Block to tackle the future of crypto mining

Block to tackle the future of crypto mining

Crypto mining may be on a verge of a drastic change.

Since the Chinese miners left China (and then Kazakhstan), proving how flexible they can be, the issue of Bitcoin mining centralisation, actively discussed not so long ago, has somewhat been forgotten.

It is still true though that mining has become an industry, requiring very specific equipment, knowledge and logistics. Most mining farms now are huge hangars built near an energy source and filled with ASIC machines. We can’t say it’s a bad thing, especially that many farms plug into renewable energy sources and some of them even use the machines’ heat waste to supply businesses and homes with hot water (Canada is home to several such projects).

However, mining becoming an industry has changed this initial great idea of bitcoins being created by a multitude of individual miners all over the world, maintaining the Bitcoin ledger in the most decentralized (= independent) way. Although many people are still running ASIC machines from their homes, contributing their computation power to the mining pools, globally crypto mining has become out of reach for an average person. Why?

  • for most people, mining rigs are hard to find, and they are expensive
  • existing machines are quite unreliable and need a time-consuming reboot almost every day
  • the machines are noisy, and their performance is difficult to balance vs other factors

This is the analysis made by Jack Dorsey’s Block, the company that has been interested in making Bitcoin mining easier for some time already. In October Jack Dorsey spoke about his intentions to create a “custom silicon” for mining that would make it easy for everyone to mine and, consequently, make Bitcoin even more decentralized and resilient. Yesterday Block’s head of hardware division Thomas Templeton precised the company’s plans, and we cannot help but imagine all their possible implications.

Imagine a mining machine so easy to buy and install, that people could run in their homes. Imagine a machine that could use previously wasted electricity of the off-peak hours and stop when the house owners use the electricity for other purposes. Imagine a machine that could reuse its waste heat to warm the house, or the swimming pool…

The possibilities for a user-friendly and accessible mining rig are plenty, and Block, together with other mining innovators, has only started to explore them. After a personal computer revolution, will there be a personal miner’s one?