If you’ve looked into ASIC miners, you probably know how Bitcoin is mined and the general idea behind it. It can be a very lucrative practice if you know how to do it right and do it safely. But if you’re looking for a quick answer to the question of whether or not you can use an ASIC to mine Ethereum, I can easily say, “No.” If you’re looking for how you can actually mine Ethereum, there’s a longer answer ahead of you…
Why can’t you mine Ethereum with an ASIC miner?
The reason why you can’t use an ASIC miner for Ethereum hashing is because the person who designed Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, specifically designed Ethereum to be more decentralized than Bitcoin. He thought this was an innate flaw with the grandfather Cryptocurrency. Investors with more capital could afford better ASIC miners and thus make more money.
With Ethereum, the door is opened wider as only GPUs can be used to mine. In order to have any hash rate that is comparable to an ASIC miner, you’d have to string together dozens of GPUs. This creates an ecosystem that is more balanced and prevents consolidation of power. To be more technical, Ethereum mining requires more RAM than an ASIC miner can provide since ASIC mining is actually CPU mining, not GPU mining.
What can I use to mine Ethereum, then?
Ethereum is primarily mined with normal computer graphic card GPUs. That’s right, all you have to do is strap a bunch of NVIDIA or AMD graphics cards together and make some money (assuming you have cheap electricity).
The main issue with this is that it’s actually fairly difficult to set up your own independent mining operation unless you already have extensive experience. If you want it to be easier, I’d suggest pooling. The hardware that you can use can be anything from a relatively cheap, older graphics card to a $1,000 modern behemoth! Be sure to check out our list of the most popular pools for Ethereum.
The only caution I’d give is that you need to make sure you’ll profitable. Not all GPUs are very efficient and you may start using more money for power than you make. The best thing to do is research studies that have been done on GPU hash rates for Ethereum and also their corresponding wattage used.
We laid out our hardware recommendations and some estimated hash rates for Ethereum mining rigs in our guide, so be sure to check that out if you’re just getting started with building a rig.
Do you appreciate this guide? Tips welcome!