmuck" from being able to afford the initial investment to earn money. leading to centralization of financial power into the hands of fewer entities. This is certainly true and the progression is already well underway. Is it good? Is it bad? I don't know. I know my place in the pyramid though and it's no where near the top Smiley I'm not bitter. I got a free lunch from bitcoin for a very very long time. If/when that comes to an end, I'm well fed and happy to have been able to have been able to participate in it. Being a socialist, It will be sad to see the any schmuck aspect of bitcoin come to an end.

But I love a good drama, and the bitcoin drama level is especially high. I expect interesting drama to unfold in the final months of 2012 and into 2013. Smiley



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October 24, 2012, 04:28:11 PM
 #56


I guess you just want free money thrown at you then?

Don't be ridiculous.

No one said anything about free money.

The OP was trying to say that ASICs will further exclude "any schmuck" from being able to afford the initial investment to earn money. leading to centralization of financial power into the hands of fewer entities. This is certainly true and the progression is already well underway. Is it good? Is it bad? I don't know. I know my place in the pyramid though and it's no where near the top Smiley I'm not bitter. I got a free lunch from bitcoin for a very very long time. If/when that comes to an end, I'm well fed and happy to have been able to have been able to participate in it. Being a socialist, It will be sad to see the any schmuck aspect of bitcoin come to an end.

But I love a good drama, and the bitcoin drama level is especially high. I expect interesting drama to unfold in the final months of 2012 and into 2013. Smiley
My point is, $150 invested into ASIC is going to be just as "worthless" to plug in as $150 invested into FPGA's, or $150 invested into GPU's.  So I don't understand why ASIC's are going to make the average schmuck any less able to mine.

I just think it's hilarious that FLHippy and Benator are going on and on about how ASICs are ruining the world and de-equalizing the mining playing field when that simply isn't true at all.  Anyone could invest in ASICs, just the same as anyone could invest in FPGA's or GPU's.  And just like FPGA's and GPU's, the higher the investment, the higher the revenue (duh!).  Anyone who expects the world to work any differently than that under any circumstances is deluding themselves.

And where/how does "greed" and "elitism" come into play?  Just because people are trying to generate extra income doesn't mean they are greedy or elitist.

Oh, and the kicker:  FLHippy mentions PPCoin, which just so happens to have the focus and hope of turning towards proof of stake in the future.  If there's any system that works to make the rich richer, proof of stake is IT!  And somehow, FLHippy is SUPPORTING it!   Cheesy
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October 24, 2012, 08:03:39 PM
 #57

Litecoin doesn't help. It modified the normal scrypt behavior for inexplicable reasons to use only a very tiny amount of memory compared to the scrypt paper recommendations. It's quite easy to throw 128k of sram on a chip and scream out one cycle/hash.  You'd get an even bigger speedup over GPUs and CPUs than you get from Bitcoin.
I'm pretty sure you can't do that. True, you can throw 128k of SRAM on a chip and compute 1 step of the innnermost Salsa20/8 hash per cycle, but that's not terribly far off what a normal CPU can manage. The problem you'll run into is this key design goal of scrypt (quoting from the scrypt paper):

Quote
Conjecture 1. If it is impossible for a circuit to compute the Salsa20/8 core in less than t time, and it is impossible for a circuit to store x bits of data in less than sx area for any x ≥ 0, then it is impossible to compute scrypt(P, S, N, r, p, dkLen) in a circuit with an expected amortized area-time product per password of less than 1024N2r2pst.

What that means is that roughly speaking, no matter what clever scheme you come up with involving pipelining or only storing every Nth value or whatever else you care to try, you shouldn't be able to get a hardware implementation significantly better than if you just threw on a bunch of naive hashing cores with 128k of SRAM each that compute a single Salsa20/8 hash per clock cycle. If you think you could, your scheme almost certainly has a flaw that you haven't spotted yet.

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October 25, 2012, 04:47:26 AM
 #58

If there's any system that works to make the rich richer, proof of stake is IT!

Is there some reasoning behind this? Are you operating on pure confusion, pure ignorance, or some mixture of the two?

You may think that proof-of-stake will offer a higher return on investment to rich people than it does to poor people. You are confused.
This is not the case in PPCoin or any of the alternate proposals I am familiar with (e.g. any of my own, or Colbee's "proof of activity" )

Alternatively, you may think that the return on investment will be equal for rich people and poor people under proof-of-stake just like under proof-of-work. Since rich people have more capital and can invest more, they will get richer. However, the wealth distribution is not affected simply because the rich save more in absolute terms than the poor. Instead, the wealth distribution changes when the rich save a larger proportion of their income than the poor. The wealth distribution depends on the savings rate for each group, not the absolute amount saved.

If the savings rate is the same for both rich and poor, then there will be no change in the wealth distribution over time.
If the savings rate is higher for the rich than the poor, than the wealth distribution will become more and more unequal.
If the savings rate is lower for the rich than the poor, than the wealth distribution will become more and more equal.

I don't see why proof-of-stake would affect savings rates. Could you explain why you think this is the case?

Why are you spreading FUD? or does this term FUD only apply to illogical statements made about bitcoin? are illogical statements made about PPCoin also FUD?
are logical, but pessimistic statements made about bitcoin also FUD?

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October 25, 2012, 12:57:29 PM
 #59


I guess you just want free money thrown at you then?

Don't be ridiculous.

No one said anything about free money.

The OP was trying to say that ASICs will further exclude "any schmuck" from being able to afford the initial investment to earn money. leading to centralization of financial power into the hands of fewer entities. This is certainly true and the progression is already well underway. Is it good? Is it bad? I don't know. I know my place in the pyramid though and it's no where near the top Smiley I'm not bitter. I got a free lunch from bitcoin for a very very long time. If/when that comes to an end, I'm well fed and happy to have been able to have been able to participate in it. Being a socialist, It will be sad to see the any schmuck aspect of bitcoin come to an end.

But I love a good drama, and the bitcoin drama level is especially high. I expect interesting drama to unfold in the final months of 2012 and into 2013. Smiley
My point is, $150 invested into ASIC is going to be just as "worthless" to plug in as $150 invested into FPGA's, or $150 invested into GPU's.  So I don't understand why ASIC's are going to make the average schmuck any less able to mine.

I just think it's hilarious that FLHippy and Benator are going on and on about how ASICs are ruining the world and de-equalizing the mining playing field when that simply isn't true at all.  Anyone could invest in ASICs, just the same as anyone could invest in FPGA's or GPU's.  And just like FPGA's and GPU's, the higher the investment, the higher the revenue (duh!).  Anyone who expects the world to work any differently than that under any circumstances is deluding themselves.

And where/how does "greed" and "elitism" come into play?  Just because people are trying to generate extra income doesn't mean they are greedy or elitist.

Oh, and the kicker:  FLHippy mentions PPCoin, which just so happens to have the focus and hope of turning towards proof of stake in the future.  If there's any system that works to make the rich richer, proof of stake is IT!  And somehow, FLHippy is SUPPORTING it!   Cheesy

It is often difficult to get what people are trying to convey in a typed message.

To be clear, I'm not anti-asic. I'm not anti-greed. I'm not anti-elitism. I aim to be a socialist but living in a capitalist world requires me to make money to survive. Money, greed and elitism are a fact of life in a capitalist society. Sometimes pointing out the obvious makes it appear as if you're complaining.

The OP stated a bunch of stuff. Some of it I was agreeing with. I'm simply interested in talking about how things have changed in bitcoins short lifetime. Changes that mirror the financial systems bitcoin claims to replace.

The OP and many others  claim that bitcoin takes the power away from the elite. There was a time when this was true but it is becoming less true. The introduction of ASIC eliminates quite a lot of people from the mining scene creating an elite class of miners. The BitCoin Foundation is another example of elitism. The few people (Atlas) attempting to have a discussion about this and other issues (or non issues) are marginalized and ridiculed. Again, I'm not anti-bitcoin foundation either.

The only thing I am certainly going on-and-on about is the shut-the-fuck-up-DIAF, attitudes of people who have a dissenting opinion. Bitcoin is most often advertised in a way that suggests elitism is reduced by the ability for any schmuck to be able to be a player. It shouldn't shock anyone that it has attracted people who would be offended by marginalizing or outright elimination of those schmucks.

As for supporting PPCoin... I converted all my PPCoins to bitcoins. They're pretty much useless for anything else. IMHO All these alt currencies are bitcoin's bitch. I'll support bitcoin for as long as I can find an angle to produce the somewhat free lunch I've gotten used to. With PPcoin generating 1.85 bit coins yesterday... Fuck yes I was generating some PPCoins. I'll eat steak today I think.

In the end, bitcoin seems doomed to be something more like fiat when viewing it from an end user perspective. Some elite group of people controlling it, manipulating it, and deciding who gets to be a player with the only real advantage being that you can buy drugs online and gamble online with it. That, of course, is a completely different discussion. Would bitcoin survive elimination of these spending avenues?

If your goal is to just troll every discussion, thats cool too. We all need a hobby. (I'm also not anti-troll)

justusranvier
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October 25, 2012, 01:15:32 PM
 #60

I aim to be a socialist but living in a capitalist world requires me to make money to survive.
Can you explain what this means? I've tried to figure it out but every possible interpretation I can think of is either incoherent or malicious.
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