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Author Topic: Developing an open-source mining hardware  (Read 1458 times)
adam440
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March 01, 2017, 05:12:41 PM
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Hello,
Bitcoin network is currently facing its biggest problem - scaling. Over couple months it has grown to this monstrous size. There are many reasons why we are still debating about the right solution. But a final solution is in hand of nodes. And that's a big problem. Over 70% of mining hardware (ASIC) is supplied by Bitmain. I don't make any assumptions here, but with such big market share, Bitmain can somewhat control the network through miners (supplying only the "right" miners). The last open-source ASIC (as far as I know) is from progranism (https://github.com/progranism/Open-Source-FPGA-Bitcoin-Miner , BitcoinTalk: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=9047.0) with the latest commit from 2013. There's no good open-source alternative to commercial mining hardware. And I think we should develop a new one.

Right now, I don't have a plan how to do that, but we should at first start debate about this important topic. Should we use 16nm FPGA ASIC chip from BitFury? Or create completely new one from scratch (which would be very hard and expensive on 16nm FPGA)? Should we start Kickstarter funding campaign or create a website from scratch just for this funding? It would be no easy task, however, in the end, we could create competitive alternative to BitMain mining rigs and destroy a BitMain monopoly.

PS: I'm sorry for any grammar mistakes, I'm not native english speaker.
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dxtwo
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March 01, 2017, 06:45:45 PM
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Even if you created an open-source version that was better, the costs to produce would be outside the means of any consumer. How do you plan to handle that problem?
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March 01, 2017, 07:24:17 PM
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Unless you have millions of dollars to plunk down on this endeavor you might as well put this dream to bed. Bitfury wont sell unless you are offering serious money and the cost to design, tape out, and produce the chips alone is in the millions without a single thought even being put to the hash board or controller or software or a ton of other things that would have to be done to make this a reality.

Stop buying industrial miners, running them at home, and then complaining about the noise.
sidehack
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March 01, 2017, 07:29:35 PM
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Though if a chip can be had, the cost for hashboard, controller and software is minimal by comparison. Fraction of a percent of 16nm ASIC dev cost.

Selling seconds 2Pacs for a friend's med bills - PM for details
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March 01, 2017, 08:07:41 PM
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Though if a chip can be had, the cost for hashboard, controller and software is minimal by comparison. Fraction of a percent of 16nm ASIC dev cost.
Ja. It also must be pointed out that the OP seems to think that FPGA's can still be used for BTCminers -- they cannot. Also used the term "FPGA ASIC" which is very wrong. They are 2 very different beasts.

For benefit of the OP: A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) can be reprogrammed for many different functions and can BEHAVE like an ASIC with dedicated logic paths and functions (after programming). In fact they are used to test ideas for ASIC's but in many ways for mining it must be thought of as just that - a testbed or simulator. Only problem with them is that there is a ton of support circuitry inside the chip to logically create and link together the needed fixed functions plus the pathways that signals take are far from optimum. Together these things in a FPGA when compared to a properly designed ASIC makes them slower and more power hungry. Yes they are getting faster and faster but still cannot compete with a dedicated chip AKA the AISC.

An Application Specific Integrated Circuit (AISC) is hardwired in silicon to do one and only 1 function, in our case provide each chip with coms, memory, and of course multiple (10's to hundreds) cores per-chip to run the SHA-256 algo.

-Joshua Zipkin aka Joshua Alexander leaked AMT A1 miner skype chats http://bit.ly/1Qjt6lj
-For bitcoin to succeed the community must police itself.
-Support Sidehacks miner development. Donations to:   1BURGERAXHH6Yi6LRybRJK7ybEm5m5HwTr
leowonderful
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March 01, 2017, 08:43:38 PM
 #6

FPGAs are still used for altcoin mining on some miners like the Baikal series iirc, don't remember where I heard that but it might be worth looking into that if you still want to custom design a piece of hardware. FPGAs are better than ASICs for BTC mining but they're still obsolete for the most part.














 

 

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NotFuzzyWarm
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March 01, 2017, 11:32:39 PM
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Forum member 2112 supplied a very nice read about FPGA's in https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=28402.msg18015739#msg18015739

Even though the specific subject - writing code for an FPGA - is out of my realm of expertise, still a very good and understandable peek at the innards of SHA-256 processing.

Along these lines, since Intel bought one of the top FPGA makers to complement their push into the FPGA market one does have to wonder just how far they can push it. At once a week I get an email ad from Intel about getting info on their FPGA products.

A rather memorable one from around last Jan deals specifically with applying FPGA's to Blockchain processing. Not for Bitcoin -- for Priviate Blockchains that are verifying data and transactions for things such as a city's Public lighting system. For the past few years they have been becoming 'Smart'. Not only regarding being LED's but also incorporating cameras, individual luminair status, etc. The Connected Car/Driverless cars will rely heavily on Blockchain tech as well and naturally Intel wants to be the heart of it.

-Joshua Zipkin aka Joshua Alexander leaked AMT A1 miner skype chats http://bit.ly/1Qjt6lj
-For bitcoin to succeed the community must police itself.
-Support Sidehacks miner development. Donations to:   1BURGERAXHH6Yi6LRybRJK7ybEm5m5HwTr
QuintLeo
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March 02, 2017, 06:38:30 AM
 #8

Hello,
Bitcoin network is currently facing its biggest problem - scaling. Over couple months it has grown to this monstrous size. There are many reasons why we are still debating about the right solution. But a final solution is in hand of nodes. And that's a big problem. Over 70% of mining hardware (ASIC) is supplied by Bitmain. I don't make any assumptions here, but with such big market share, Bitmain can somewhat control the network through miners (supplying only the "right" miners). The last open-source ASIC (as far as I know) is from progranism (https://github.com/progranism/Open-Source-FPGA-Bitcoin-Miner , BitcoinTalk: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=9047.0) with the latest commit from 2013. There's no good open-source alternative to commercial mining hardware. And I think we should develop a new one.

Right now, I don't have a plan how to do that, but we should at first start debate about this important topic. Should we use 16nm FPGA ASIC chip from BitFury? Or create completely new one from scratch (which would be very hard and expensive on 16nm FPGA)? Should we start Kickstarter funding campaign or create a website from scratch just for this funding? It would be no easy task, however, in the end, we could create competitive alternative to BitMain mining rigs and destroy a BitMain monopoly.

PS: I'm sorry for any grammar mistakes, I'm not native english speaker.

 There are currently at least 5 ASIC-based Bitcoin hardware manufacturers that are known to be making 14/16 nm node products.

 Bitmain has probably been there the longest on shippping product and probably has a majority of the hashrate sold on that node to date.

 Bitfury demonstrated a working chip before Bitmain announced the S9, but has been locked into "major sales only" mode for a while.
 They may or may not be ACTUALLY breaking that mode on the current generation (keep an eye on the Sidehack thread).
 There HAVE been announcements of products based on the Bitfury chip but actual shipments of those products seem to be pretty thin so far.

 Caanan Creative - Avalon 721/741

 BW.com who appears to be following the Bitfury mold (despite their initial announcement of the B11 being intended for sale to end users), or just using all of their own ASIC internally.

 EBit (though their E9 unit appears to be only going to major Chinese customers at this point).

 There is a 6'th manufacturer I'm not at liberty to talk about, private effort that will be using it's entire production internally AFAIK.

 There's a question I've not seen brought up - is MegaBigPower still in the BitFury camp, or have they decided to roll their own ASIC this generation?
 They got VERY secretative over the last 2-3 years in a lot of ways.

 There was the announced Innosilicon A3 design that apparently never achieved actual production.
 I have heard it was B11 level efficiency, which might be why it was never sold.
 Innosilicon *COULD* still be working on a 14/16nm design for sale at some point that would be competative to the S9 on efficiency.


 It's not nearly as much of an issue as you think it is, and the issue seems to be fairly quickly going away on it's own as Bitmain's competition finally gets caught up.

numismatist
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March 02, 2017, 02:17:01 PM
 #9

Though if a chip can be had, the cost for hashboard, controller and software is minimal by comparison. Fraction of a percent of 16nm ASIC dev cost.
Ja. It also must be pointed out that the OP seems to think that FPGA's can still be used for BTCminers -- they cannot. Also used the term "FPGA ASIC" which is very wrong. They are 2 very different beasts.

No chance in debunking this. FPGAs and ASICs are allready in wide use as synonyms. One could point out that FPGAs are like 130nm fabrication, but to no avail.
(and there are allready 14nm Tri-Gate based ones in production since 3 years, however those had never been used in ZTEX, Icarus or Lancelot layouts)

adam440
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March 02, 2017, 05:41:34 PM
 #10

Ok, at first I'm sorry for underestimating a complexity of the development. I though that ASICs and FPGAs are same thing, which isn't true. But can you explain to me, how bad is the situation around bitcoin mining hardware? How many companies are there, and mainly, how successful are they in comparison to others (mainly Bitmain). Also, are there any living open-source bitcoin mining projects around? I think I should start reading about digital electronics...
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