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Author Topic: Bounty: development of efficient open-source FPGA/ASIC mining solution  (Read 10068 times)
Chris Acheson
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May 17, 2011, 09:25:36 PM
 #1

I'm splitting this off from the FPGA mining for fun and profit thread.

Current contributors:

$2.00 USD per MH/s and 0.3w per MH/s:
  • BitterTea - 20 BTC
  • teknohog - 10 BTC
  • cacheson - 10 BTC retracted
Milestone Total - 30 BTC

$0.60 USD per MH/s and 0.3w per MH/s:
  • cacheson - 10 BTC retracted
  • gmaxwell - 10 BTC
  • riX - 20 BTC
  • gusti - 20 BTC
Milestone Total - 50 BTC

Grand Total - 80 BTC

Those of you who are interested in making sure that Bitcoin remains a distributed system through the transition from GPU mining to FPGA/ASIC mining are encouraged to contribute.  I know the total isn't much yet, but if enough of us chip in we should be able to provide a decent incentive.

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
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I will offer a 10 BTC bounty to the first person who either:

1) Makes publicly available the source code and complete setup instructions for an FPGA-based Bitcoin mining device that can be created with off-the-shelf hardware.

or

2) Offers an ASIC-based Bitcoin mining device for sale to the general Bitcoin community, and makes publicly available all schematics, source code, and other relevant information used to develop said device.

Either of the above devices must cost no more than $0.60 USD per megahash per second that they provide, and must consume no more than 0.3 watts per megahash.

Designs must not be encumbered by any sort of "intellectual property" restrictions, with the exception of GPL-style copyleft licenses.

- -Chris Acheson, 5/17/11
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I will gladly match Chris Acheson's bounty of 10BTC on his terms.

A basic FPGA miner isn't a lot of work and it would be a fun project
for someone who hasn't done this kind of work before.  A _fast_
fpga miner which will achieve competitive performance would be a decent
accomplishment.

I think it's important to the health, security, and public confidence
in bit coin that a few large private parties do not retain a substantial
long term advantage in their ability to control the hashchain.

Making sure that the public has the lowest cost access to the mining
state of the art should be helpful for this purpose.
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riX
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May 17, 2011, 09:54:03 PM
 #2

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Great initiative! I've actually been researching ASICs a few times, but somewhere on the way I realized that I'm more interested in Bitcoin success than increasing my own holdings, so open-source ASICs sounds great.

I'm contributing 20 BTC.
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gusti
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May 17, 2011, 10:00:08 PM
 #3

20 more BTC here.

If you don't own the private keys, you don't own the coins.
BitterTea
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May 17, 2011, 10:05:39 PM
 #4

I too will pledge 20 BTC for the satisfaction of the conditions laid out by cacheson in the original post.
Silverpike
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May 18, 2011, 06:19:31 AM
 #5

I hate to be the one to be the destroyer of hopes & dreams, but I need to explain the economics of this to you guys.

Nobody will ever sell you an ASIC miner.  The reason is simple: profits.  The amount of money to be made selling ASIC is so miniscule compared to the profits that will be made by using them for mining.  Using simple estimates, I would say it is 1000x more profitable to use ASICs for personal mining vs. selling them.  It makes no sense to sell them to other miners, which only increases the global difficulty anyways.  Furthermore, the number of savvy miners around who would buy ASICs is small (I'm guessing less than 100 at the time of this post), so the market is tiny.

The only point at which it would make any financial sense to sell them is after the block reward goes down to something really small.  At that point, mining would have very limited profitability, and money would be made from transaction fees.  Then it may make sense to sell them to other miners.

Just as a reminder to everyone, Artforz already has mining ASICs.  He is wisely keeping them to himself.  This milestone already has been reached, and the number of people who will join this club is very very limited.
Chris Acheson
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May 18, 2011, 11:10:57 AM
 #6

I hate to be the one to be the destroyer of hopes & dreams, but I need to explain the economics of this to you guys.

Nobody will ever sell you an ASIC miner.  The reason is simple: profits.  The amount of money to be made selling ASIC is so miniscule compared to the profits that will be made by using them for mining.  Using simple estimates, I would say it is 1000x more profitable to use ASICs for personal mining vs. selling them.  It makes no sense to sell them to other miners, which only increases the global difficulty anyways.  Furthermore, the number of savvy miners around who would buy ASICs is small (I'm guessing less than 100 at the time of this post), so the market is tiny.

The only point at which it would make any financial sense to sell them is after the block reward goes down to something really small.  At that point, mining would have very limited profitability, and money would be made from transaction fees.  Then it may make sense to sell them to other miners.

Just as a reminder to everyone, Artforz already has mining ASICs.  He is wisely keeping them to himself.  This milestone already has been reached, and the number of people who will join this club is very very limited.


The numbers in the bounty requirements that I posted are a marginal increase over the efficiency of existing GPUs.  The power consumption requirement of 0.3 watts per megahash (as compared to about 0.4 w/mh for a 5970) is pretty much a freebie.  The dollars per megahash requirement of $0.60 is not even as good as what you get from a 5850 (mine were 50 cents/mh at $170 each, including express shipping), but is in the same ballpark as a decent price on a 5870.

The point of this bounty is not to entice someone to design and give away the ultimate ASIC that's going to render GPU mining totally obsolete.  The point is to encourage someone (perhaps a student rather than a full-time professional engineer) to work on optimizing an FPGA design to the point where it's merely on-par with current GPU mining; and to share that design with the community as a starting point for continued open development.

This bounty is much more likely to be achieved with FPGAs, but I figure there's no point in excluding an unforseen ASIC-based solution from it.

Artforz has stated that his ASICs, while quite power-efficient, are not competitive with GPUs in terms of dollars per megahash.
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May 18, 2011, 11:58:47 AM
 #7

10 BTC here.

bulanula
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May 18, 2011, 03:49:32 PM
 #8

This would be a great idea if somebody can develop specialized bitcoin mining hardware.

We are making too much money for greedy ATI at the moment. Nvidia maybe you are interested ?
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May 19, 2011, 04:39:43 PM
 #9

The way I see it for mining, difficulty and income rates will eventually reach an equilibrium, where only people with extremely efficient MH per second per Watt rates will make a profit. And if open FPGA/ASIC developing takes off I'd imagine that's where at least part of the large scale mining will head, due to the power efficiency of this solution.  That is, of course, if nothing happens to crash the BTC value to sub-dollar levels and/or to make people use BTC less or not at all.

And speaking of hardware, when FPGA will be a more manageable solution It would be great if someone will start trading/shipping such hardware and offer configuration services for BTC...
Tsudico
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May 19, 2011, 11:44:48 PM
 #10

I would think that any mining "board" should be built with a FPGA. ASICs can't be changed at a later date, so if bitcoins ever switch from SHA-256 to a different crypto all the boards would be useless. With a FPGA, you have a better chance of being able to program the new implementation.
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May 20, 2011, 12:41:30 AM
 #11

I hate to be the one to be the destroyer of hopes & dreams, but I need to explain the economics of this to you guys.

Nobody will ever sell you an ASIC miner. 

You need to return to your Econ prof and ask for your money back.  You are overlooking some important variables.  First off, professional mining cannot compete over the long term with individual miners, who have near zero facilities costs.  Some don't even have capital costs, because they are presently using GPU's that they would have bought regardless.  Eventually, Purpose made bitcoin mining cards will become available.  For no other reason than once all those heavily vested professional miners (such as ArtForz) reach a point that their profit margins are squeezed too much to continue to expand, they will monetize their hardware designs by selling the cards for individual users.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
Garrett Burgwardt
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May 20, 2011, 12:43:21 AM
 #12

I would think that any mining "board" should be built with a FPGA. ASICs can't be changed at a later date, so if bitcoins ever switch from SHA-256 to a different crypto all the boards would be useless. With a FPGA, you have a better chance of being able to program the new implementation.

ASICs are also retardedly fast, compared to FPGAs.
MoonShadow
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May 20, 2011, 12:43:41 AM
 #13

I would think that any mining "board" should be built with a FPGA. ASICs can't be changed at a later date, so if bitcoins ever switch from SHA-256 to a different crypto all the boards would be useless. With a FPGA, you have a better chance of being able to program the new implementation.

This is an issue, to be sure.  However, ASIC's can be mass produced on a level vastly more cost effective than equvilant FPGA's.  So much so, that if the crypto is changed, it would still be more cost effective to buy a second ASIC mining card than to buy one FPGA card.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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May 20, 2011, 02:33:38 AM
 #14

I have been seeing a lot of times comments that make it sound as if a US$300,000 development cost for an ASIC is a crazy-high cost, far out of reach.

Yet I also recall having read this same day that the bounty for an open source GPU miner was BTC50,000.

How much is BTC50000 nowadays?

Isn't it actually *more* than US$300000 ?

So whoever picked up that previous BTC50000 bounty might single-handeldy be in a postion to be able to afford to have an ASIC developed?

How many others have BTC50000+ lying around, maybe from back when they picked it up for a penny a coin or so?

Surely a mere US$300000 to US$500000 or so is far from out of reach for the bitcoin community?

-MarkM-

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May 20, 2011, 03:23:23 AM
 #15

First off, professional mining cannot compete over the long term with individual miners, who have near zero facilities costs.
This is a ridiculous statement.  The costs for a pro miner, per MH, is far lower than an individual miner, purely due to efficiencies of large-scale mining.  Everyone pays for the GPUs, everyone pays for power.

Quote
Some don't even have capital costs, because they are presently using GPU's that they would have bought regardless.
Just because someone bought the card for gaming doesn't mean they get to automatically ignore it as a cost for mining.  Plus these are not people who will buy the ASICs anyways.

Quote
  Eventually, Purpose made bitcoin mining cards will become available.  For no other reason than once all those heavily vested professional miners (such as ArtForz) reach a point that their profit margins are squeezed too much to continue to expand, they will monetize their hardware designs by selling the cards for individual users.
I can't see this happening.  At the time when inflation drops off to low levels, transactions processing fees will be more than adequate to make up the difference.

Anyone with enough capital to fabricate an ASIC will require maximum return on investment.  Maximum return will always be mining, and in later years fee processing.  It will never ever be eclipsed by selling chips as commodities.
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May 20, 2011, 03:45:40 AM
 #16

I have been seeing a lot of times comments that make it sound as if a US$300,000 development cost for an ASIC is a crazy-high cost, far out of reach.

Yet I also recall having read this same day that the bounty for an open source GPU miner was BTC50,000.

How much is BTC50000 nowadays?

Isn't it actually *more* than US$300000 ?

So whoever picked up that previous BTC50000 bounty might single-handeldy be in a postion to be able to afford to have an ASIC developed?

How many others have BTC50000+ lying around, maybe from back when they picked it up for a penny a coin or so?

Surely a mere US$300000 to US$500000 or so is far from out of reach for the bitcoin community?

-MarkM-


Supposedly ArtForz has already developed a custom run of asic based pci cards for his mining cluster, he just hasn't released his design.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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May 20, 2011, 03:50:23 AM
 #17

First off, professional mining cannot compete over the long term with individual miners, who have near zero facilities costs.
This is a ridiculous statement.  The costs for a pro miner, per MH, is far lower than an individual miner, purely due to efficiencies of large-scale mining.  Everyone pays for the GPUs, everyone pays for power.
You can't make that claim.  You don't know this.  Also, you don't know what others pay even for power.
Quote
Quote
Some don't even have capital costs, because they are presently using GPU's that they would have bought regardless.
Just because someone bought the card for gaming doesn't mean they get to automatically ignore it as a cost for mining. 
IF they bought it to play games, yes they do.
Quote
Plus these are not people who will buy the ASICs anyways.
They probably wouldn't have, but some will now.
Quote
Quote
  Eventually, Purpose made bitcoin mining cards will become available.  For no other reason than once all those heavily vested professional miners (such as ArtForz) reach a point that their profit margins are squeezed too much to continue to expand, they will monetize their hardware designs by selling the cards for individual users.
I can't see this happening.  At the time when inflation drops off to low levels, transactions processing fees will be more than adequate to make up the difference.
Just because you can't imagine it, doesn't make it wrong.  Again, you need to ask for your econ education funds back.
Quote
Anyone with enough capital to fabricate an ASIC will require maximum return on investment.  Maximum return will always be mining, and in later years fee processing.  It will never ever be eclipsed by selling chips as commodities.

There is a point for any of these guys that continued expansion of their own cluster becomes a case of diminishing returns.  So at some point, they will stop expanding.  I didn't say they would sell the cards they already have installed, but the IP of their design.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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May 20, 2011, 12:58:15 PM
 #18

I dumped some vhdl-code on this thread half a year ago

http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=2362.0

It runs with ghdl.

It is synthable but you'd need to add a counter for the nonce and a comparer for the hash value to be useful.

Also the host communication is not imlemented.

Pipelining would also do good for performance.



The code is translated into vhdl from the free verilog implementation at opencores.org

Maybe this will get someone closer to a full implementation.

bitcoin address: 15swBLKathoPyX94HgptYXSSqf7SUGhG4z
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May 20, 2011, 07:06:35 PM
 #19

Some don't even have capital costs, because they are presently using GPU's that they would have bought regardless.
Just because someone bought the card for gaming doesn't mean they get to automatically ignore it as a cost for mining. 
IF they bought it to play games, yes they do.
Quote
Again, you need to ask for your econ education funds back.

LOL
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May 20, 2011, 08:49:21 PM
 #20

Quote
Maybe this will get someone closer to a full implementation.
A full implementation exists:

http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=9047.0
https://github.com/progranism/Open-Source-FPGA-Bitcoin-Miner

It's fully functional, ready to go. There's even a binary release, which is pretty easy to use. I wrote scripts to program and control the board, so you don't even need to know how an FPGA works to use this.

I guess it doesn't meet the bounty, though Sad Because of this

Quote
Either of the above devices must cost no more than $0.60 USD per megahash per second that they provide, and must consume no more than 0.3 watts per megahash.
It easily meets the Watts per MH/s requirement. I measured 8Watts at the wall for the 50 MH/s design  Tongue and that's with a dev kit! But it obviously doesn't even come close to the $0.60 USD per MH/s requirement.

But I will continue to work and improve on it. The $0.60 USD requirement is insane, but so am I!  Tongue

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