Semiconductor manufacturing

Semiconductor manufacturing and crypto mining

Cryptocurrency mining and semiconductor manufacturing are closely related as there is a need for better computing power using less energy. Big semiconductor companies are entering the sector. As the competition grows, it is expected that the prices will go down and chips will be using less electricity.

Nearly all cryptocurrencies must be mined and maintained with high-cost mining rigs. As the mining processes go on, the cost of mining a single coin increases. Thus, miners seek out to find new ways to reduce costs related to the mining process. Semiconductor manufacturing companies are competing to produce more powerful machines with reduced power usage to address this problem. Nowadays, a mining rig cost around $3,000 and $10,000. And, the cost of mining one coin could be as high as $3,000. So, semiconductor companies are focusing on more profitable mining rigs.

The race for producing the best mining semiconductor is called “ASIC Arms Race”. In 2017’s graphics card shortage, NVIDIA and AMD were caught offhand as their supplies were not enough for the high demand. Now, there are several mining rig retailers and producers, and the competition gets hotter every day. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is being rivaled by Samsung lately. The entry of a big player such as Samsung will make competition harder. Even though Samsung would be more focused on its mobile phone branch, this move is a good one for the sector. Also, Intel announced that they are producing 10 nm chips. These chips are going to be used in mining computers. However, Intel also stated they are postponing the release of 10 nm chips until 2019.

Although there were good ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) in the past, they were producing low amounts of coin and they were expensive. However, with the big players coming into play, and semiconductors produced at manufacturing plants, we can see reduced prices and higher performances.

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malware mining

What is Malware Mining?

Malware mining incidents have increased in the first three months of 2018. It affects small businesses and individuals with more aggressively. Malwarebytes program spotted a 4000% increase in the infections, by itself. But what is going on, and what is the malware mining?

Some malware detection programs detected a huge load of crypto mining attacks to random computers in the first quarter of 2018. These attacks usually went by silently and caused computers to slow down a bit. However, there are reports of malware mining activities that affect the computer performances of individuals and even corporate businesses. According to Malwarebytes, an anti-malware program, there was over a 4000% increase in the incidents in the first three months. Information theft, ransomware, and system hijacking are some examples of malware attacks.

With the rise of the crypto mining businesses and profits, ransomware and malware coders are drawn to the sector. Every day, the incidents of crypto jacking, ransomware related to crypto mining are increasing. These cyber attacks result in decreased computer performances. Thus, the mining businesses and individuals who mine coins are hit hard. Cybercriminals target the servers to infect in the first place. Cryptocurrency miners have infected the most popular servers already. One of the recent attacks was on Amazon’s cloud-based AWS services. This also affects the websites who use those cloud services.

Nevertheless, there are some ways to find out the infection and get rid of it. You can check your CPU usage from task manager to analyze if there is an infection. If you are suspicious of infection, you can use an anti-malware program to clean your computer. Also, you can use antivirus software to enhance protection. Moreover, if you use adblockers on your internet browser, infection chance reduces. Finally, check for strange programs that increases CPU usage and close them.

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What is Plasma

What is Plasma?

What is Plasma and how it is going to help Ethereum? In this post, we are going a little bit technical to discuss the future of the blockchain technology.

It is a framework proposed by Joseph Poon and Vitalik Buterin (co-founder of Ethereum) on Scalable Autonomous Smart Contracts. Plasma incentivize and executes scaleable smart contracts that allow for billions of state updates per second. This architecture enables the blockchain to represent a significant amount of decentralized financial applications worldwide.

What is Plasma

Poon and Buterin published a paper in 2017, which includes the figure above and the following excerpt, to explain the system briefly.

The contracts themselves are located on the root blockchain. The Plasma chain contains the current ledger state which can be settled and redeemed on the root blockchain… On top is the Lightning Network, which allows for instantaneous payments across Plasma and Block Chains.

One of the most important concerns about blockchain technology is its scalability. For instance, a process for a transaction with Bitcoin may take up to several hours due to verification stage. Considering the current usage of cryptocurrencies, it may not be a problem. Nevertheless, in future real world applications, securing the payments with blockchain technology will be important. Traditional payment processing networks can currently handle over 2,000 transactions every second.

How Plasma is going to help Ethereum?

At this point, we should clarify the difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum. Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum’s value comes from its status as an application platform. It has a great technology for creating smart contracts and integrating with Plasma. Earlier this month, the co-founder of Ethereum Joseph Lubin, discussed the solutions for scalability problem of Cryptocurrencies in the Ethereum Community Conference. Implementing such technologies successfully may give an Ethereum the chance to be the leader of the Cryptocurrency market in the future!

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What is crypto mining?

Cryptocurrency news has been a hot topic lately. A lot of people heard cryptocurrencies in the second half of 2017 with the rise of Bitcoin. Beyond any doubt, these coins are valuable, but how are they produced in the first place? In our what is crypto mining post, we will cover some of the basics of cryptocurrency mining.

All cryptocurrencies work on something called blockchain. It is simply a shared ledger or document duplicated several times across a network of computers. In this regard, mining is a bookkeeping service that is done through the use of computer processing power (usually through your Central Processing Units (CPU) or Graphic Cards (GPU) . The consistency of the blockchain is ensured by repeated verification of transactions.

A block contains the hash of the previous block and uses SHA-256 algorithm. This links every block to the previous block, which gives the blockchain its name.

What is block reward?

The transactions that are collected from the network usually has a small fee attached that constitutes the part of the block reward. Also, there is a difficulty level assigned for each solution to the cryptographic hashing algorithm. This difficulty level might scale up or down over time, which eventually affects the block reward. For instance, the target is to generate a block solution in every 10 minutes for the Bitcoin. For Ethereum, on the other hand, block solutions should be generated in every 16 seconds. As you can see there is a huge difference between these two cryptocurrencies. This is one of the reasons for some people to favor Ethereum (or other coins) over Bitcoin.

Beyond any doubt, you do not need to know all these details to start mining. Eventually, all you need to start mining is a cryptocurrency mining software package. However, learning these details may increase your profits.

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Global Crypto Mining Energy Consumption

The cost of mining cryptocurrencies is one of the most important variables for miners. In this post, we have gathered some information to discuss crypto mining energy consumption, as of November 2017.

Recently, crypto mining energy consumption levels of countries have been discussed. The mining process itself is both computationally and energy intensive, especially as the millions of processors worldwide need to be cooled, using even more power. As Bitcoin’s incredible price run is getting closer to $10,000, experts from different fields started to discuss different aspects of cryptocurrency mining. Such attention from experts is understandable considering the fact that as the market for cryptocurrencies grows, people bring more energy-hungry computers online to mine. It was recently reported that Bitcoin’s current estimated annual electricity consumption has passed 30 TWh (that is 30,000,000,000 kilowatt hours) as of November 24, 2017. Considering the fact that the average annual electricity consumption for a United States residential utility customer was slightly above 10,000 kilowatt hours in 2016, this energy can run 3,000,000 houses. In terms of monetary costs, mining cryptocurrencies cost around $1,500,000,000 annually worldwide. However, global mining revenues are over $7,000,000,000.

Earlier this year, there has been news on global cryptocurrency mining uses more electricity than Iceland, Nigeria, and some other countries. Even though the efficiency of Graphic Cards and Central Processing Units (CPU) improve on ongoing basis, number of miners and mining rigs will also increase in the future. One response to this ever-increasing energy demand came from mining farms. Recently, several mining farms started to use renewable energy sources to operate their systems. Such innovation enabled them to offer lower pricing and to attract people who are sensitive to the environment. Nevertheless, it should be noted that cost-benefit curve of these farms still can not compete with having a mining rig. Beyond any doubt, green approaches to make cryptocurrency mining more attractive in the future.

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