Mining isn’t what it used To Be
After reaching all-time hashing power highs in mid-2018, closing out the year is a different story. It is estimated that in the recent market downturn, over 1.3 million mining devices have shut down.
While hashing power for BTC remains very high, many other coins are now more susceptible to 51% attacks.
Recent reports have indicated that, at this point, there are only 2 ASIC mining devices that are efficient enough to be profitable at the current price of BTC. Any miner not utilizing one of these devices will be mining at a loss.
Beyond the financial stressors that are being created by the situation, another thing being strained is the ideology behind Bitcoin. Many Bitcoinists have flocked to the coin due to the idea of its decentralized attributes.
With many hobby miners being forced out of the game, only the bigger operations remain. This means that mining power will inevitably become increasingly centralized, which is the very thing that many are trying to escape. Centralization brings an unbalanced wealth of power over the system. As the price decline continues, the core values of Bitcoin are being diluted.
With this being said, even some of the big operations have been hit hard in recent times. Bitmain notably was forced to close their Israeli offices.
Still becoming mainstream
Despite the woes of miners around the world, there are companies that are still looking to jump into the fray. In a smart move, computer manufacturer Razer has developed its own mining software.
With the computers it manufactures being tailored towards gaming, its customer base owns a huge amount of mining power via their GPUs.
Recognizing this, Razer has developed mining software for its customers to utilize during their computer’s downtime. The customers do not get to keep mined cryptocurrency, however. Rather, they are rewarded with ‘in-house’ credits to utilize on games, etc.
This is a smart move by Razer, as they will reap the benefits of mining, without needing to invest in the infrastructure to do so.
Those that choose to utilize this platform will most likely find that the process is not profitable. For those not doing the mining, it is a good thing. This will only raise awareness of what mining is, and add to the hashing power of various networks.
While POW may not represent the future of crypto, it is vital to the blockchain ecosystem today. Proof-of-stake, and various other means of governance, are still a ways away from several of the big coins/platforms. Until the arrival of these governance protocols, the mining industry will continue to play a vital role in the health of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Hopefully, initiatives such as the one from Razer, alongside diehard BTC miners, are enough to weather the current market decline.